July 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm #35047
Guys, I am a terrified flier and will be boarding my first airplane in almost four years in just over a week. I am convinced that the airplanes that will be taking me from the mitten state to Cancun are doomed.
It’s not that I haven’t flown much — I’ve actually flown quite a bit, even with really shady-sounding companies (Yeti Airlines, anyone?). I’ve always been panicked about flights, and not even the mere fact that I’m still around has ever been able to convince me that I’m NOT boarding an aircraft destined for engine failure the second I step aboard. It’s not that I don’t know the statistics. I do. I know I am more likely to win the lottery, or even die at the hands of my furniture, than in any sort of horrific plane crash.
And yet I’m still terrified. I’ve actually avoided flying for the past few years (going so far as to avoid visiting my sister if I can’t drive) because of this problem. I know it’s irrational, but I just can’t shake this particular fear of mine.July 26, 2012 at 6:18 pm #35049
Can you talk to your doctor about maybe prescribing some anti-anxiety meds? I don’t know a lot about them, but I would assume they would at least help some.July 26, 2012 at 6:24 pm #35051
what Rachel said. go see your doc, and see what they could prescribe for the flight(s). this is pretty common, and i’m betting your doc has either done this or heard of it.July 26, 2012 at 8:29 pm #35063
yep. either get some meds (maybe a mild sedative?), which is common for people to get, so dont feel weird about it… or, try some like meditation techniques or breathing exercises..July 26, 2012 at 9:14 pm #35065
Isn’t that why the airline sells the little tiny bottles of booze and the airport has a bar? Flying makes me a little nervous too and that’s the route I usually take. I’m not talking about getting wasted, just a cocktail or a couple glasses of wine to take the edge off. I’m not really into pills. I know a lot of people who started taking pills for something or other and never stopped.July 26, 2012 at 9:28 pm #35066
Let me introduce you to my friend Xanax. We literally had to roufie my father in law before flying to our wedding in Costa Rica. Like Xanax and booze. That man is out of control with his fear of flying. Like he will sweat through his shirt and pace the whole time. We are planning on going to Florida for a family vacay (yippee) this winter and he wants to spend two days driving there and back while we all fly. Crazy.July 26, 2012 at 10:59 pm #35069
xanaxxxxxJuly 27, 2012 at 12:50 am #35073
Be sure to go to either Tulum of Chichen Izta to see some Mayan ruins. They are STUNNING.
Planes are VERY safe. The odds of you dying driving to see your sister are like hundreds of times higher!!July 27, 2012 at 6:37 am #35081
Take a xanaxx a few hours before your flight, and then another when you board. That will make a huge difference. Just call your doc and ask for 5-6 of them because you are flying and scared. My fear ended when i passed a horrible car accident on my way to the airport during morning rush hour. It was on opposite side of the interstate and that side was shut down. There was a person in one lane completely covered in a sheet, obviously dead. I remember thinking that person was dead just going to work in a car like he had probably done hundreds of times before and never once probably got in his car thinking he could die on his commute. I never worried flying again. But for years the xanaxx 3 hours out and once I boarded made a huge difference.July 27, 2012 at 9:03 am #35086
I also have horrible flying anxiety. To the point where in the weeks after a flight I was feeling the physical syptoms of anxiety. It was awful.
After that I decided it was time to get medicated. I take ativan now, and it’s amazing. I have a very small perscription (15 pills), and I have to see my Dr to get it refilled. I was scared of taking something like that because you hear a lot of stories about people getting addicted to it or whatever. Anyway, I take one pill right before I go through security and another on the flight if I’m still freaking out, and I’m generally ok.
When I first got it, I took one pill at home just to see what would happen. I was knocked out within 20 minutes. But when I take the pills when I’m actually experiencing anxiety they don’t make me sleep at all- they just make me almost normal.
I HIGHLY reccomend going to see your doctor. My primary care dr was able to write the perscription for me.
Also, I have a mantra that I repeat “Turbulance is uncomfortable, that is not the same as dangerous” I learned that on fearofflying.com or something and that helps, too.July 27, 2012 at 9:05 am #35088
I don’t know if you’re this way, but for me, the worst parts are getting through takeoff and landing (mostly takeoff. Going up is terrifying!). Anyway, I’ve never resorted to medication, but I do practice deep breathing and stuff. I’ve been reading about anxiety, and it’s almost completely impossible to be anxious (in the heart-pounding terror sense) when you force yourself out of the panic mode and into a deep-breathing mode.
