Monday 26 September 2016

Cecelia Ahern reveals how crippling panic attacks led to her dropping out of college and becoming a writer

Published 13/03/2016 | 08:58

Cecelia Ahern
Cecelia Ahern

Author Cecelia Ahern has revealed how crippling panic attacks forced her to drop out of college.

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The 34-year-old, who has just published her first YA novel, Flawed, attended one day of an MA in film production when she was just 21 years old before leaving and never returning.

'I dropped out because it was kind of an intense time in my life," she told the Sunday Independent Life magazine.

"I just wasn't able. I was a bit nervy at the time."

The then 21-year-old suffered bad panic attacks and found it increasingly difficult to leave her parents' home in Malahide where she still lived at the time.

"It was just a kind of inner meltdown of confidence. I found it really hard to get out," she said. "I was with David [now husband David Keoghan] at the time, so I wasn't completely alone. I did have somebody."

After trying myriad therapies ranging from hypnotherapy to a sports psychologist, Cecelia eventually found solace in writing and wrote her first novel, PS I Love You, in just three months.

At the time she was still suffering from bad panic attacks but as she became more successful (she initially landed a two-book deal on the back of PS, I Love You) they petered out over time.

"It was all about pushing myself to the limit.  Suddenly I had a career.  I had to get on planes.  I had to go to book signings."

Cecelia has now sold more than 25 million books.

Read the full interview with Cecelia Ahern in today's Sunday Independent Life magazine.

Read more: Life lessons with Cecelia Ahern: 'My first book completely changed my life'

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