HAVING a phobia which involves fear of motorway driving is one thing.
When your life’s passion is getting behind the wheel of your favourite car and spending life on the open road, it is another challenge altogether.
Rather like someone who loves Roses chocolates but can’t entertain the thought of taking the wrappers off. Getting from A to B has become a battle for Russell Garner who loves travelling and has a special affinity with classic cars.
His problem started a few years back when he returned to the UK after living for a spell in Singapore.
He found the road had become “overly busy” and “incredibly so” to the point where one day he was jostling for position on the M25 approaching a junction on his way to London when he had what he described as a panic attack.
“It just came over me and since then things got worse to the point where I totally avoided motorways,” he recalled. However, fate intervened and he met Naked Leader founder David Taylor who was running a coaching course in Portugal which Russell happened to be attending through his business.
“It was pure luck that we met and looking back you wonder whether it was fate,” said Russell. “David was the speaker and was talking about people and the mind and I found it fascinating.
“I decided to ask David a question afterwards and approached him when he was leaving. I caught up with him and asked whether he had ever helped people with phobias, or could he point me in the direction of someone who could.
“As it was he said ‘as a matter of fact I can’. From then on we have kept in touch.
“I have since driven on the motorway for the first time in at least 10 years and I can’t say I felt entirely comfortable. There is still tension there but the fact I managed to drive on it at all is amazing.
“I’ve recently had a session in London with David and he mentioned he was doing a YouTube programme on ‘How To Choose Your Life’ and when he asked if I would get involved to tell my story I said ‘yes’.
“I wanted to tackle this, as I really enjoy driving and also because my wife has had to drive motorways and I’ve felt bad about that.”
Russell has met his phobia full on and is dealing with it.
His sense of humour shines through too. When it was suggested the M6 Toll Road doesn’t have many lorries on it because of the prohibitive cost and the road is generally much less busy than other motorways he smiled: “That would be a good one for me to practice on then, although driving up and down there might be a bit expensive.”
Although there may still be some tense times for Russell to overcome, it’s good to see he’s once again steering his life in the right direction.