When I was little, all I wanted to be was an air hostess. Every time I flew, I’d sit back in awe of the women and men who served endless snacks and gave safety instructions like A-grade Hollywood stars. But just like Love Island Australia, all good things must come to an end and on one flight to Melbourne, my 13-year-old brain randomly decided that planes were actually the scariest things ever – and the flight attendants that I used to idolise were out to get me. In less than five minutes, I went from “omg this is so fun” to “omg get me off this flight we’re all going to die”.
These intense feelings went on for the next few years leaving interstate holidays and school trips ruined by my dread and panic surrounding the four-hour commute. As bad as I felt about it, I felt that little bit worse for the people I was flying with, because they had to deal with the wrath of an anxious Meg.
I first tried my hand at hypnosis when I was 16 – it went so badly that I ended up leaving with a superstition more frightening than the fear itself. At 19 I found myself in a doctor’s office pleading for medication stronger than travacalm for my first long haul flight. The doctor asked if I’d tried “relaxing and just enjoying the flight”, the thought alone gave me a panic attack. Fast forward to 23 and I’ve mastered the art of looking calm on the outside, but on the inside my mind is yelling 100 different things at me and my stomach is in knots.
*Enter: Nichola Davenport*
When I first spoke to Nichola on the phone, she told me that fears can be learnt in five minutes, and un-learnt in the same amount of time. I was optimistic and open minded, purely because I had nothing to lose and I related to the five-minute timeframe. I didn’t realise that the 45-minute session she had in store for me would be the most powerful, unexplainable experience of my life.
When I visited her at-home office we got straight into an exercise called “phobia busting”, before moving onto traditional hypnotism. Now I don’t want to give too much of her process away – but basically the exercise started with me sharing what triggers my anxiety the most. If you have a fear of flying, you’d know it’s not as simple as being afraid when there’s unexpected turbulence – there’s a lot more to it than that. Something as simple as watching a movie with a plane scene is usually enough to make my heart race. I told her everything that I could think of, stuff like how I can only sit in seat C and how I count to 10 repeatedly during take-off to get me through. Once I got everything off my chest, she asked me to repeat the process – but this time she did something a little surprising. What it was exactly? That’s a secret I’ll never tell (I don’t want to ruin your genuine experience), but I can say… Elton John was involved.
There’s no other way to describe the experience during my time with Nichola other than feeling my brain have an internal battle with itself – with half of it wanting to fuel the fear, and half of it growing an overwhelming excitement for travel and flying – and the latter won the battle. I physically felt the weight leave the pit of my stomach, hang in my chest and then disappear completely, all in the space of about 15 minutes. If only working out had the same instant results…
One week on, and I’m still walking around in a state of disbelief of what I experienced. I went to Nichola with a fear that was triggered by every single touchpoint of flying and left with an excitement for travel and understanding that planes are simply a mode of transport – one that’s safe and familiar.
ABOUT NICHOLA: Nichola is a qualified life-coach specialising in kicking habits, fears and anxiety. Her clients range from me, a 23-year-old who cries at airports, to wealthy professionals who struggle with addiction. She recently completed a program called “Success Wheel” specifically designed for helping successful professionals create a better work-life balance and reconnect to what is important in their lives besides work.
Her at-home office is a comfortable space and within 5 minutes of meeting her I felt like I could tell her my deepest and darkest secrets – she’s just that type of person. She specialises in hypnosis and neuro-linguistic programming, as well as general life coaching in person and online. For anyone who suffers from anxiety, phobias, fears or addiction, I hand-on-heart recommend you see her as soon as tomorrow.
Contact Nichola via email here or phone on 0433 222 494