WHEN her best friend decided to hold a wedding party on a boat, Emma Carter knew she had to finally overcome her lifelong fear of water.
Just a few weeks ago, Miss Carter was so gripped by fear she would even avoid the waterside parts of Princes Quay Shopping Centre.
Miss Carter, who was chief bridesmaid for her friend, Amy Usher’s wedding to David Goldsmith in Cyprus last moth, said: “The jelly legs have gone.
“Never in a billion years did I think I’d be sunbathing on the mesh part of a catamaran with the sea lapping underneath me.”
It is thought her phobia – or hydrophobia to give it its correct name – was sparked as a youngster at Hull Marina.
“My grandad Ray worked the docks,” said Miss Carter, 34. “I remember as a kid being really scared of the water.
“Because he worked there, he’d try and push me to like the water, but it never worked.
“Nothing ever happened to give me the phobia, like falling in or anything. It’s completely illogical, like a lot of phobias.”
In desperation and after receiving her friend’s wedding invite, Miss Carter contacted Thak’a Na’ama, a hypnotist based in East Yorkshire.
She said: “I was sceptical about hypnotherapy, but I was desperate.
“I knew that I didn’t want to miss out on a big section of Amy’s wedding just because I couldn’t face my fear of water.
“A party was to be held on a catamaran with a bit of sunbathing the day after the wedding.
“My friend told me she’d happily change her plans for me, but I couldn’t let her do that. This was her wedding – it wasn’t mine.”
Miss Carter was visited at her home by Ms Na’ama.
“I was put into a trance,” she said. “While I was under, Thak’a taught me to make sense of water. It gives life. It’s safe. It’s comforting – the opposite of my phobia.”
Miss Carter says she woke up feeling refreshed and later tested herself at Gym 24 Seven at Princes Quay.
“There’s a balcony there, overlooking the water, that I have never been able to walk out onto,” she said. “About a week about the hypnotherapy session I decided to test myself.
“I saw a guy walk over to the balcony, learn up against it and rest his arms on the glass.
“Normally, even that would have been enough for the fear to kick in, but this time nothing happened.
“So I walked up on the balcony and looked out at the water. I felt fine. I was so happy I wanted to cry. I never thought I’d be able to do this.”
After returning from the wedding, Miss Carter decided to book a holiday – island-hopping in Thailand – at the end of the year.
“Thailand is my dream holiday,” she said. “I didn’t think I’d ever be able to go as you can’t go really go to Thailand and no go on boats.
“I am so grateful to Thak’a. She has changed my life.”