I really want my clients to understand why I do what I do and so I thought I would share a bit of my story with you. Hopefully this will help you to learn more about who I am and why I care so much about you and your story.
I am passionate about helping you overcome the struggles/challenges you are facing so that you can enjoy life to the fullest. And why shouldn’t you? You deserve to just as much as anyone else and more importantly, you can….
When I made the decision to become a Counsellor, it was for two reasons:
· I had reached a time in my life where I wanted to give back and help others
· I had overcome so many adversities in my own life that I knew others could too
What have I faced in my life? Well, without going into too many details, let me touch on a few areas that might resonate with you. In my twenties I received the news that the man who meant everything to me, my father, had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was given six months to live – my world fell apart and after he passed, I went through years of believing I was coping when in fact I was suffering with depression. I met my husband one year after my father passed and in the following year I faced my first anxiety attack – it came out of nowhere, in the middle of the night. I knew I was not going to survive the night from the symptoms I was having, and my husband rushed me to Emergency. Of course, I did survive and was told that it was not actually a heart attack but a panic attack. I was sent home and prescribed anti-depressants. The medication changed my life – I could now think clearly and rationally but over time what I realised I couldn’t do was really feel. The medication had numbed me to the emotions we are meant to feel, and I was just going through life nonchalantly – obviously unaware of what I was missing out on.
Over the next few years we were blessed with two children, born at 29 weeks and 28 weeks respectively who each spent two months in Neonatal ICU fighting for their lives. In between their births, I had four miscarriages and so with the stress of all this I continued with my anti-depressants, increasing the dosage when needed and then decreasing as I got through everything. While the children were still young, we made the decision to leave South Africa as the crime had escalated and we feared not only for our own lives but now more importantly, our children’s lives. We moved to New Zealand and after three years made the decision to make our home in Australia.
After a few years I knew I could not continue living on anti-depressants and so with the help of a Naturopath I weaned myself off. The side effects of withdrawal were awful, but I persevered, determined to put them behind me. Once I was no longer on them, I was overcome with constantly crying, anger, impatience, fear and low and behold, the anxiety returned. I thought the medication had cured me but all it had done was put a band aid on my wound and when I removed that band aid, the wound started oozing! I had done nothing for all those years but mask the causes, so I knew I had to address what was causing the symptoms. I made the decision to see a Counsellor and that’s when my journey began as I started to learn to leave those traumatic events that were serving me no purpose in the past, and others I learnt to move on from the pain but held on to the great memories. I learn to live a new way of living my life – the way I was always meant to live it.
So, what have I learnt through my life experiences? That I should have sought out professional help in the early stages of some, not all, of these events because I would have learned to recognise the signs of what was happening to me and empowered myself with coping skills much earlier on - not ending up having to deal with depression or anxiety. But I never did because I never gave these traumatic events the credit they were due when it came to how they impacted me, and I figured I would be fine. I wasn’t….
I know you can get through whatever you are facing because I have done it and with my training, knowledge and experience I can help you live a life free of the chains holding you back. If you are ready to work on yourself, then therapy can and does help but it is not a magic pill and cannot fix you by itself – you need to be willing. You do not have to sit with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, the impacts of bullying, grief or the transitions of life on your own – you can move forward and learn how to get back up and enjoy the life you were given to enjoy. I am passionate about what I do because I see people’s lives transformed and their motivation and passion return. I see the ‘light’ switch on and it’s beautiful…..
So yes, I bring a profound amount of life experience to the table and I can honestly say that I don’t just talk the talk, I’ve walked the walk too.
Always remember that you are strong enough, brave enough, courageous enough, worthy enough and above all, you deserve to have an amazing life so do something for yourself - NOW!
Debra Bragança / Counsellor & Psychotherapist / Anchoring Your Life Counselling & Coaching
Specialising in Anxiety, Depression, Grief & Relationships