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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Ellis

Fight or flight?

This time of year, seems to be filled with scary and slightly frightful things. I am absolutely baffled by Halloween and the concept of trick or treating. To me it defies every bit of sensible advice particularly what was at one point in time described as "Stranger danger". I apply the same logic to firework night and believe strongly that they are best viewed at displays. To be cautious around things that explode and not exposing children to unnecessary risks is I feel a natural and healthy level of fear. Something that's normal and we all experience from time to time.

However, a phobia can be so much more than that. Phobias are much more than a dislike or an aversion to something, in fact they can appear markedly excessive and often feel irrational. People with phobias will often experience embarrassment and shame, that frustrating sense of "why can't I just get over this" meaning they will frequently actively avoid places and situations. To avoid encountering the object of their phobia and the difficult feelings that arise.

I can tell you definitively that having a phobia can have a debilitating effect on your life. I can tell you this as I used to have a phobia myself.

The focus of my fear was birds. Particularly pigeons which let me tell you as someone who commuted and worked in London for many years were very hard to avoid.

There were many embarrassing incidents when my fear got the better of me and left me feeling wretched. One particular example a real low point was one day on the tube to work. A pigeon got on the carriage and flew at my head. I was panic stricken. I bolted and ran to the surface of the station. If you know Holborn station, you'll know this isn’t a short distance and at peak rush hour was extremely busy. I emerged at the surface crying, sweating barely able to breath and loathing myself. I knew I had to do something as I simply could not go on like that it felt awful.

On the recommendation of a colleague, I found a hypnotherapist and having tried many things in the past felt this was my only option. I vividly remember telling the therapist she wouldn't be able to cure the phobia, but could she just help me feel a bit more "socially acceptable" in public when there are birds around?

These sessions unlocked where the phobia started and helped me process and ultimately transform the beliefs behind it. Mid way through my therapist set me a challenge of feeding some birds which I did - I was absolutely surrounded by birds and was still, calm and composed. It was such a contrast it was amazing.

After just a few sessions my phobia was totally eradicated. In fact, now I love birds, I'm fascinated by them I like to watch them in my garden, and I sketch them too. You can see from the picture above I've even got up close and personal with birds of prey. But it wasn't just the fear that was removed. I felt free, the negative feelings were replaced with a much calmer self. My confidence and self esteem went through the roof. Shortly afterwards I found myself renegotiating my contract at work, getting a promotion and taking all sorts of opportunities that I simply would not have had the confidence to pursue before.

Ultimately hypnotherapy changed my life, and it is my great pleasure to be able to help others experience this too.

If you are experiencing a phobia and would like to talk to me about how hypnotherapy can help, please drop me a message I'll gladly help.

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