Friday, 27 May 2016

Proof it still works! Sunday 11th March 2012 Course Attendee

This message arrived in the last couple of weeks. Look how long ago she attended our course!  It is true testament to the power of someone overcoming their fear by not giving up. A course like ours is really effective when part of a process of beating the fear. Plus, staying determined.

Best wishes,
Paul & Richard
Virgin Atlantic Flying Without Fear
I just wanted to contact you regarding the course I attended on 11th March 2012
I had suffered from panic attacks for 4 years on most forms of transport, including lifts (basically anything I was enclosed in!) after suffering a panic attack on a train that had stopped in between stations for 30 mins.  After that the panic attacks seemed to occur whenever the train slowed down/ stopped & when I was in a car stuck in traffic.  Up until 2011 I would avoid driving on the motorway & certainly would not drive on there alone.  After suffering bad panic attacks on 2 flights & the Eurostar, I avoided travelling far & holidayed in the UK for 3 years. I attempted a flight again, but got as far as the airport entrance & turned around & went back home in floods of tears.  2011 was the first time I had flown for years.  I flew to Amsterdam, Italy & Tunisia that year, but I got myself so worked up the night before each flight & whilst waiting to board the plane, that most of the time my heart would be racing the whole way & it was so uncomfortable.
I wanted to attend your course to try & eradicate some of this discomfort & to help me actually want to book holidays going forward instead of dreading them - & your course certainly did that for me!
When I arrived at Gatwick an air stewardess came over to say hello to me & told me she'd just got back from a flight to Hong Kong & how that was 1 of her favourite places to visit. I told her about my boyfriend working out there & that was the number 1 upset of the day!! I feel so stupid now crying at the beginning of the day, but she was lovely & made me feel at ease.  She actually ended up sitting next to me on the flight, so I repaid her with Haribo sweets!
The course was good, quite interesting & I actually enjoyed the flight J I found it a bit tough during the day. I got upset when I got there when I found out that the flight wasn't till nearly 8pm, so I kept worrying about it at certain times during the day, but looking back now it was good to make us wait all day & we were also slightly delayed in the departure lounge waiting for our plane to land, but that has really helped me with the whole waiting at the airport experience & if there are delays on flights.
I did it with no Diazepam, no alcohol, no book, iPod, crossword book or scarf over my head & I actually felt better quicker.

My heart was racing a bit when I got on the plane & then a bit during take-off, but I was fine after that. I had a walk up & down the plane & handed out Haribos to my fellow frightened fliers, that I'd brought with me as a reward for doing so well.
During 2012, I then had had flights to Turkey, Germany, Ireland, Spain & Croatia and have been fine on all the flights, even though I have experienced turbulence at times & at some points up to 5 hour delays.  From that point on, I have travelled to some lovely holiday destinations including in 2013 my first long haul flights in 14 years to my school friend's wedding in Boston, following by 2 internal flights for a week in the Bahamas & last year 10 nights in the Dominican Republic.
My boyfriend had been working in Hong Kong for 18months from 2011, but I did not have the courage to fly out on my own to visit him – This was the final push I needed to make me attend your course, if he had stayed out there indefinitely, I would've had to fly on my own there at some point.  He flew home every 3 months to see me, but on the agreement that we got away to sunnier climates when he did.  He is now home for good & we have said that we will visit HK together in the future.
My boyfriend is a keen traveller & 'collects' countries as his hobby – he has visited 97 countries to date & I always used to feel under pressure to book flights that I wasn't comfortable with – Nowadays, it is me 'bugging' him to let me book our next holiday.
I believe it would've taken me years to fly again (if at all), if I hadn't attended your course, so I am very grateful that there was a course that you offered & that everyone running the course was so nice, helpful & understanding throughout the day.
I now keep a list of the places I have visited & the number of flights I have conquered -    If I ever get a bit nervous, I look at my list & feel proud of how far I have come.  In the last 4 years I have taken 49 flights J  
Thank you so much!
Vickie Brennan
Premium courses £267: Heathrow July 10th; Birmingham July 24th.
Ground courses £180: Leeds May 29th; Heathrow June 5th; Gatwick July 3rd.
Children's Course Heathrow July 10th

1 comment:

  1. Hi Vickie, its brilliant to hear how well you have done. I attended my course in April/May 2013 at Gatwick with a refresher in April 2015 as although I went on the flight I didn't fly 'solo' after the initial course. I have had panic disorder & agoraphobia for 24 years and my life has been pretty hard not being able to travel - only having holidays in the UK and not far away from home at that !!
    I took my first flight a month after the course to Glasgow where I went and stayed at my uncle's house which I hadn't seen for 37 years. I then went on my first family holiday with my children to Majorca in September and yesterday we came back from the Costa Del Sol. I feel so pleased I plucked up the courage to attend the course - I remember everyone clapping when they heard my story on my table of fellow attendees that I was there - which made me think if my fellow sufferers are clapping I must be bad !!
    The easy option in life is to be comfortable not taking any risks & I thought I was going to be one of those with a restricted life. But when my children said to me all their friends had been on a plane and when are we going? I had to make the decision to either go whatever that threw at me or miss out.

    I can honestly say the course was literally a life changing experience - in fact I was disappointed as the flight yesterday felt too short !!

    I hope you have taken a huge amount of pride in yourself with your achievements. I have and it literally brings tears to my eyes when i think about what I have done.

    Thank you for sharing your story - and to the Flying without Fear team too for your AMAZING work !!

    Best Wishes


    Martin Youldon