Friday, 4 September 2009

FEEL THE FEAR AND ALL THAT....


Ever since I can remember I have been deathly afraid of wasps…those pointless sharp-arsed minions of Satan that interrupt every good British summertime.

I have never looked forward to a barbeque or a picnic. Beer gardens make my heart sink. Bus stops with bins are fraught with fear. Greengrocers in August make me clench muscles I didn’t know I possessed. I put my rubbish out after dark in the summer. Windows remain firmly shut. I can’t even read sports headlines about a certain London rugby club without a shudder. Something had to be done…

And that something is hypnotherapy. The proper sort, not some end of the pier Paul McKenna malarkey before you ask. The sort that involves hypnosis and the use of specialised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to retrain your brain for good.

Sounds expensive I hear you say. I came across it through a fabulous organisation called Anxiety UK (formerly the National Phobics Society) and after joining them at around £25 a year and paying approximately £10 to access their list of therapists, I was matched up with a registered hypnotherapist within 2 weeks who charges on a sliding scale acoording to financial circumstances. For me that is around £7.50 a session.

And I tell you, rarely has money been better spent. At the time of writing I have had 3 sessions (the number needed varies from person to person) and am already feeling like a totally different person. I have been walking the autumnal streets without my eyes darting from side to side in my usual hyper-vigilant state. I have left my front door momentarily ajar. And most thrillingly of all, I have managed to kill my first ever wasp! (I ran it over with a suitcase and then danced with glee on the pavement.)

It’s looking like with the help of hypnotherapy, I have nothing to fear next summer, except possibly PETA persuing me for my new found blood lust. Hypnotherapy isn’t a magic bullet. The CBT side of it is emotionally draining, if only for hearing the word ‘wasp’ so frequently, but the hypnosis is gloriously relaxing as a contrast.

I’d recommend it to anyone suffering from anxiety or a phobia. I only wish I’d done it several years ago when I think of all the times I have embarrassed myself in public shrieking like a banshee or refused a social invite that involved being outdoorsor wanted to leave the house between June and October without feeling a heart attack was imminent.

I expect a full social diary next summer. Here’s hoping for some sun to go with it…

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