So, here’s the thing. My big guilty secret. I haven’t flown for 22 years.

The reason we holidayed in the UK or went to Europe by train isn’t anything to do with all the reasons I have always given people. It’s because I wouldn’t fly. That time my husband went to visit his family in Australia, and I stayed behind to “look after the animals”? Yup. Nothing was going to get me on the big bird in the sky. The very suggestion that I might come too made me nauseous, tearful and caused my heart to hammer in my chest.

When we have a deep-seated fear or phobia about something it becomes almost shameful. It is something we hide and shy away from talking about. Because we know it is ridiculous. We know that when we are terrified to do something millions of people do every day in perfect safety, its illogical.
We don’t need your statistics about how it’s safer than driving, or your explanation about how tonnes of metal stays in the sky. And no, we won’t enjoy it when we are up there. I used to think I might die even if nothing happened, of heart failure from the sheer terror.

So what is a phobia? The Merriam-Webster dictionary sums it up very well: “an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation”.

Merriam-Webster dictionary

That is why Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is so successful in treating Phobia.

Because of that word “inexplicable”. We don’t try to find the cause, to rake back through the past for the trigger. It possibly isn’t there and it doesn’t matter. Knowing the cause reminds you of it, justifies it, gives it credence. The chances are, that event isn’t really the cause at all. But for some reason your brain has now flagged this thing up as something to be avoided at all costs because it threatens your very survival.

So, when we got to the week of my course where we were to study phobias, my hand shot up when the lecturer asked for volunteers. We did it in two parts. One removed the association from the Really: Don’t Do This, It will Kill You, department in my brain. The second put it in the “This is Just Brilliant!” department. And as I sit here typing this I am getting excited thinking about going back to Australia next year, and where to stop off on the way, Hong Kong? Thailand? or maybe Dubai?

My brain decided flying would threatened my very existence

As inexplicably as my brain decided flying was the thing that threatened my very existence, it has now been transformed in my mind as something that is exciting and opens the door for magical moments in far flung places. We had summer holidays booked already, but now I have added another one – a trip to Naples for my husband’s birthday. Recently for my birthday; my husband asked what I wanted to do for the day. The only thing I could think of, wasn’t a spa day or lunch at a Michelin starred restaurant.

It was a 60 minute session on a 737-800 flight simulator. A very realistic one that’s used to train pilots, with a company called Virtual Aerospace. Then I flew it out of Sydney airport with instruction from a captain, but it was me at the controls. I flew low over the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, banking it in a deep turn for a better view. I landed it plumb middle of the runway and then was a passenger as my husband decided to take on the tricky Kai Tak airport. And I loved it.

We can change our mind, literally. How amazing is that?