I just got back from Puerto Rico. I was not entirely comfortable on the flights down there as there was a bit of turbulence. But on the way back I was much better. 22 months ago
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I’m taking a trip in less than two weeks. And while I’m excited to be going to a new place. I have this underlying fear of flying. It’s something that has developed in the last few years. I was never like this when I was younger. 22 months ago
How I did it: I never used to have a fear of flying but after some particularly bad turbulence at the end of several long haul flights I started over thinking flying and became petrified to the point of tears on every flight. This left me 'grounded' for over a year until July when I booked three flights in Europe for a backpacking holiday. Before even booking the tickets I read a lot about turbulence as this was my main fear, I learned what it is, how it affects the plane and how to reduce the effects. This knowledge linked with having a good friend with me on the first flight helped me to rationalise this irrational fear. By the second flight I was comfortable enough to fall asleep (with the help of a stiff pre-flight drink) and also get up and use the toilet. The third flight I was positively bored with how long it took to get home and couldn't wait to get off but for entirely different reasons to before. Read how I did it… 22 months ago
On my flight from Milan to Paphos, with the help of a bar lady who obviously not know the correct measure for a shot of vodka more like half a pint, I not only fell asleep but also went to the toilet once I’d woken up. The plane was thrown around quite a lot on the way down and I was calm and unphased. During part of the flight I was even bored and just wanted to get there. Unbelievable! Definitely mind over matter.
I have one more flight to get home and considering that this goes as well as the other two I will cross off this goal. 23 months ago
Flying for the first time in 15 months and I wasn’t even daunted. I had read some books and returned myself to the mind set that there is nothing to worry about. I did use techniques such as connecting as much of myself with the plane as possible at times when it was slightly rougher, as in adopting the brace position. I was able to look out of the windows and appreciate what I was seeing.
I have two more flights before I come home in September both of which are longer and which I’ll be travelling on alone so this will really be my test. My two goals, set to prove I am actually over this fear, are to use the toilet during a flight so moving around and being in more of a confined space and also falling asleep so being relaxed enough to let go or any tension I’m feeling.
It’s a good start but I’m confident I can build on it. I am very pleased so far :) 2 years ago
Thank you Microwhisper for being so patient with me! I didn’t go to Ireland in the end something else came up and I have now read that book I loaned from the library and found it very useful. I now have three flights booked in the next six weeks, the first with a friend and the other two alone. I am not messing about I am just getting on the plane (maybe with the aid of a drink or two) I used to be fine and I can’t let a silly fear that I programmed into myself rule the rest of my life. I am going to be fine because I’m not going to over think it, I’m just going to let it happen, as it has done so many times in the past and as it always has everything will be fine. 2 years ago
So the way I got over my fear was simple; I had no choice! I am currently going through some issues and had to get on a plane to find work half way across the US. I couldn’t take my car, besides the fact of my husband needing it for the kids I didn’t have any cash for gas money. I really wasn’t concerned about staying in a hotel BUT I would need to eat so money was needed. When that weekend hit I got on that plane closed my eyes and prayed. By the time I landed for my layover I was good to go! I’ve come to realize it’s the company you keep that will help or worsen your fears and I was in great company [I flew solo]! I had some encouraging words from my husband, my mother, my friends and of course God. Now when someone says let’s catch a flight, I am there and ready to go! 2 years ago
Renting this book from the library! It’s a small step but hopefully it will help. I have narrowed the fear down to turbulence as I don’t understand it and for some reason believe it is the plane malfunctioning. Take off and landing are fine, watching the clouds and the coastlines come into view amazes me. Also the nervousness of other passengers sets me on edge. I wonder if flying with friends would help? 2 years ago
My outbound flight went really well. I tool 8mgs of medication, which was much less than the 30mgs I took last time (even when you take into consideration that the flight was shorter). I also remembered my “turbulence mantra” (haha), which always helps when things get a bit bumpy. I was so chilled out I actually managed to doze on and off a bit, which I haven’t been able to do on a plane for a long time.
I wasn’t as relaxed for the inbound flight, but mostly because I chose not to take any medication! I was so proud. I did have a small glass of wine with my dinner, but that didn’t do much for long. I made sure to be aware of any muscle tension and would relax if/when anything was tense.
The best thing I’ve discovered is that sitting on a window seat is great! Whenever there is any turbulence I look out the window at the land or clouds below… this helps to put the movement into perspective. Even though the turbulence might feel significant to me on the plane, when I look down I realize how little we are actually moving it is very reassuring and proves how insignificant the turbulence actually is.
I hope this means my fear is slowly decreasing. 2 years ago
...and I am feeling pretty good about it. I think a big part of it has been the intense anxiety I’ve had to deal with the past few months. After all that, I feel like this is totally not a big deal. Is it possible that my threshold for anxiety has just been totally obliterated by everything that’s happened?! hahah It sure seems like it.
