From car sickness as a toddler to full blown panic attacks on airplanes as an adult, I’ve always been a little bit crap on the go!
In recent years, even planning a trip on a train / tube across London with the kids has resulted in sleepless nights…and sometimes panic cancellations. I’m prone to anxiety you see. Yep, loud old me. Even the most seemingly confident of people can suffer from it, no one is immune.
It can be a broad minefield for me, but transport really seems to heighten anxiety symptoms in my case– I’ve spent entire train journeys with my stomach in knots, on edge, expecting my children to be violently sick or injured at any second. I’ve sat on planes for hours white knuckled, anticipating imminent turbulence or sudden engine failure. Even during my recent driving lessons, I would sit in the car all tensed up, almost expecting a side impact collision. Irrational I know, but all-consuming at times. I’ve arrived at destinations, or finished driving lessons, shattered from worrying about all the things that could have happened, but never did.
I’m lucky however as though my anxiety plagues me and makes my brain a relentlessly noisy place, it doesn’t stop me. It can be crippling for some. I’m stubborn and am determined to get to places and to see people (anxiety vs FOMO). I fight against it whenever I can – or really need to, but it always makes for such unpleasant and stressful travel. And let’s be honest living life so ‘worst case scenario’ is just bloody exhausting and bad for the soul. Not just for myself, but for my husband too who is an excitable traveler. I ruin it for him. And don’t even get me started on my paranoia of passing these irrational fears on to my kids….
I did a Virgin ‘Fear of Flying’ course a few years back when I was pregnant with Harry – as I couldn’t take my usual diazepam or gin when flying to California in that condition. It temporarily boosted my confidence in the sky…but in a sea of media stories about plane crashes this year, this confidence has faded rapidly. This course also never touched other areas of my life on the ground that I got anxious about.
With a whole host of goodbyes to do in and across London before we move to California, a driving test to pass for USA mobility and an 11 hr flight on my own with two kids pending, I decided to finally take a friend’s advice and try hypnotherapy last month. I’ve had three sessions in North London so far.
I’ll be honest. I left my first lesson a little disappointed. Childhood memories of watching Paul McKenna’s hypnosis show gave me expectations of being put in to an immediate ‘deep sleep’ and cured. But the first lesson was nothing like that. If anything it was more a ‘getting to know you’ session with the expert – who happened to be a Cognitive Hypnotherapist and a Neuro Linguist Programming practitioner. Big words! He spent the session trying to understand where the root of my irrational fears lay (passed on from my own mother and ‘unlucky’ past experiences in case you were wondering) and shooting analytical questions at me to work out the type of brain I have. He needed to figure out how I am wired you see – for example, am I more visually driven, audio responsive etc. (I was audio). He adapts his approach depending on type. Clever, huh?
The next two sessions were the coveted ‘Paul McKenna’ hypnosis moments, plus some takeaway calming techniques. Look out for full details on the ‘deep sleep’ and these techniques in my NEXT post. Sorry, I’m just setting the scene with this one, not writing an essay! I hate posts that are too long – and there is SO much more to say on this fascinating matter. I just wanted to share my reasons for doing this in case it resonated with others out there feeling anxious – about travel, or beyond!
See you soon.