A NEWBRIDGE woman has shared her inspirational story in a new uplifting book.
Barbara Byrne is well known through her Slimming World classes and fundraising but in the book Voices of Courage she shares her own self development journey.
She is one of 33 women from eleven countries around the world to share their story of overcoming difficulty in the collection put together by author Brenda Dempsey.
In her chapter Barbara tells of how her brother died just before she was due to get married.
“I was married three weeks later and I moved to the other side of the city. I was dealing with the shock of leaving the family home, I didn’t know anyone there and I was in the depths of grief.
“It was all a huge learning curve for me,” said Barbara.
“I had this childhood image of a perfect life with a husband and child and it was totally the opposite to what I ever thought it would be. Things were happening to me right under my nose and I was oblivious to it.”
As the eldest girl in her family she said she also felt responsible for her other siblings.
“I had guilt leaving the family house when my parents were trying to deal with my brother’s death,” she said.
“I moved to a place where I knew no one. It was all a shock, I didn’t know what to do.”
Barbara said that during these years she felt like a failure and found it difficult to admit her troubles out loud as telling others made it all the more true.
“Eventually I had to ask for help,” she said.
“It was from making the emotional changes that I made the physical changes. I wanted to give the right image to my girls.
“I had to learn not to be embarrassed and ask for help, to reach out to others.”
Originally from Dublin, Barbara moved to Newbridge seven years ago but brought Slimming World to the town previous to that in November 2010. She now runs classes every Tuesday morning and evening in Newbridge and every Wednesday evening in Leixlip.
Without giving too much away about her own story, she explained that the book shares 33 uplifting real life stories.
“I had to learn how to release the guilt and shame. Before I told my story I checked with my girls and my parents. My girls have been at the heart of all my experiences but they said go ahead.
“My parents were a little surprised, my mother asked where she went wrong that I felt I had to always prove myself but it’s not about that. It’s about proving to myself that I can overcome any challenge thrown at me.”
She added laughing that she ran a marathon back in October and her mother asked “why does she keep doing this, why does she keep putting herself through this?”
“It’s because I enjoy it,” said Barbara. “It’s about my head space and proving to myself that I’m capable of it.”
Barbara is about to embark also on personal coaching and helping others face up to their own struggles, one to one.
Voices of Courage shares the stories of women who made a change in their lives, about how they hit rock bottom but managed to come out the other side.
There will be a book signing in Farrell & Nephew, Main St Newbridge on Saturday 16 February from 2pm.