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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Ellis

You'll never cure me!

When I first experienced hypnotherapy I was very skeptical! I even told my hypnotherapist as much. My goals for the sessions were "You'll never cure me but could you make me more socially acceptable". Such was my lack of belief at the time in myself, in the process. I firmly believed that my phobia and anxiety was part of who I was and was here to stay.

That was 11 years ago and I almost forget now how it felt to have a phobia. How anxious I was constantly and how much it affected my life.

This post popped up on my memories recently on Facebook. For the focus of my phobia (a way in which anxiety shows up for some people) was birds. It was irrational as most phobias are, it was also characterized by quite extreme fear and anxiety. People used to laugh at me almost mock the fear, asking "what do you think is going to happen?" It was never that I thought birds would peck or attack me. I still can't explain what the fear was now, but as this post which I know sounds melodramatic shows it was visceral, gut wrenching crippling fear and anxiety that was affecting me everyday. Imagine walking around everyday interacting with something that makes you feel so anxious you want to vomit. It was exhausting and would sometimes stop me going to places. I know this sounds quite unusual to those who have never experienced a phobia or anxiety and I know what other peoples opinions used to be of it, total incomprehension, derision and mocking were very familiar to me at the time. That of course brought with it a lovely sense of shame, embarrassment and a a belief that I was some kind of freak, that there was something wrong with me that could not be fixed.

At the point 11 years or so ago when I tried hypnotherapy, I was desperate utterly frazzled and exhausted with constantly feeling anxious and upset. Frankly at the time I'd have tried anything. Hypnotherapy helped me unlock the phobia. I realised that it wasn't actually about birds at all. As a young child we had experienced losses as a family. Simultaneously I had some unpleasant experiences with birds, one trapped in the chimney flapping and scratching to escape, dead birds in the house, the family dog catching a black bird and refusing to set it free. As a child those experiences became imprinted in my subconscious mind and not knowing any better at that age I linked birds to the losses the threat of people you love suddenly being taken away. As such to my mind birds were a terrifying, very real threat.

Unlocking this belief and understanding that the grief and loss were not really linked to birds was powerful. Not only was the phobia eradicated, I also gained a sense of calm and confidence. I suddenly realised if I could overcome anxiety as debilitating as that was then I was capable of doing so many things that I thought I couldn't too. That limiting belief that something was wrong with me, transformed into an empowering self belief that I could actually achieve anything if I put my mind to it.

My experience is of course deeply personal and unique to me, but it is also very characteristic of how phobias are formed. How they can affect people and hold them back. And finally a great example of how hypnotherapy can help overcome fears and phobias. Which it is my great pleasure to see repeated now with my own clients.

Liz x

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