Where to start....at the beginning I suppose.
46 years ago at the age of nine I suffered a water based trauma, that whilst not life threatening, left me with a deep sense of fear of having my face or head submerged under water.
Through my teen years and early twenties I learnt to live with not being able to jump into the swimming pool or sea with my friends or wife to have fun - for fear of going under the water.
This disappointment was at its worst once our children came along - not being able to teach the kids to swim, or to only be able to play around in the shallow end for fear of 'freaking out' in front of them was, for me, so disappointing. Not that the children ever showed it, they enjoyed what fun we could have as that's what children do.
Getting help or having counselling never occurred to me, I don't know why, but I just learnt to live with it....
Then Michael Bird came along - literally!
We were introduced in Ibiza through a mutual friend. Michael had a little chat with me to find out the facts of my predicament and said 'I can help you'. Those four words changed my life.
We went for a little walk, found a quiet, shady spot and Michael began to talk and use the 'Havening' technique....I immediately felt at ease, with the calming manner of his voice gently asking me about the traumatic incident all those years ago. His wonderful way with words and reassuring comments made me feel like I could overcome my fears for the first time. After a while, just listening to every softly spoken word and using the havening technique I felt like I had nothing to fear anymore.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say....so later that day, for the first time since I met my wife 35 years earlier, I went under the water and didn't 'freak out' - it was one of the most incredible moments of my life...
Fast forward six months, I had swimming lessons (without letting the children know) and at the age of 56 learned to swim. The look of pride on our children's faces when we showed them a video of me swimming in the sea off the coast of Italy will live with us forever... and this is all down to Michael!
If ever I needed help again, or found myself in a dark place and needed to talk, Michael is the man I'd turn to.
Thank you for helping me.