Mother of three who spent 29 years being terrified of ice and snow has finally been cured of the phobia… and claims it feels like she has ‘won the lottery’ A woman who spent 29 years living with a fear of ice and snow has told how successful treatment to cure the rare phobia has left her feeling like she has ‘won the lottery.’ Wendy Wiffen, 48, from Rainham, Essex, started suffering from pagophobia – a fear of ice and snow – after slipping on ice when she was pregnant in 1985. The mother-of-three’s phobia was so severe that she couldn’t look at ice cubes or ice lollies, buy frozen food, venture out in the snow or cope with ice crunch sounds like egg shells and crisps. She even suffered anxiety when watching Dancing on Ice and ended up locking herself in her bedroom whenever it was on television or running out of shops if she saw it on magazine covers. However, following treatment from psychotherapists, Mrs Wiffen claims she has now been cured of the phobia which has ruled her life for so long. She said one of the things she was now looking forward to doing the most was treating her grandchildren to an ice-lolly – something she claims she has never been able to do in the past. She said: ‘It’s better than winning the lottery. I feel free. Like a giant weight has been lifted. ‘It may sound ridiculous to some people, but being able to have ice in my drink on a hot day feels like a miracle. ‘Before treatment I wasn’t even able to stand near anybody who had ice in their glass. ‘A cool drink was out of the question but now there will be no more warm drinks for me. ‘I’ve even been able to walk down the frozen food aisle in the supermarket for the first time in nearly 30 years. ‘I can’t believe it myself. It is so liberating.’ Mrs Wiffen was cured during a live appearance on ITV’s This Morning after producers read about her plight on MailOnline and invited her on air for treatment. Her story first emerged last year when she told how she tried to seek help from her GP after being trapped in her home in the cold weather. It was thought her phobia stemmed from slipping on ice when she was seven months pregnant with the eldest of her three children, who are now aged 28, 25 and 21. She said she slipped while walking to the shops and was left fearing her unborn son had been harmed. At the time, she told how she was left virtually housebound in cold weather because of her fear and had to stock up on groceries to avoid going out in the snow. She also told how she was becoming increasingly upset that her phobia was preventing her from taking part in activities like snowman building and sledging with her grandchildren. She said: ‘It ruled my life, summer and winter, it never left me and I was at my wits end. I beat bowel cancer but I could not beat this phobia. ‘I used to dread the hot weather because I knew that meant the ice cream van would come round and all the kids would be having ice lollies. ‘I couldn’t even stand to hear ice clinking in glasses. I’d have to drink warm drinks.’ Mrs Wiffen even nearly missed her own wedding with husband Peter four years ago when forecasters predicted snow. She said: ‘He knew I wouldn’t make if it snowed. I wanted to do the ceremony over the phone.’ However, she now believes the phobia is a problem of her past after receiving treatment on the daytime show on Friday. Viewers saw her burst into tears when hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield showed her an ice cube before treatment and a nurse had to be called after her blood pressure rocketed and she almost fainted. However, after just 40 minutes of treatment with psychotherapists Nik and Eva Speakman she went back on air to demonstrate how she was able to touch an ice cube and even bite an ice-lolly. Speaking after the treatment, she said: ‘I want people to know this treatment can work, it can change your life like it has mine. ‘I am so pleased I went for it. I never thought I could be cured but I can’t wait to make the most of my life without this phobia hanging over me.’ Mrs Speakman said the phobia was the worst she had ever treated live on air. She said: ‘Wendy’s fear of ice was without doubt the most severe phobia we have attempted to treat under these conditions. ‘With that in mind and only a short time to work with her we had no idea what was going to work or not but Wendy responded so well to our therapy. ‘She realised she was blaming the snow and ice for something that never happened. ‘She was very shocked not to have these feelings that had dominated her life for so long. ‘It’s hugely rewarding to see the difference it is making to her life already.’
*Disclaimer: Results May Vary From Person To Person.