Determined not to let her phobia prevent her from becoming a singer, Jemma set up a make-shift recording studio in her bedroom in Malvern, Worcestershire, and used a webcam to make videos of herself performing a mixture of covers and her own songs.
Jemma later posted her performances on video-sharing website YouTube where her view count rocketed to more than two million, and one video achieved “most viewed” status in China.
“For the last two years I’ve been struggling with agoraphobia. I used to perform all the time and I really wanted a way I could continue. I decided to put my songs up on YouTube so I could share them with lots of people, even though I’m still housebound.” She said.
Despite Hixon’s fear of leaving her own home, she has actually never suffered from stage fright and in the past has even sung live on television after winning a BBC1 competition to sing with the Sugababes. She commented, “I sang on live TV and it didn’t bother me at all, but I just turn into a big panic ball when I try to leave the house.”
“It’s a strange thing because I know logically I have nothing to worry about walking out of the house but it’s a completely different thing when I actually try to do it.”
After seeing numerous therapists which have been unsuccessful, Hixon hopes her success on the internet will give her the motivation to conquer her phobia and make a breakthrough.
“I would like to think that one day I will have the courage to leave the house and perform on stage.” She said.
If you are struggling to come to terms with a phobia and would like information about how counselling and psychotherapy may be able to help, please visit our fact-sheet.