In the Press
Birmingham Evening Mail
How sessions helped me beat school bullies.
'I can't really pinpoint the time or the day that I started to feel different. It didn't happen overnight, it just seemed to creep up on me until it got to a point where I was virtually housebound.
I have suffered pains in my joints since as far back as I can remember so really it was just a part of life for me.
The problem started when I reached about 13 and, like any other teenager, I just wanted to go out and be with my friends. That was when I realised there was something different about me.
I couldn't walk as fast as they could and I was constantly out of breath and tired. The crunch came one day when I was walking with my friends on the way to school, my legs had been hurting as usual, but they felt weaker than ever before.
Then I triped as my knees and ankles gave way under me. It was the most embarassing moment of my life. Of course the other people around me thought it was hilarious.
The tripping became more and more common and I found myself the source of everybody's laughter each lunchtime. By now it had become like a living nightmare. I began to drift further and further from them, barely talking in the fear of drawing attention to myself.
I started to go out less and less and I was left a sobbing heap in the corner at the mere suggestion of going out.
My mother - who was by now willing to try anything - noticed an advertisement in a shop window for hypnosis.
After many nights of speculation and with thoughts of me being made to do an impression of Madonna or act like an alien (fresh in our minds from our last trip to a holiday camp), we decided to give it a try.
When we arrived to meet Sheila, I was very surprised to find that apart from the fact she was minus hippie-looking clothes and a room full of oil burners and scented candles, she looked more like someone you'd meet every day. Her office was more cosy than spooky. The nicest surprise however came from Sheila herself, who made me feel more relaxed than I had done in a long time. I soon found myself telling her about me and how I felt without holding back even the smallest details.
Sheila then took the time to explain to me what hypnosis was and how it worked, before asking me to lie back on an easy chair and get comfortable.
She then gradually relaxed me step by step - the feeling is great you feel yourself slipping deeper into a relaxed state - then she asked a number of questions. You are asked to raise a finger as a sign that you understand.
You don't actually do this consciously, but simply find your fingers twitching in answer to her questions. I was taught under hypnosis how to control a panic attack and how to feel better about myself. She also taught me self-hypnosis which means I can help myself now. Nothing happened overnight, it happened over a few days.
But I feel in control of my panic attacks and have built up to gradually leaving the house and travelling on a bus. I sometimes feel just the faintest feeling of a panic but it quickly disappears.
I now feel able to start gettin back to studying for my GCSE's. I am looking forward to getting back into my education and I hope, meeting new people and new friends. I have learned that friends are people that you can trust and would never treat me the way that the people I once classed as my friends did.'