When We Stuff Our Spirit Away
The subject of this month’s blog is phobias. As I write, I am presently on my annual ski pilgrimage in Whistler, Canada enjoying a lovely ski holiday and remain grateful that I no longer suffer from the debilitating phobia I used to have with ski gondolas.
Yes, I said ski gondolas! What?!
I have been skiing since I was a teenager. I never gave being transported up the mountain in a gondola a second thought and then, BAM, one day in my late 30’s, I found myself terrified inside the gondola. I felt as though I was trapped. I began to have heart palpitations, my palms began to sweat and I had butterflies in my stomach, I was engrossed in panic.
And what made it worse was that I didn’t know what was happening to me or why and I certainly couldn’t share what was going on with my other gondola travelers. They just might think I was mad.
Some time later, I realized that I had developed a phobia because the fear was completely irrational. I had never had a negative incident in a ski gondola. At first blush, there appeared to be no reason for this sudden phobia onset.
At the height of my gondola phobia on a beautiful, sunny day, I made my way onto the gondola with a group of my girlfriends who had decided we would enjoy a day of Spring skiing. Then the panic began and I jumped out of the gondola at the last minute before the door closed. I decided to ascend the mountain via ski lifts where I was in the open air.
Another time I decided to take an out-of-town work colleague to Whistler. We stepped into a gondola designed for 4 people and my phobia took control of my brain. I began having problems breathing from the panic I felt. My ski buddy jammed his ski pole into the door so it would stay open and I wouldn’t feel trapped. # Compassion – needless to say, he got a lot of my business thereafter!
As a ski lover, my newfound phobia was extremely inconvenient! I learned to manage it somewhat over the years but found myself thinking about the terror I felt in the gondola before leaving on every ski vacation. Having to face one’s irrational fear every day during the days that lead up to and every day of the vacation was exhausting to say the least!
Then I found my saving grace when I studied Neuro Linguistic Programming. With NLP, I learned a technique that could remove the phobia as fast as it came on. You see phobias develop in a matter of minutes and can be cured in the same time frame because the brain works that fast. And so my gondola phobia has been laid to rest. Thank goodness!
I can only speculate as to what caused this phobia. One thing I know for sure, it had nothing to do with skiing. I think it was because I was in an unhappy marriage for a number of years where I was being the good wife but all along suppressing the person that I really was. When we stuff our spirit away and pretend to be something we’re not for years on end, the repercussions are bound to manifest in the body because emotion demands an outlet.
Since learning that first NLP technique I have also added hypnotherapy techniques to my toolkit to help with phobias that I can deliver in person or via Skype. I like to think of phobias as thought-knots – for some reason our thinking has gone awry and we need to some help to untangle the knots. Simple phobias such as fear of snakes can often be dealt with in one session. Complex phobias may need a series of sessions because often there are a few things going on. For example, with a fear of flying there could be elements of claustrophobia, a fear of crashing or a fear of being out of control.
For me the worst of having the phobia was the fear of the fear, in other words, anticipating the soon-to-be phobic attack. Shear dread.
I read in a book (the name I cannot remember) some time ago that people who suffer from phobias are typically highly intelligent and creative which made me feel somewhat better. If you have a phobia and you find yourself ashamed by it, don’t be because phobias are common and there are people like me that practice NLP and Hypnotherapy who can help you. You can choose to free yourself.
# Thought-knot Detangler