I’m Afraid of Flying

You want to know what causes me the most anxiety (and I’m honestly a bit embarrassed to admit) is…

Flying.

My mind starts racing on the drive to the airport, my heart starts pounding while waiting to board, and then I get super antsy while on the plane (takeoff is the worst!).

The last time I was on a plane was almost three years ago to Mexico for our honeymoon, which I sat white knuckled the entire way from Denver to Cancun.  I actually did well so maybe I’m getting better at flying?

I can’t pinpoint any exact moment that I began to fear flying since I loved it when I was a kid.  We didn’t fly often and maybe that was why?  In high school I flew to England and did okay with the help of some anti-anxiety medication to help me relax…which wore off by the second commuter flight to Scotland.  That of course led to me slightly panicking when we hit turbulence.

Then there was a commuter flight from Central Texas to Dallas (a super tiny plane, two seats on one side and one seat on the other).  I was already stressed enough and I was flying with my boyfriend at the time.  I had the window seat and could view the fluffy clouds all around.  All of the sudden (and I mean quickly!) those clouds turned dark gray and I realized it was a storm that we were flying into.  We were warned that there would be turbulence and there was…major turbulence.  I remember feeling like I was on a roller coaster since we would drop to the point that my stomach was in my throat.  That’s when I had my freakout about wanting to get off the plane, I’m sure I sounded crazy.  But it also didn’t help that my boyfriend (he is not my husband) was laughing at me in front of everyone on the plane rather than trying to help me calm down (lol, a reason why he wasn’t a boyfriend much longer after this incident).

My husband thinks this whole fear is silly…I mean, he’s in the Air Force so I guess being afraid of planes while being a part of the Air Force would be kind of contradictory, right?!  And he’s given me the whole talk of flying is way safer than driving.

I get it.

And I hate that I’m afraid of flying.

It’s so easy for the majority of the population and I wish it was that easy for me!

It impacts a lot of things and I miss out on a lot of things since I won’t fly.  We get less time visiting family cause we drive everywhere due to me not wanting to fly, I’ve missed out on blog opportunities because my fear won’t allow me to participate, and I’m afraid of getting getting orders overseas for the Air Force because I seriously think I would have to be medicated in order to accomplish an eight hour flight.

I’m hoping in the near future that I can get over this cause I honestly feel super silly.  No grown woman should be afraid of flying!  Ugh.

Are you afraid of flying or do you have any tips that might help me out?  Or are you afraid of something that might be silly to others?

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Comments

  1. I completely understand where you’re coming from. I am semi-afraid of flying for a few reasons, but the biggest for me is claustrophobia. I hate the thought of being stuck in a small space up in the air for hours! I too loved flying as a kid (probably because we weren’t aware of all the ‘dangers’ of it!) but became more afraid as I go older.

    I’m not to the point of not going places because of my fear, but before I get on a plane, i go to this website: http://www.fearofflyinghelp.com/ It’s helped me out a lot and it really helps with the anxiety. Something else you might want to consider is a worry stone or some sort of fidget device, like a Tangle jr. It sounds funny, but when your hands are fidgeting with something, it really does help calm your nerves and channel your anxiety into something else. Good luck!!

  2. I love flying! I think it’s so fun (unless its a 10
    Hr flight with a 10 month old)… But I can completely understand the fear! I’ve been on flights that have been kind of scary before.

  3. Oh honey I relate so much and I have so much to say!!! This is my story all the way… I would avoid flying to the point of driving 26 hours from Los Angeles to Houston every year so that I wouldn’t have to get on a plane.. What finally helped me was 2 things.. Realizing I didn’t want to hold my daughter back (and having to take care of a toddler on the plane is a great distraction) and doing meditative yoga for a few weeks before flying. After avoiding it for a few years I jump started flying again with a short flight – just me and my daughter – to visit friends in Seattle- on a really fun airline (Virgin America). They have tvs at each seat which is an amazing distraction.. The planes are all new which helps calm my fear (before I always flew southwest and I hate their planes they feel so old and full of potential technical problems). Also on the tv you can see a map and it shows where the plane is and the altitude.. That helps with my control issues.. Lol .. That was last year and we just flew again a few weeks ago and I insisted in that same airline again. Next I will work my way up to other airlines but it takes time ..

    • Takeoff is the worst for me too and I do this weird breathing technique they taught us in yoga and it helps a lot!

  4. Honestly I was amazed at how much calmer I was just having my daughter.. I had to be strong for her and I was surprised at my ability to step up to the situation and relax.. Feel free to email me if you want to talk more!! I am so happy that now we can finally go to Hawaii this summer and I know I can do it (still nervous, still being a control freak about which seats, and still breathing funny at takeoff but we can do it!! Lol)

  5. Have seen this and it made me think of you. It’s kind of hilarious, but please don’t watch if you doubt it’s gonna make you feel even worse…

    http://uk.screen.yahoo.com/11-secrets-pilots-don-39-023301301.html

    Btw, it gets better the more you fly, when I’m connecting flights, 1st one is always more scary than the second. If you have your child with you, you concentrate on it, so there’s no time for fear :)

  6. I am with you on the fear of flying. I actually love airports but hate flying – what’s up with that? I had to fly a bunch last year and actually checked on this website for some help before: http://www.fearofflyinghelp.com/. I know it might sound ridiculous but it was really helpful. My other piece of advice is listen to air traffic control! Maybe that also sounds ridiculous, but when I listen to the air traffic controllers and the pilots and how calm and knowledgeable they sound, it helps me realize that those are the people who are flying the planes I’m in, and they all have it under control. You can find your local airport (or any airport you’re interested in listening to) at http://www.liveatc.net/. Hope that helps! :)

  7. One thing that helped me was the fact that I got used to it as a kid and we had a really bad flight to the Bahamas when I was about 13 which kind of immunized me so that any future turbulence was nothing compared to what I had experienced on the Bahamas flight, At 13 you really aren’t afraid of things so much as you trust others to take care of you (the pilot). So in later years my body and mind were used to the bumping around you get on normal flights and if things get worse, I also seem to have a subconscious memory that registers it as “Oh, I’ve felt that before, so it’s ok”. Point being, if you avoid flying, Mabel won’t be able to develop that tolerance for her own future flying as an adult.

    Lastly, anti-anxiety drugs really don’t help much, but the one drug that helps 100% is a blood pressure drug called Tenormin (atenolol). It slows your heart rate so you stop the circle of panic that happens when your heart starts to race. I will go from nervous fidgeting to fully calm after I take the Tenormin. It’s a beta blocker and it’s a miracle. I don’t find the generic works very well, so I always take the Tenormin brand. try it out ahead to see how you do with it – you will be amazed how much better it is than Xanax or other benzos, and it works fast – like in 15-20 min.

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