Dizzy Heights No Problem Now For Louise

A new BBC documentary dealing with fear of heights


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Everyday tasks which involved heights were a source of terror for Louise Randall who is well known locally as the Chiswick House & Gardens Trust Volunteer Manager.

But Louise has confronted her fear and her journey can be seen in a BBC 1 documentary about acrophobia ( severe fear of heights), which will be broadcast on Wednesday 7th May at 9pm.

'Vertigo Roadtrip' is presented by Mel Giedroyc and shows how Louise and other sufferers begin to overcome their phobia through aversion therapy with the help of Clinical Psychologist Dr Jennifer Wild.

Louise (second from the left in photo) explained that her fear arose out of two traumatic incidents. The first was as a 12-year old child, when she was walking across the Clifton Suspension Bridge and her brother Chris let go of her hand causing her to become stuck, terrified, on the bridge. The next incident was when she was eighteen, and a passenger in a car driving along a steep mountain road in Spain when the driver lost control of the car.

"I became terrified of mountain roads, bridges, a multi-storey building, particularly those offices with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and what other people thought were amazing views absolutely terrified me", she says.

Her fear became so severe that she would drive miles out of her way in order to avoid driving over a bridge but it was when she realised it was having an impact on her partner and loved ones that she decided to take action.

She spotted an ad in a newspaper seeking volunteers for the television programme and emailed to say she was willing to undergo the therapy. The filming, which took the five volunteers to some of the highest buildings in the world in the Middle East was often difficult but she says it was "worthwhile" in the end. Friends and colleagues in Chiswick were very supportive, she says.

Since then Louise has done the Tree Top walk at Kew Gardens, walked over the roof of the 02 and even made an emotional journey back to the Clifton Suspension Bridge with her brother, where her fear began.

She hopes the programme will be an inspiration to anyone with a phobia to confront their fears and get help. The cornerstone of aversion therapy is in pursuading people their fears are illogical.

Louise (who has a degree in psychology) has now been inspired to study for a diploma in stress management.

You can view some scenes from Vertigo Roadtrip here.

May 2, 2014

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