Balloons Away - Balloon Phobia

So you want to know about my phobia huh? Well, to me it was pretty normal behaviour. It’s only recently I realised that actually it was pretty stupid.
I’d had it all my life, lived with it, coped with and by and large, managed to grow up a relatively well balanced adult. Even now I feel a bit foolish writing it down, so stupid does it sound, but to me at the time and for all the previous forty years, it was logical. I was frightened of balloons.
I think it was the size of them, the stretchy elasticity of them, the noise if they were popped but it also transcended over to elastic bands and condoms. Not knicker elastic – that was covered in cotton so it was the rubbery element that I couldn’t deal with.

So all the time I didn’t want to become a post woman or have too racy a sex life I could get by. I began a one woman mission to rid the world of elastic bands, each time I found one (had to be small though) I’d deliberately bin it and jubilantly think I’d managed to turn the tide against them, even slightly.

And then I got maternal, my clock was ticking, my husband wanted children. But kids come with balloons. My heart would pound (not because of the husband) and I seriously, yes seriously, considered whether or not to have children because then I’d have to tolerate
balloons.

Over the years, my eldest is now nine, I managed to subject myself to them sufficiently to be able to go into a room where balloons were. Even have them in the house. Getting them home from McDonald’s in the car has always been a bit scary as I couldn’t possibly look at one or know that it was near my face. We’ve done that journey in record time let me tell you.

And then I met Lindsey.

It turned out I was the only one in a group of about a dozen that was daft enough to have a phobia (this shocked me as I thought most people had one) so I had the wonderful experience of being used as an illustration. How many years did I say I’d been gradually exposing myself to balloons to a point of toleration? Nine. NINE?! Deary me. I really did need the help didn’t I? Within minutes Lindsey had put me at ease, we were having a chat so it seemed, so informal it was rather like two friends out for the evening. We giggled and laughed as I visualised myself watching a movie of me behaving like an eejit. A couple of run throughs, a few tears of relief on my part (I’m known for that) and it was done. At first it felt like I’d been cut in half, the old half couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t “do that behaviour” anymore. The new half knew that I wouldn’t.

I went home to my children and asked if they had a balloon to hand, they were amazed to see that I could pick one up, even put it to my lips and blow it up. “It’s magic Mum” they said as they looked in wonder, at me behaving in a way I’d never behaved before.

And so my life has continued, liberated and free from this ridiculous irrational fear. It took only minutes to stop what it had taken years to tolerate. I don’t even think about it now, a few short months on. What on earth made me put up with it for all those years? Not having the tools or the resources I suppose, not knowing that you don’t have to “do a behaviour” – that in fact, the behaviour we choose really is up to us. Our imagination and minds are incredibly powerful, negative ruts are easy to fall into and yet with a little bit of guidance you can harness that same power and put it to so much more positive use.

Submitted by Lindsey Agness, Trainer Member

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