• Courtney Phillips

My story of healing – Sharon Curran

Updated: Sep 3, 2019

Due to multiple loses throughout her childhood, Sharon Curran deals with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and struggles with Complex PTSD. Although fear and worry overcame her for many years early, she has found peace and happiness through holistic self-care and meditation. Sharon finds healing through helping other women across the UK with her holistic healing practice.

Learn more about her story of healing below:

Tell me about yourself: I’m a recovering control freak and perfectionist, lifelong learner, explorer, meditator, yoga loving, positive thinking, self-loving, humorous, sensitive soul who balances a gluten/dairy free/partial vegan lifestyle with the occasional glass of Prosecco and chocolate, lots of it.

My story:

When I was in my late 20s, I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. Talking to someone for the first time made me realize just how much I had been running away from my feelings all my life. Whilst I was naturally quite extroverted, I never felt good enough internally and lacked any sense of trust or faith in myself or life. Until that time, I didn’t notice how much I was living with a sense of foreboding hanging over me. In reality, my body was struggling to cope with the levels of inner fear that I was living with day-to-day.

My nervous system was in a state of exhaustion, and I had a range of physical ailments indicative of a body and spirit in stress. I had developed various strategies and self-soothing techniques to function fairly well in the world up to that point. However, overnight, it felt as though the stop button was pressed on my life, and I had no option but to turn my attention inward. I went from what appeared to be an outwardly confident woman to not being able to leave the house or be on my own. The world felt extremely scary.

What happened to cause your anguish or what is the history of your struggle? There wasn’t one incident that led to my diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) but rather a complexity of issues with the underlying theme of low self-worth, self-belief, self-confidence and self-attack, which were creating high levels of anxiety as I sought to feel accepted, loved, confident and seen for who I was.

These inner fears were compounded by traumas that had occurred throughout the course of my early years, which had been buried or were sub-consciously directing my life to such an extent that I was going further and further away from who I truly am in an attempt to feel safe.

Just before my fifth birthday my maternal grandfather died. A few months later, my paternal grandfather was knocked over and killed whilst crossing the road. A few years after that, one of the young girls who lived next door died of Leukemia. And then in my early 20s, my best friend nearly died in a hospital blunder.

This combination of events triggered my main fear of death or dying – whether that be through illness or danger in the world – as well as loss and abandonment. I also had some very personal challenges with self-empowerment and learning to say, “no.” When all this combined what emerged beyond the diagnosis of GAD was Complex PTSD.

What was the moment that caused you to realize that you needed to seek care? When I was 29 and had recently married, my husband worked in Europe. My intention was to leave my job and join him. I did this for a little while, but I struggled being on my own, in a foreign country, with nothing to do. In fact, what I came to realize was that not having daily work to distract myself meant those inner fears, anxieties and worries started to surface in a big way.

I decided to return home. It wasn’t long after that I had my first panic attack. I had gone to bed as I normally would, but then this feeling of panic started to work up my body from my feet to my head until I was consumed by this energy of doom. I didn’t know what was happening but it was very scary. I got up and paced the room and then intuitively sat and rocked myself until the panic subsided which took a good few hours. I wasn’t breathless or sweating. Just terrified.

The next day, I went to the doctor. We had a chat, and he diagnosed it, at that point, as stress-related, post-wedding, moving-related stressor. I opted for a referral to a counsellor. That was the very beginning of my healing journey. I’m glad I did because things got much worse before they got better.

What does your recovery look like? Anxiety and fear impact every part of your being and so my approach to self-care is holistic. For my mental wellbeing, I meditate every day. I mainly practice Transcendental Meditation, which involves silently repeating a mantra. I also listen to guided meditations and practice mindfulness.

If my head is very busy, I will listen to Hemi Sync technologies, which combine verbal guidance, music, pink sound and/or other audio effects with binaural beats. To help transform negative beliefs, I also recommend inner talk, which are subliminal affirmation tracks designed to bypass the negative inner voice.