So, what I do: plug my ears (to eliminate some of the scary sounds), close my eyes and hunch over (I’m sure I look like a freak, but I just choose to believe that people think my ears are hurting) and then breath. Inhale for 3 or 4 seconds, hold it, and then exhale for the same. Deep inhales, deep exhales. I keep doing this until we are past the scary point and things level out a bit. Then I can relax.
If you’re scared for the entire plane ride, or if the fears keep coming back, you can always resort to deep breath mode whenever you need it.July 27, 2012 at 10:17 am #35113
I usually have a drink or two in the airport to kill time and then fall asleep almost immediately once I get on. I would definitely second going to a doctor and getting a one time prescription.
Another strange this that has always helped me is getting there early enough I can scope out the gate, make sure all my bags are checked, tickets are in line, etc and locate the bathroom. I have a very strange like requirement that I use the bathroom immediately before I board the plane. So I guess what I’m saying is super plan out your travel to the airport to ensure you have enough time to not be too rushed getting into the airport. Being overly stressed out before you’re even stressed about flying will only make it worse!July 27, 2012 at 10:36 am #35118
Oh, one last thing I learned from Captai Keith at flyingwithoutfear.com, is that you should try to meet the pilot if possible. I did this on one of my flights last year and it was awesome! When I got on the plane he was standing at the front, so I said “Hello, please do a good job!” and he started talking to me, and then let me sit in the cockpit. Seriously! It was really cool. We talked to him for a few minutes and it helped to put me at ease.
Here’s a video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buerqejjWmc&feature=plcpJuly 27, 2012 at 10:12 pm #35192
That’s a great idea Bethany!
I don’t really have a fear of flying, but I do understand where you are coming from about the anxiety that you can’t really place. I think for the meantime getting a small amount of anti anxiety medication can help (Ativan ftw!), and to practice some deep breathing.
Maybe try to frame the flight in a different way? Use the time to read some good books, listen to calming music, put on those awesome socks that make your feet soft, put on some eye cream/ serum, get some tea, etc.
I hope that helps.July 28, 2012 at 12:12 am #35200
I don’t get flying anxiety, but I got a little overexcited at your post because 1. I’m from the mitten state too! and 2. I really enjoy flying.
Seriously, in the past 9 months I’ve taken 3 trips to England (and back). The only time I was able to sleep on the flights (which were all overnight) was during some serious turbulence. I actually find it… soothing. It reminds me of being younger and being bounced on someone’s knee or almost like being rocked to sleep. I also tend to find people’s reactions to suddenly dropping 5 feet to be absolutely hilarious.
If you don’t already hate me enough for that, my dad and I usually discuss what model planes I’ll be flying on, and their features and drawbacks. One trip I was looking up plane crashes of a particular model an hour before I was going to be getting on it. (Turns out, it’s not a very good model, as far as aircraft go, but it has had VERY, VERY FEW crashes, nevertheless.) Needless to say, my mom was sticking her fingers in her ears going “La la la, can’t hear this! Stop looking that up! Stop talking!”
I was anxious for other reasons on the flights though. My biggest tips are to have something to look forward to ON the flight, not just after the flight. Get a book that you’re dying to read, and don’t let yourself so much as peek at it until you get on the plane.
-If there is turbulence, look at other people’s faces (if it doesn’t freak you out too much), and try not to laugh out loud at how overly dramatic some expressions are.
-Talk to the people around you.
-Bring cards and play a card game with someone next to you, it’s actually pretty distracting for a lot of people. Kids are especially great to play games with, because they will often keep on chattering and not give you a chance to be worried.
-Remember that you are exceptionally safe in an aircraft.
-Inform the steward/stewardess that you’re nervous. They know all the things to reassure people, and they might just cater to you a little more, and they’ll usually check up on you. I have seen even the truly bitchy ones work really hard to put uncomfortable people at ease.
-If you have something you keep around for comfort (maybe a beloved pillow, or even your favorite small stuffed animal), bring it with. Keep it in your bag if you feel awkward. Pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals are super handy to have, because you’ll often want something to rest your head on or tuck behind your back if you’re on the plane for a while. It’s amazing how much more at ease it will put you to have your own cuddly thing that smells like home, versus one of the often weird smelling blankets they have.
I don’t have much experience with using medications for flying, but if it’s that bad for you, I would definitely discuss it with your doctor. It may be the way to go. If you don’t get meds, maybe just a favorite cocktail or two (no more! Drunk flying is BAD) beforehand might be enough to put you a little more at ease.
I ramble. I’m sorry. Good luck on your flight!
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