Like many people I had a fear of flying for years – just the thought of getting on a plane was enough to reduce me to a quivering wreck. I thought I’d got over it after deciding to take a flight on a helicopter with my husband some years ago. It was at a show, a beautiful day, we were having fun and I just thought ‘why not?’. I gave myself no time to worry and when the pilot asked who wanted to sit up front I put my hand up. It was an amazing experience – the helicopter had a transparent floor so I could see everything; I had a moment of thinking ‘bloody hell that’s a long way to fall’ but then I just relaxed and enjoyed myself. I’ve flown in helicopters since and always enjoyed the experience.
However, after my husband died, I came to the South of France to visit family and started thinking about the return journey almost as soon as I arrived. Consequently I was in a right state by the time I had to leave; my brother talked me down off the ledge but I resolved to sort the problem out once and for all as soon as I got home. I ended up seeing a hypnotherapist who was absolutely amazing, within 3 sessions she had cured me of my fear and I’ve been happily hopping on and off planes ever since.
During my recent holiday in Jamaica I decided to take things a bit further. I don’t like being afraid; fear is one of the most debilitating emotions we can have and the only way I’ve found to conquer it is to get off my arse and face it head on. For this reason I found myself on a ski lift travelling through a rain forest about 30 or 40 feet up in the air; after about 5 minutes I could actually look down and then around and found that I was enjoying myself. At the top we had the opportunity to take a series of zip lines back down. I’d never tried this before so I said yes.
There were six or seven year old kids in the queue in front of me who were obviously feeling a darn site more confident that I was about the prospect of sliding down a washing line so I figured it couldn’t be that bad. Actually it was terrific fun and after the first go I wanted to go higher and faster – it was a real buzz!
On the back of these achievements I agreed when my friend asked my to go parasailing. I will admit to you now that I was pretty bloody terrified when he explained that we’d be in a harness about 150 feet up in the air attached to the back of a boat. I almost bottled out but I didn’t want to live with a fear of heights any more than I wanted to live with a fear of flying so I allowed myself to be tied up in straps and attached to what amounts to a giant handkerchief. Once we were up in the air, it was amazingly peaceful and the view was incredible and I was enjoying myself enormously right up until the point when I looked down. Once again, the fear of falling took hold but there was nothing I could do – I was too scared to let go of the straps to try and attract the attention of the guys below us in the boat so I had to do something to calm myself down.
If you see a video of a middle aged woman, singing the banana boat song, attached to a parachute, somewhere over Montego Bay that was me. God only knows why I started singing but it worked – I relaxed and realised I was having fun.
When we landed back on the boat my hands and knees were shaking but I felt elated – I’d faced a fear and beaten it. I couldn’t keep the grin off my face and was dancing about like an idiot; it was at this point that I agreed to go sky diving in June – any song requests for that one just let me know……………..