"Every morning I would wake in the soft morning light to the sound of birds chirping and the hard and fast palpitations of my racing heart.
I can vividly remember that feeling of the sunlight filtering through my eye lids as I lay in my bunk at my home in Piha, aged five. I was getting ready to do my first ballet competition and along with the sounds of the birds chirping, I could also feel a hard, repetitive thump as my heart whacked against the wall of my chest.
Until two years ago, the experience of that racing, beating heart every morning was a constancy in my life. Like a metronome, it set my rhythm for the day. From the moment I woke, I was on edge. Adrenaline pumping. Cortisol rushing. My system already in overdrive and the day hadn’t yet begun.
That beating heart fuelled me throughout my youth – as competitive ballet dancer, a theatre performer and an almost straight-A student. But as I faced more complex emotional issues growing up, that beating heart manifested itself in a chronic issue with anxiety…"