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Paula McGuire - “Must Try Harder” an unlikely adventurer who is an anxiety survivor.

Tough Girl - Paula McGuire - “Must Try Harder” an unlikely adventurer who is an anxiety survivor.

Paula McGuire's world was shrinking. Bullied as a child and plagued by excessive social anxiety, she had become a recluse. Unable to even go into a shop on her own, Paula's life was effectively over before she hit thirty.

But then something changed. She isn't even quite sure what. But after years of running away from life, Paula decided to make a change, and decided to face up to her fears.

Paula gave herself less than 2 years to try all 17 Commonwealth Games sports! After learning how to ride a bike and completing a triathlon. Paula decided, she was going to continue facing her fears, one of her biggest was swimming, even though she was frightened of the water, and couldn’t swim, she decided to set the biggest challenge possible. Deciding to swim around Great Britain!

Although he Big Mad Swim around Britain didn’t quite go in the direction she wanted, she’s leant a huge amount about herself and continues to talk about mental health and wanting to encourage others to face their fears and to live their most full lives.


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Show notes

  • Where Paula is based at the moment

  • Being an unlikely adventurer and an anxiety survivor

  • Growing up in Glasgow and not being sporty or outdoors at all!

  • Being very shy and hiding behind books and her family

  • Dealing with childhood anxiety at 5/6 years old and how her parents handle it

  • Not having risk management skills or social skills

  • Entering her teenage years and how her anxiety developed

  • Leaving school for university and wanting to start a new life, and how it didn’t happen

  • Starting work while dealing with anxiety, and it getting to the point where she couldn’t leave the house

  • Maybe this is as good as it gets…

  • Learning to live with her anxiety

  • Giving herself a chance to live her life - starting to blog about it to have accountability

  • The first challenge/fear she decided to face and why she decided on a sport

  • Taking the negativity and turning it around!

  • Learning to ride a bike and what she learned from it

  • Why you have to keep trying and keep on learning

  • Feeling pride in her accomplishment

  • Getting joy from these new experiences

  • Why 99% of people want to help you

  • Taking the power away from anxiety

  • The timeframe she gave herself to complete these challenges

  • The magical moment - and why doing a triathlon helped to propel her forward

  • Not being able to swim and being afraid of the water

  • The Big Mad Swim Around Britain!

  • April 24th starting her swim!

  • Dealing with panic attacks in the water and not being able to overcome it

  • Failure and what’s she learning from the experience

  • Adapting the challenge to the Big Mad Splash - to help raise awareness for mental health challenges

  • How she’s funding the trip

  • Advice and tips for others who are dealing with anxiety

  • How to get in touch with Paula if you need someone to talk to


Social Media

Twitter - @pmusttryharder

Instagram - @pmusttryharder

Facebook - @pmusttryharder


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