I am really exited about our trip to Cyprus and can’t wait to just go! I did go to my GP and got a new Diazepam prescription just in case. I’m also planning on having a nice drink at the airport before hand and am taking my fear of flying book to consult if I need to.
Yay, for vacation time! 2 years ago
I’m not sure if it was from building up so much anxiety that I was underwhelmed by the flight or what, but my flight home from school went pretty well! Here’s what I did:
1. Prior to my flight, my doctor taught me a breathing technique. Breathing in slowly to where your abdomen extends, imagining “relaxation going IN”... then breathing out slowly to where your abdomen caves in, imagining “tension going OUT”
2. I booked my ticket with a seat situated towards the front of the plane- when turbulence gets rough, I’ve found its far less intense towards the front of the aircraft.
3. Like a child, I packed lots of things to keep me entertained and relaxed. I went on iTunes and downloaded three hour-long episodes of my favorite tv show that I’ve missed over the fall school semester. Between tasty snacks and my shows, turbulence became a secondary distraction.
I did pretty well throughout the flight, but in the final hour, the pilot announced that it was going to get “pretty choppy”. I almost panicked, but I quickly turned to my breathing technique and kept my eyes on the flight attendants and a man sitting in front of me whom I overheard had flown more than everyone on the plane. I figured, in the midst of turbulence, if these people did not seem shaken, neither should I. After the shows on my laptop finished, I kinda freaked out because the turbulence was still bad and I no longer had a “safety blanket”. I grabbed my phone and began to play a word game and forced myself to focus COMPLETELY on it. Oddly enough, when my adrenaline peaked during the turbulence, I reached the highest score on the game that I had ever achieved!
After we touched down, I felt pretty good about myself. I know many people fly frequently and think this may all seem silly, but to overcome this relatively new fear was big for me. With my graduate studies I expect to travel quite a bit, and in order to achieve my dreams I refuse to allow this anxiety to hold me back. My little holiday experience shows it can be done. Now… if I can stay strong for my flight back! 2 years ago
to Ireland for October when I get paid on the 25th! Nothing left to do but get back on the plane. Still nervous though 2 years ago
My return flight last week was SO great. My anxiety got worse on the day of the flight, but this was a huge improvement on my previous anxiety that would start days/weeks before a trip.
We even had quite a bit of turbulence on the flight, which a few months ago would have made me absolutely frantic. To start with, I was anxious but I kept reminding myself of everything I had learned about turbulence and by the end of the flight I was just sitting loosely in my chair, allowing myself to be swayed by any turbulence. I realized what a big difference it really makes keeping all your muscles from tensing up and making the anxiety worst.
I also only took two 10mg diazepam, which was less than on the first flight.
I am just so glad I decided to tackle this and go on my trip because my fear has subsided drastically. I feel like I still have some work to do but I am actually looking forward now to planning a new trip and hopefully completely getting over this fear. 2 years ago
I’m finally going back home on Wednesday – I know, it’s been a really long vacation! – and I can feel the anxiety starting up again. I am happy to say, though, that it is noticeably less than my anxiety a few days before my last flight. No constant dread, no tantrums, not even any reassurance seeking thus far.
I am going to re-read the most helpful bits of the book tomorrow and practice the breathing exercises.
I am also not quite ready to give up on the Diazepam. Though last time it had little to no effect on me, I feel like what I need are more positive flying experiences to counteract all the flights I’ve gotten upset on. So if it helps to even slightly take the edge off (even if just as a placebo), I think it will help to foster a positive association. And hopefully on future flights, I won’t even want it.
I’m not looking forward to my flight but I want to tackle this head on bravely, so I can have lots more great advetures in the future! 2 years ago
I’ve been in Miami almost a week and wanted to update on my trip…
First things first: the best thing I did was not avoid the situation. Avoidance always makes it worse… I’m not saying I love flying now but just going through with my trip has made me feel so much better and confident about it.
The book I posted about last time was a huge help, I don’t think I could have even taken the trip had I not read it.
We experienced light turbulence, but I was able to stop my intrusive, negative thoughts (ie- turbulence = imminent death). hah. The scariest part was when we got to Miami, we couldn’t land because of a thunder storm and they had to redirect us all the way to Orlando because we needed more fuel! So I actually ended up going on two flights for the price of one. At the time I was upset, but in retrospect it was great exposure.
1. I spoke to the lovely flight attendants before taking off and they were SO supportive. They said that they could even sit with me if I got very upset- it didn’t come to that, but they did check up on me throughout the 9 hours. (BTW, this was w/Virgin Atlantic, but hopefully all companies should be this nice and supportive.)
2. Aside from CBT-based methods… I did take diazepam. But honestly, I took THREE + a glass of wine on the flight and they had no effect on me! They may have taken the edge off, but if they did it was imperceptible. I found medication reassuring but not the biggest contributor to being calm.
I wouldn’t say that this goal is complete already… but coming on this trip and learning so much has been a big step. I can actually see this goal being completed relatively soon, which is a great feeling! 3 years ago