I strive to be as positive as I can and always look for the sunshine even on a rainy day. I nurture my body with nutritious food and supplements, if I feel my nervous system needs some extra support. I have regular holistic therapy treatments including reflexology, massage and Reiki.

For my emotional and spiritual wellbeing, I take flower essences which are tinctures made from the flowering part of the plant, which work within your own subtle energy system to gently rebalance negative thought patterns and release buried emotions.

I also recommend talking to family and friends. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. A listening ear or a shoulder to cry on can be so comforting and nurturing. Anxiety cannot function in a relaxed body, and so I practice yoga and run. I am an advocate of taking prescribed medication when things feel impossible.

Where are you now?

My longing for that elusive inner peace has taken me on a soul deep journey of discovery. I may look like the same person on the outside, but inside I am very different. I am more self-confident, less fearful and definitely more loving towards myself and life. I no longer do things because I feel guilty or find it hard to say no. I am also embracing the talents I was born with and continually learning ways to be fully present to all of life. I still struggle with fear at times and can get sucked into the monkey mind of obsessive worry and panic but befriending these strong emotions and traits, rather than running from them, has been the key to freedom for me.

I trained as a holistic therapist a number of years ago in several healing modalities, including Flower Essences, Reiki, Access Bars, Meditation and Soul Plan. I offer help to other women who face similar struggles that may be holding them back in life. A typical holistic session with me begins by discussing how they’re feeling and where they need support. I may also ask questions about general stress response and sleeping patterns, what’s going on in their life and, if relevant, their early years. The majority of limiting beliefs about ourselves and life come from experiences that occur between ages 0-7, so part of my work involves helping women uncover and reframe those beliefs, develop a more positive mindset and identify improved strategies for coping. After this in-depth discussion, I prescribe and prepare a personalized bottle of flower essences to rebalance emotional states and invite the body to relax and let go of tension or resistance with Reiki or Access Bars.

I also run regular women’s circles, which is a safe space for women to share their feelings and vulnerabilities and inspire self-forgiveness, empowerment and healthy relationships with other women. We embrace the feminine essence by loving ourselves, our rhythms and intuition. To see a woman blossom into her soul’s expression is what beauty truly is!

One piece of advice you would give someone in a situation like yours trying to decide whether or not to seek care:

Instead of using fear as a safety net and not being fully open to life, I began to lean into it and shine a light on all the ways it had kept me hidden, small and seemingly protected. Fear doesn’t have to be the enemy. It really can be your ally. Fear taught me to believe in myself. Fear taught me to love myself and reconnect with my heart’s desires. Fear taught me to trust myself and to follow my intuition. Fear taught me to say to the world ‘this is me’ and to not shrink for someone else’s comfort.

Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it, so I invite anyone reading this who is struggling, to take the first step to getting help today. As Dr Seuss says, “Why fit in when we were born to stand out!”

Please visit her website to learn more about the work Sharon does with holistic healing for mental health and wellbeing at www.soulflowertherapies.co.uk.

Mental Health Resources If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, don’t suffer in silence! There are free and affordable resources to help you get through these times. Here are just few options for you below:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255): Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your confidential, toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in the Lifeline national network. 

  • National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) offers peer-to-peer support groups in most locations. This in-person group experience provides the opportunity for mutual support and positive impact. You can experience compassion and reinforcement from people who relate to your experiences. 

  • Some federal agencies offer resources for identifying practitioners and assistance in finding low cost health services. These include:

  • Health Resources and Services Administration works to improve access to health care. The website has information on finding affordable healthcare, including health centers that offer care on a sliding fee scale.

  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has information on its website about benefits and eligibility for its programs and how to enroll.

  • The National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus website also has lists of directories and organizations that can help in identifying a health practitioner.

  • Mental Health and Addiction Insurance Help from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers resources to help answer questions about insurance coverage for mental health care.

  • Service members and Veterans have unique needs. https://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/veterans provides for their specific needs.