I had my first panic attack at eight years old when nothing was spoken about anxiety disorders (or mental health for that matter!). It was only years later when my sister (who was training to be a nurse), came home with some photocopied material that explained all that I suffered from, that I felt such relief that I wasn't abnormal or crazy.
This gave me an insatiable curiosity about the mind/body connection and I discovered great techniques that helped me like Neuro-lingustic Programming (NLP) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). I also discovered the world famous coach 'Tony Robbins' who uses similar techniques and I was astounded by the impact his books had on me not just in helping me manage my anxiety, but in reaching my creative potential. I wondered why we weren't teaching these types of strategies to children.
When my daughter had her first nightmare, managing it came very easily to me by using some of the techniques I had learnt in managing my own anxiety. I realised that I might be able to help other children by creating characters, stories and poems that opened up conversations and delivered simple powerful strategies to cope (think "Peppa Pig" meets "Tony Robbins" for kids). Feel Brave was born!
Avril is an Ambassador for the Life Education Trust in New Zealand who use her books and strategies in all of their mobile classrooms. She is also an Ambassador for the New Zealand Firefighters Welfare Society and is a Patron for the Westminster Children's University in London.