my old trouble : Singer DINA CARROLL on her fear of flying

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Indy Lifestyle Online
MY flying phobia started in 1994: it just came out of nowhere when I was coming home after a holiday. I was feeling really relaxed, travelling from island to island in this little four-seater plane on the way back from the Caribbean. I remember looking down at the sea on the outward flight, thinking how exciting the journey was. Then when I got on board for the flight home I suddenly freaked out and jumped off the plane. I did manage to get back in and last the journey out, but I was terrified all the time.

The next part of the journey was by jumbo jet and I sat by the pilot, which calmed me down. But when the doors shut I freaked out and the stewardess had to give me Valium. Ever since then I've had pretty full-on anxiety attacks. I'd been flying for about 3-4 years before this all happened with no problems at all.

My fear of flying is affecting my work. Obviously I have to fly when I'm on tour and I take very strong sleeping pills two hours before the flight. I dread the long-haul flights to Japan and Hong Kong.

The symptoms are palpitations, nausea, sweating and a fear of not being able to breathe. It just feels like the ultimate fear. They say that it's triggered by your subconscious working overtime to protect you, but in an inappropriate situation.

My family are very supportive and can recognise the signs now before it happens. In fact people are very understanding in general, but they're beginning to get frustrated by it.

I've found hypnosis is only thing that works. I went to Paul McKenna and soon after my consultation with him I flew for the first time in three years on a 12-hour flight to Hong Kong. I wasn't very happy and cried all the way there. I flooded out the Heathrow terminal and then I flooded out the Kong Kong terminal. It was horrible, but you wouldn't have got me near an airport before that.

I've tried all kinds of other cures, but all the clinical psychologists and psychoanalysts want to do is find something in your childhood and rip that apart. I really couldn't pinpoint my fear of flying down to anything from my past.

I suppose it's a fear of not being able to escape. I get scared in cars and in crowds. If I'm tired then it's much harder to control and with a hangover it's a complete nightmare.

Interview by Cayte Williams

Dina Carroll has been nominated Best Female Artist in tomorrow's Brit Awards.

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