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Looking back, I recognise that I was anxious from a very young age, but the extent of the anxiety didn’t become apparent until I was in my late twenties and started having panic attacks. A close friend of mine had dropped dead in tragic circumstances a few days before they started, and very soon I found myself facing the suppressed horror and grief of a previous loss, the death of my best friend in an accident when we were eighteen.
Many years ago, and in the throes of relationship turmoil, I went to see my wise friend and mentor. Having sobbed and complained about the behaviour of my soon-to-be-ex partner, I then went into a long diatribe about how I knew I was supposed to accept what was happening and that my inability to do so was evidence of my obvious and inherent flaws. Having recently encountered New Age teachings, I had unquestioningly swallowed the idea of unconditional acceptance and surrender.