The awkward turtle

Celebrating the failings of a successful person


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Tap Happy, Fly Happy

“This self (your ego)… possesses some terrifying information. It knows that if it’s lucky, it’s destined to grow old, get sick, and lose everything that it’s grown to love. Then it will die. This is a shortened version of what the world has offered you, which probably leaves you mystified and flabbergasted at the absurdity of this thing we call life.

Into this bleak picture, which inspires fear and even terror, I’d like to introduce a concept that will eliminate the terror. I want you to know that you needn’t subscribe to the idea that you are only this collection of bones and tissues, destined to be annihilated in an aging process.

You’ve emerged from a universal field of Creation that I’ve been calling intention. Life itself is eternal, and you spring from this infinite no thing called life.” – The Power of Intention by Dr Wayne Dyer

Last week I took a step backwards on my road to recovery in a manner that completely caught me off guard – are there any other types? I was making a casual enquiry into flight prices with a travel agent I’ve used before. Instantly, from when I outlined my request, I heard the saleswoman switch-on in the girl who was supposed to help me. I suddenly felt pressured and panicked into buying her offer – “this is the last seat” – and connected that to my already negative feelings towards flying, in the end I thanked her for her help and said I wasn’t quite ready to commit to which she replied “you probably shouldn’t ring around agencies then”. I felt bullied and then my old friend victim-mentality showed up pawning for a scrap of sympathy: “I’m sorry”, I whimpered, “I’m a nervous flyer and I haven’t flown for a while”. At the sound of my own confession I felt myself insides crumbling, so making a timely phone exit I ran to the bathroom. Facing the weakness in me reflected back in the mirror I let out a guttural cry, made even more painful by the freshly applied mascara seeping into my eyeballs. I was a mess and more so because I was so convinced that I had made no progress.

Since then I have thrown myself into obsession seeing what I could do next to beat this thing called fear. What I’d like to do is pull it out of me and give it a good kicking, instead it looks like I’m going to have to talk it out. Violence unfortunately is not the answer.

So now I find myself knocking at EFT’s (Emotional Freedom Technique or tapping) door. Ever since I saw my mum, a nervous all-around traveller, putting it to practise and publicly humiliating me simultaneously, I have shunned any thoughts of EFT. For one it looks stupid. Secondly my mum told me to do it. Some maturation and a lot of desperation later, I have taken back my mocking comments, somewhat reluctantly, and joined the tapping sensation. EFT works in a similar way to acupuncture unblocking energy points in your body. It is easy to use as it works in deep conjunction with your emotional psyche as the source of resistance against your body’s positive energy; in other words it allows you to re-programme your interpretation of emotions and is directly tailored to the individual. With roughly 3 weeks to go before I am due to get on a plane I am surrendering myself to EFT and I have been surprised at the results. Fear is hard to measure; when someone asks you to rate on a scale from 1 – 10 the intensity of fear I often think “I’m either scared or not, right?”. Wrong. I know I’m still scared of flying but the level of panic that I can experience varies and I’ve began to notice that I can still breathe when I picture myself boarding a plane and sitting in a claustrophobic space in the company of a complete stranger who, with any luck, is wearing deodorant.

EFT diagram

EFT diagram

You begin by doing your Set Up on the Karate Chop which is the basic outline of your problem. As mine is directed towards fear of flying I would say: “Even though I have this fear of flying I deeply and completely accept myself”. You continue with the script as you tap along the different body parts. I have seen various techniques for this but the type I like is a progressive script that way it adapts to your resistant subconscious which is never too far away to remind you that you are scared and who are you kiddingPenny Waite’s Happiness Untapped website gives a good example of this, as it addresses my initial scepticism of EFT which was that how could a physical therapy be a match to my cognitive self-sabotage?

I haven’t quite mastered EFT yet but I will continue with it even if it puts me at risk of being that crazy girl on the plane who taps and talks to herself!

Three sites to help sift through mountains of literature on EFT:

  1. http://www.yangtown.com/inner-game/how-to-overcome-any-fear-in-minutes-using-eft/
  2. http://www.pennywaite.co.uk/eft/eft-and-fear-of-flying/
  3. http://www.freefromfear.com/22PowerfulToolsToTransformYourFear_New.pdf


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A New Year For Conquering Fears

The New Year  is here and this month I have one goal to take precedence above all others; to conquer my fear of flying. The aim is to fly out to Thailand for a month in February to fulfill a promise to a friend and a long-enduring desire to explore South East Asia. For almost 2 years I have experienced panic attacks, something that first occurred on a flight in Colombia and which has since been triggered on trains, in underground tunnels, or in crowded situations without an obvious exit route.

Edvard Munch's 'The Scream of Nature' sums it up pretty darn well

This is what I look like on the inside during a panic ‘moment’

This pass month I’ve already experienced a difference in my train journeys, I no longer get the sweaty palms and I know when to expect a certain jerk during my usual route. I can now sit back and look out the window sometimes without even any music on. When I do feel the tightness of breath or the tension building in my muscles I remember to breathe, – inhale for 3, exhale for 4 – click ‘play’ on my Ipod and close my eyes.

I am conquering the trains.

Flying is a different beast however. I have always held a casual dislike of flying but ever since the first panic attack I am now the proud owner of a crippling fear. For one thing I am trapped for a prolonged time, (11 hours + to Bangkok), once you’re inside you cannot leave until you have landed again. I am convinced I will be on the plane that crashes; we’re all statistics right?? I already imagine I know what it feels like to die, that is what I experience when I have a panic attack so why would I want to endure that feeling ever again? Then there’s the turbulence: my stress levels exasperate, my palpitations increase to countless beats per second, my palms are so sweaty I cannot even grip them together for comfort. I try to focus on all those good words, those good thoughts, breathe, but my mind is spinning. I am going to die and I can’t even process my dying thoughts. BREATHEI go through cycles of this the entire flight. Music will not save me. If I plummet to the ground my family may never recover my body. I am not ready to meet my Maker, what if He’s angry with me?

Disclaimers: I cannot draw, those are not breasts depicted but me strangling myself (clearly)

Disclaimers: I cannot draw, those are not breasts depicted but me strangling myself (clearly)

This is what I anticipate will happen when I fly which in turns makes me anxious before I’ve even arrived at the airport = anxiety.  In addition to that I am paranoid, superstitious, claustrophobic, pessimistic, soplistic 

But it has been over a year and I have dreamed of travelling, exploring, discovering for as long as I can remember so I accept my 2013 challenge.

Follow my journey to overcome the irrational (rational?) fear of flying

Proposed methods: plane education, counselling, tapping, hypnotherapy, drugs 

Sharing is caring so any fellow flying-phobics are welcome to comment 🙂

Panic Attack Symptoms
Panic attacks are characterized by development of several symptoms which may include:
  • pounding heart, increased heart rate (tachycardia)
  • chest pain (you feel like having a heart attack)
  • sweating, chills, or hot flushes
  • shaking and trembling
  • nausea
  • stomach cramps
  • muscle aches and pains
  • dizziness (feel lightheaded and unstable)
  • fear of losing control, paranoia
  • fear of dying
  • hyperventilation
  • a sense of suffocation
  • derealisation (distorted sense of reality)
  • depersonalisation (feeling disconnected from your body, like you are in a dream)