I had no problem at all with flying – I even enjoyed it - until my twenties when I started feeling increasingly nervous, seemingly out of the blue. I don’t know why, or how it started, but it got worse with every flight I took. I felt a sense of impending doom from the moment I booked a flight until the flight landed and the time away was ruined by dreading the flight home. I became hyper-sensitive to all the noises and sensations. It was exhausting and embarrassing being so scared. I was prescribed diazepam but it didn’t help. Well-meaning people told me it was safe to fly but that didn’t help, after all my father was an airline pilot – I knew it was safe! Others told me to go on a course like this one, but I was too fearful to even consider it. After a decade of fear I just gave up. I ended up going all over Europe by train. I had some memorable trips but they took up a lot of time and money. I missed out on weddings in Italy and Egypt as well as last minute cheap holidays and it affected work as I couldn’t go to annual conferences abroad.
Nine years after I stopped flying I finally plucked up the courage to look at the FWF website. Just looking at it made me cry but ignoring my racing heart and sweaty palms, and encouraged by the posts on the message board, I booked it. On the day of my course I spent the first three hours quite sure that I had made a big mistake and that I wouldn’t take the flight. However, somehow the blend of humour, empathy and relaxation techniques from the psychologists backed up by straight talking from the pilot did the trick and I boarded the plane. I was stunned – instead of fear I felt an unexpected blend of calm and excited. That day was one of the best days of my life! I couldn’t believe how my attitude shifted from arriving in floods of tears to leaving feeling so relaxed and happy.
Since that day in March 2009 I have flown happily to New York, Athens, Rome, Prague, the Caribbean, Paris, Lisbon, Barcelona and more. I have also been a volunteer team leader for FWF on 17 courses, more than happy to give up a Sunday whenever I can to support and encourage others who are fearful. I can honestly say that doing the FWF course changed my life.
Huge thanks to the FWF team that day - David, Gill, Paul, Richard & Captain Dave - and a big hug to Paul Johnson, my very own team leader J
Manchester 11th November
Gatwick 18th November (Both adult and kid’s course)
Edinburgh 25th November
Southampton 2nd December
Leeds Bradford 13th January 2013
London Luton 20th January 2013
Newcastle 3rd February 2013
Birmingham 24th February 2013
Paul & Richard