Michael Vaughan meets Sarah Taylor: ‘My problem was agoraphobia, not cricket – that’s why I’m trying hypnosis’

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“It’s about planting beautiful seeds in your mind, replacing negative thoughts with happier ones, and it can work wonders. If I can fix this part of my life, I’m really laughing.

Sarah Taylor describes the benefits of hypnosis. This is her new treatment for agoraphobia and she hopes it will help her return to playing in the Hundred this summer.

Taylor has just signed for the Welsh Fire, returning to the game she gave up in 2019 at the age of 30 when anxiety ended the career of one of the best wicket keepers in the world. Now she seems confident, life is better, she loves her job as a teacher and coach and has separated the sport of cricket from the dark effects of anxiety.

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“You have your negative and irrational thoughts with agoraphobia,” she says. “It affects me as far as the distance to a safe place is concerned. A safe place for me can be my car, my city, a house, or a hotel I’m in. The fear of being too far away can cause panic. Therefore, why traveling is a problem, I cannot do buses, trains, taxis or planes. I’m going to struggle with the idea of ​​using them, so I’ll end up not doing something, just for fear of being trapped and unable to return to what I consider a safe place.

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“I just associated cricket with a lot of negativity and my anxiety turned into agoraphobia. It took me this long to realize that it was the anxiety and agoraphobia that was horrible to me, not the cricket.

Taylor sits in front of a whiteboard in a classroom at Bede’s School in Sussex where she works in the sports department as a sports development and life skills coach. “I can coach cricket, and all that, but kids can come see me if they’re feeling anxious or need someone to talk to.”

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Last month it was announced that she had joined the Sussex staff as a part-time wicket coach working with the men’s squad and academy players, opening up new perspectives for a woman in men’s sport.

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