Fear of flying...
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09-11-2015, 11:50 AM
Fear of flying...
My family is planning a 7 day cruise trip to the Bahamas sometime next year. We've gone before, and aside from coming home looking like a lobster, it was very fun. We did a lot of outdoor excursions; kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, jet skiinig, hiking, exploring, screaming in terror while riding a bus weaving in and out of some of the craziest traffic I've seen (seriously don't understand how they do it down there), you name it. It was great. While I have my disagreements concerning religion with my family, and I'm the only open atheist within it, we still enjoy a wonderful relationship. I try to take every chance I get to spend time with my family, especially if we're going on an 'adventure' together.

But for me, there's a huge problem. I might have to fly home, alone.

The last time we'd gone on a cruise trip, I had to go on a three hour flight home, alone. It was the first time I'd ever done that.

I'm terrified of flying. Despite having flown dozens of times in my life (especially when living in Alaska where flying was one of the only modes of transportation), I can't bring myself to enjoy it anymore.

I used to love flying. Taking off was my favorite part as a kid. Flying over the cloud tops was my 2nd favorite.

But my last flight, after the cruise trip, was 3 hours full of terror. Of course, it was a completely normal flight. No turbulence at all. Probably the smoothest flight I've ever been on.

Yet, I spent the whole time gripping the armrests, eyes wide, heart racing. In my mind, at any second the plane could either explode, suddenly start diving, fall apart, etc.

I started hyperventilating as soon as the ground 'fell away' and was replaced with nothing but air when we took off. The sensation I used to love most in a flight petrified me. It took 5mg of Xanax to calm me down enough to whip out my iPad so I could listen to some music. Of course, when I saw there was a '$9 an hour for internet' option, I immediately bought it and started watching plane crash videos. I have no idea WTF is wrong with me.

3 hours later, we landed safely. I practically had to peel myself out of the seat, I'd sweated so much. I was exhausted and almost forgot my baggage. I think I grew a gray hair or two, and I was 19!

I swore up and down that day to never fly again.

This is what I may face next year. I might even forgo the whole cruise trip JUST because of how much flying terrifies me. With work and school, my only option to return home may well be flying, and if that's the case, I might just stay home. My anxiety is bad enough with nothing to trigger it. If I can help it, I want to avoid any and all triggers.

Any advice? Even though it's still about a year away I'm already fretting over it.

Ignorance is not to be ignored.

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09-11-2015, 11:59 AM
RE: Fear of flying...
I'm not someone who loves flying either. It's not a heights thing for me because I love being high up in various situations and would totally go skydiving. For me it's a control thing. I don't like that I don't know who is flying the plane, if they've been drinking, if they've had enough sleep, if they have mental issues, if they aren't experienced etc. I would be fine if I was flying the plane Wink

I still fly though because I like traveling and going places. I try and focus on that during the flight. I bring books on the places I am going and read those on the way. I try and bring things to do that interest me and divert my attention away from the flight itself. I also use some relaxation techniques I learned in yoga. And getting a drink or two doesn't hurt either Wink

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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09-11-2015, 12:05 PM
RE: Fear of flying...
Take an introductory flight in a small aircraft. Or, work on getting your pilot's license.

....

My dad was a commercial pilot - and some of my earliest memories are of flying in light aircraft.
...
To me - riding commercial is like taking a bus. I fall asleep out of boredom....

.......................................

The difference between prayer and masturbation - is when a guy is through masturbating - he has something to show for his efforts.
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09-11-2015, 12:14 PM
RE: Fear of flying...
Ask the doc to prescribe you some anti anxiety medicine our sleeping pills.

I don't really like going outside.
It's too damn "peopley" out there....
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09-11-2015, 12:15 PM
RE: Fear of flying...
I hate flying as well except I have never liked it. I go to china a couple if times a year. Now keep in mind that is 15 hours from Newark to Shanghai plus two more 2 hour connecting flights. I am wound up from wheels-up to landing. How do I get through it? The same way you did. I love the show "Air Disasters" on the Smithsonian channel and I love to learn about the physics of flight, how to fly, and the accidents that occur. Why? It makes me far more at ease knowing how it works and how the plane stays up. Education for me is the best way to face this fear.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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09-11-2015, 12:36 PM
RE: Fear of flying...
I love to fly and I was a pilot until my health got so bad that I couldn't bribe a flight surgeon to pass me on the physical. I have had some rough experiences in airplanes too and I walked away from a helicopter crash in the Army. However, flying is still the safest way to travel. But, I know, people can tell you that all day and it doesn't make the fear go away. [I feel that way about my chain saws. Every time I survive cutting down and cutting up a tree with one, I feel as if I have been dancing with the grim reaper. I have several trees just waiting for me. My wife says I should hire Victor, my yard man, to do it. Fuck that. This is a fear I need to beat.] In any event, the only way I know of to beat the fear is to walk into it and take the flight. You might even go to your local airport and take a couple flying lessons. You will quickly learn that the most dangerous part of the flying is the drive to and from the airport even if the three stooges are flying the plane.
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09-11-2015, 12:39 PM
RE: Fear of flying...
(09-11-2015 12:14 PM)Lightvader Wrote:  Ask the doc to prescribe you some anti anxiety medicine our sleeping pills.

My brother teaches at a big deal medical school and he does something no doctor would ever allow a patient to do. He flies all over the world regularly and he can't beat his fear of flying so he takes two Valium and washes it down with a couple shots of whiskey.
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09-11-2015, 12:42 PM
RE: Fear of flying...
(09-11-2015 12:15 PM)The Organic Chemist Wrote:  I hate flying as well except I have never liked it. I go to china a couple if times a year. Now keep in mind that is 15 hours from Newark to Shanghai plus two more 2 hour connecting flights. I am wound up from wheels-up to landing. How do I get through it? The same way you did. I love the show "Air Disasters" on the Smithsonian channel and I love to learn about the physics of flight, how to fly, and the accidents that occur. Why? It makes me far more at ease knowing how it works and how the plane stays up. Education for me is the best way to face this fear.

While I know that I'm more likely to be harmed in a car accident than to be struck by lightning, I still am more afraid of the lightning.

And while I know there are no monsters and stuff, I'm still somewhat jumpy after a horror movie

I don't really like going outside.
It's too damn "peopley" out there....
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09-11-2015, 01:11 PM
RE: Fear of flying...
Only way I can get my wife into a plane is with benzodiazepines. She can still get scared during flights, but it takes the edge off. There was the time she took enough of them to knock out a small brontosaurus and did a face plant on to the hotel room bed, but now she can get away with 1 mg, maybe 2 for longer flights.
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09-11-2015, 01:36 PM
RE: Fear of flying...
I'd suggest you talk to a professional about this. Something switched in your head and you may be able to turn it back.
As a pilot I have had to deal with this with passengers. It's not rational, and drugs just mask the bad feelings.
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