Everyday is a new day to hope, dream and try again. – Heather Wolf
Every now and then unlikely friendships are formed all by chance. I found Thenysia on Instagram just as she ended her aviation career and it was an opportune moment for her to make contact when she realized that I had once aupaired in America and she was in the process of her own application. At 28, she still believed that she could soar despite any obstacles that may have come her way. She is one of the few people I have come across that believed in her dreams and set out to follow them no matter what. Two years ago Tizzy (as most know her as) was diagnosed with major depressive disorder that turned her world upside down, but with a strong tribe of friends supporting her she found the strength to use her diagnosis to encourage others, to end the stigma of anxiety and depression being a gloomy journey and in doing so she found her voice too by starting her blog called Miss Hope. She recently started a new blog called Tales With Tizzy, a platform to educate, inspire and encourage her readers, shifting away from coping with depression but more on life itself and offer advice from the many lesson she had to learn.
I asked Thenysia to answer some questions based on her previous career being cabin crew for a reputable airline, as well as how life is after she left her post, the decisions that led her to where she is now and advice for those who feel like giving up on their own dreams.
- After high school, how did you find yourself in the aviation industry?
I studied< and like every other student, I couldn’t find a job. My mom had a friend, who had an aunt and…. voilah! I ended up at my dream destination.
- You began your career as ground staff, what were the pros and cons of that position?
– I got to be closer to my dream of flying
– I got to make life-long friends
– I got to stare at aircrafts all day
– OVERBOOKED FLIGHTS!!!!
– DBCs/Standby passengers
– Having to buy milk from woolworths all the time because the restroom never had any
– I had to wait 18 months to be eligible to fly
- How long were you working ground staff before you applied for crew?
Two years, and I also had many failed attempts.
- How and when did your anxiety and depression begin and become more prominent?
About a year after I started flying, I think I always had anxiety but it just needed something to trigger it.
- Did this escalate while you were crew?
Yes, I was always scared to fly during my first six months. I would psych myself up on the drive to the airport. I was not physically strong, I struggled to pull the trolley and some of the crew used that one inability against me, until I could pull the trolley. They would then move on to a new prey. My ultimate breakdown was caused by a combination of work stress, friendship struggles and my ex. It sent me over the edge. The life of flying is not glamorous, I absolutely adored my job with all my heart, however I allowed my emotions, in those months leading up to my break down and after my diagnosis, to get the better of me and for that, I will never forgive myself.
- What was your work environment like, and the relationships with colleagues, supervisors and managers?
My supervisors on the ground were chilled.
My manager at cabin, was in my opinion one of the best manager’s I had. He had to deal with a lot from me. He was strong, and he tried his best to understand & support me, but ultimately he too had a job to do & I think he gave up trying to save someone who was drowning in her own pain. My only regret is that I believe that I disappointed him.
My colleagues- Now this question gets me every time. I have friends that have become family now, that had I not been flying I would never have met. But…I would be lying if I said I got along with my colleagues. In a nut shell without being negative & bad mouthing I would say working with my colleagues during flying was challenging. The one thing I hated about the cabin environment was that toxic back stabbing & gossiping.
- What made you step down from your post as crew?
I never did. I just gave up fighting. I had to choose between keeping my sanity or losing it all over again. I had changed when I was in treatment in hospital. But to the crew world I was still Thenysia. Unfortunately, when someone fresh out of treatment goes back into a sea of piranha’s there is no hope. Things would never have been the same again. In my heart I will always be crew.
- What do you miss about crew?
The way my smile lit up every time I stared out of the window during landing.
- During your time as an aupair, what was your host family like?
My family was sweet. A single mum with two girls.
My host mum tried her best, however she had a demanding job & was very busy.
- What led to your decision to return to South Africa?
I simply was not emotionally ready to live the life I thought I was ready for.
I was becoming depressed in the US & I had no desire to explore. I just slept all day when I was off.
- After au pairing, how did you find the opportunity to work in Dubai?
I once again decided to run away from all my failures & google was my best friend. I simply sat on the net all day until I stumbled across this opportunity.
- . Can you explain the moments leading up to your departure for Dubai?
Just like the USA, it happened within a week. It was frustrating at first. There was a lot of back and forth from the agent. I almost gave up until she told me she had my contract.
I had gone for an airline interview just a day earlier & was regretted so this felt like a sign.
- What was your life in Dubai like?
Dubai was okay for the first month. I tried to do more tourist things and explore. I was really positive when I first arrived, but I slowly became very negative because I didn’t enjoy work and it had a ripple effect. I think being away from my friends and familiarities was what made it hardest, having to be with a new team who was totally different to what I was use to being back home. My time could have been better, I think it just wasn’t the right time.
What and where was your job, what did it entail and how did this job compare to the others?
Well, I worked at a beautiful hotel in the heart of Dubai, across the world renowned Burj Al Arab. Only problem was my position was different to what I thought I would be doing. My contract had read guest relations officer a fancier name for a hostess in an all day dining restaurant.
- What was the most memorable thing about each job?
Airline- My wings ceremony & featuring in highlife magazine
USA-My two girls & the happiness they brought to each day. I love & miss them
Dubai- The camels
- What was the hardest part about living in Dubai?
The hardest part of living in Dubai was the fact that I didn’t enjoy my job, which was the main reason I moved to Dubai – for this job. Also, the people never understood where I came from, it’s as if they were telling me who I was. Which I found to be very frustrating.
If any of you are looking for inspiration, this would be where you find it. Sometimes our paths are not what we plan or expect but the journey will always be memorable. You’ve got to keep pushing past the negativity and look beyond your failures. Life has a way of surprising you, if only you trust the process no matter what.