15 November 2011

Fighting panic and phobia

Fiona Ramsey and a Helderberg plane crash disaster share their stories of living with phobias and panic.

Aideen developed a fear of flying after the Helderberg air disaster in 1987. She simply could not believe that the pilot was unable to save the plane and the passengers. Every time she had to fly somewhere, she became anxious and terrified. Because the nature of her work required her to fly frequently, the phobia started to have a serious impact on her life.

Both Aideen and Fiona shared their stories with Ruda Landman and psychiatrist Dr Franco Colin on kykNET’s mental health programme ’n Lewe met this week.

  • An overwhelming sense of fear lasting for 4–6 minutes
  • A surreal feeling
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness and light-headedness
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Numb hands and feet
  • Hot flushes or chills
  • A fear of losing control, of losing your mind or doing something to embarrass yourself
  • A fear of dying

  • Fear of animals (like snakes or spiders)
  • Fear of nature (like earthquakes, thunder or water)
  • Fear of blood, injections or injuries
  • Fear of situations (include a fear of travelling in cars, aeroplanes or lifts, or a fear of heights, tunnels and bridges)
  • Other (like avoiding situations that may possibly lead to choking or vomiting)


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