“Hi my name is Debra Simmons.
“I am 53 years old. I live in Higher Clovelly, North Devon.
“I originally come from Coventry and have lived in North Devon for 15 years. I was in a very unhealthy relationship for over 20 years and I have three children who all suffered during their childhood because of the dynamics in our house. 12 years ago I left the relationship and the children and me found ourselves in a women’s refuge.
“This was my lowest point.
“After coming out of the refuge and having counselling, I was trying to rebuild our lives. I was very insecure, I was scared. I had no confidence and very low self-esteem. I had little money and not much idea of how to earn any – life looked pretty bleak! In 2011, I came across a very simple understanding of the mind that really changed things for me.
“After being around this understanding for a few years, I decided to share what I had learned with other people who had suffered like I had and make a living doing that.
“I had a lot to learn about running a business. I worked very hard but never quite managed the money bit – I always felt that I didn’t know enough.
“Talking to the lovely lady from The Positive People Project was great, it happened at just the right time for me. She offered to help me with any gaps I felt I had with training and running a business. I was helped with a business plan and had a few talks with other agencies who offered support and training – this actually showed me that I already had all I needed, but I was letting fear hold me back.
“Pretty soon after signing up I was earning money, which was just brilliant! Since then I have decided to take my business to the next level.
“At the beginning of May this year, my two nieces and a good friend of ours joined me and we started calling ourselves Dare2bu. We have a mission to make North Devon the most mentally healthy place to live and work. We held a conference at the Barnstaple Hotel on September 13th–15th called ‘Healing The World – The System Upgrade’. It was awesome! I feel privileged and blessed that people came from as far away as America.
“So much has happened since we decided to do this, including being approached by Bideford College to deliver some sessions about mental health for the students.
“It’s still early days but things are going from strength to strength. We have generated a lot of interest in what we are up to and we are having lots of fun. I sometimes pinch myself when I look at my life now, I LOVE it so much! I can hardly believe that I spent so much of my life being insecure and scared, and not really knowing who I was.
“I would tell anyone who is feeling unsure or stuck, or as if his or her life isn’t working, to reach out for help – human beings are awesome! Life is weighted in our favour and we are wired for success, but we can also easily miss all this and suffer like I did.
“Projects like Positive People are just great to get us pointed in the right direction.”
Thank you for reading.
Love and hugs Debra xxx