I keep telling myself that six weeks today we'll have already landed and will probably be at the villa by now, but thinking about the flight is starting to play on my mind when I'm not busy and I'm concerned that starting to get preoccupied at this stage isn't good. I think the problem is that I haven't flown for three years and so some of the coping strategies I'd put into place have gone by the wayside. The Air France issue raising its head has shaken me up a bit. I keep thinking about them knowing for 3 minutes that the plane was going down and find myself again and again returning to what it would be like to be in that position. I'm scared of being that scared: far more scared of this than the actual experience of flying which I - rather bizarrely - enjoy and would probably love if I could just get these fatalistic ideas out of my head. I tell myself that I watched my Dad waste away with cancer for 9 months and that was a far worse way to go, but I can't stay that rational and can feel my anxiety level raise now so I'm worried what I'll feel like the morning before. My cousin's a fearful flyer and he once refused to get on a plane and I'm worried that I'll get so worked up that I'll do the same and because there are 7 of us going I'll spoil it all for everyone. Up to my last flight I felt I'd made so much progress but I'm really worried I'll be back at square one. I can't really talk to anyone here as my husband - who is not a nervous flyer - says I just make him anxious when I start and the last thing I need is two of us worked up. I guess I could just do with some idea of where to start again to start building my confidence and to be reminded other people are out there who also feel like me and are getting there and back safely. I try and tell myself that the experience of flying will be the same for everyone on that plane with me and that the only difference is that I'll make it 9.5 hours of torture and they won't, so why can't  my subconcious accept that?

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Great to know you're out there supporting me! I'm feeling a bit less anxious again today and am able to have that dialogue with myself when I have an anxious thought. I've been watching the Thomson flights on the airport websites going into Sanford this week and tracking them, which has been really interesting. Still not fetched the valium. Just looking out of the window now and can see the lights of a plane flashing and feel OKish imagining myself in the cabin. At the moment I'm contending with a bit of a sense of what I think is a fear of claustrophobia. I used to have nightmares about small spaces as a child and I think I keep casting the plane as a metal tube I'm trapped in rather than a sophisticated feat of engineering. Isn't it strange how just calling a plane something else makes you feel differently about it?! Also, I feel like I've learned enough from the book and the site to understand the Science but still can't get past that primitive instinct that flight is some sort of magic mumbo jumbo to fear. I was talking to a Physics teacher who is also afraid of flying and she says she feels the same yet she understands the Science in real depth. It's so strange that perfectly rational human beings are so easily over-whelmed by these almost caveman-like superstitions, yet bizarre that at the same time I find flight, planes and airports really fascinating. Sometimes I feel like that break-through is within my grasp and that I'm on the verge of my subconscious accepting that flying is OK but then I have a wobble and the adrenaline kicks in and I'm back to that irrational state. Fingers crossed for a rational day tomorrow!

Hey Julie, the paragraph below I wrote on another thread... I have copied it here just in case it's helpful for you.

 

Also, Planes are made to fly. When an airplane is going fast enough on the runway, and the pilot raises the nose, THE PLANE WILL FLY. It CANNOT do anything else. It's the shape of the wing, and the laws of physics. If you get a chance, do the experiment of the spoon in water.. I'm not sure if it's mentioned in Keith's book but it on his CD and DVD. Turn a tap on, and dangle a spoon near it with the back of the spoon facing the water. Move the spoon closer to the water. You would THINK that the water would hit the back of the spoon and push it away. But it doesn't - it actually sucks the spoon into the water flow. In the same way, the airflow over the curved top of a wing sucks the plane up into the air. I heard it described but when I actually TRIED IT MYSELF recently I was greatly reassured - seeing is believing for me in this instance. That image of the spoon being sucked into the water is one I have stored in my mind to bring out when I'm flying at 40,000ft and those "why does this plane stay up" thoughts emerge.

hi my name is kim and i fly next week to minorca, reading this makes me feel not alone in my anxiety i will be the one pacing at the airport and going to the toliet far too many times to be normal! i am hoping i sit nxt to a really noisy child or baby so i am distracted that will help im sure, i would love to enjoy the whole of my holiday but at the moment that just doesnt happen i wish u a good flight to orlanda my son has jst come back from a month in america flying back from LA 10hrs on a plane! he loved it so my irrational thoughts have not passed over to him thank goodness, i want to conquer this and maybe one day i will, this site certainly helps a great deal.
  • Going to go into the kitchen and try the spoon thing in a min! Was feeling pretty good about the flight this morning. Still not resorted to valium and it's not preoccupying me too much. There are three Thomson flights a week from Manchester and we're now in the position that the next one to go now is ours, which is quite a sobering fault. Have been flight tracking them across the atlantic and seeing the solid line on a map from one place to the other really helps. Feeling a bit more fractious at the moment, but I think it's a knock on from hearing that my sister-in-law (who is travelling with us) had to have her dog put to sleep today. He was a gorgeous boy and that makes me feel really precious and protective about my dogs, which then makes me anxious about their welfare which then makes me worry about flying because I don't have family members who could look after them if there was an accident. I don't think I realised how much of this insecurity is not to do with fears for yourself but fears for those others you love. When do you fly, Kim? The toilet thing sounds very familiar! I have this circuit of toilet trips, bag checks, passport checks, walk round the duty free, sit for a short while, toilet trips etc. Going to have a cup of tea now and watch an episode of a favourite programme before I go to bed. I'm trying to post every day between now and the flight so I can get my feelings out on paper. Really love getting the messages of support - feel I'm not facing this on my own. Thanks.

Well you can rely on me to spoil the party. What will happen to the dogs if you have an accident in the car...which is far more likely to happen.

These thoughts and ideas are natural and normal but, they do not help you ...so stop thinking them. What about the grief that other people will suffer if anything ever happened to you if you slipped down the stairs...which is far more likely to happen.

Remember too that while you're thinking about the 'next' Thompson flight...the crew that will be flying you are going to watch the F1 Grand Prix tomorrow then go to Tescos for the weekly shopping and not even think about your flight until they go to bed the evening before. And they'll be planning when to take the car to the garage for its MOT when they get back home because they need to drive to the in-laws ...Flying is normal routine stuff to those of us in the business...try to think of it like that and you won't  get so focussed on your flight as being special.

 

Keith

Thinking about how routine flying is to those who do it really helps. I was thinking about this earlier today watching one of my favourite TV programmes. The central character was taking his 18 year old daughter to the airport where she was flying to meet her mother and it was all so routine. It occurred to me yesterday that part of the issue might be that the fear goes hand in hand with the excitement of going on holiday. Because I build up to the holiday so excitedly, the flying gets exaggerated as a result. My mother-in-law told her sister (who is flying with us and is a bit anxious) that take-off is her favourite part. That gives things a new perspective. She's loving that moment but I'm treating it like some sort of great drama. What's the difference between our experiences? Absolutely nothing except the fear I overlay onto it. When I read Keith's comment, it really hit me that my flight isn't special, which makes me feel really good. I'd been thinking of it like some sort of ready-brek flight with its own special glow around it! I've come to the logical conclusion that I am not scared of flying. In fact, I actually quite like the whole flying thing. I don't feel sick on planes like I do on trains or coaches and I love the thought of where I'm going. The issue is to do with my perception of risk which has always been irrational, even as a child. I was the first kid to refuse to do handstands at about the age of 6 because I worked out that I could fall on my head! Though that sounds trite, perhaps being able to acknowledge that I have a natural propensity to find risk will help me to understand my fear and to work through it.

 Hi Julie

 

I understand you very well ...I was,  and still am amazingly risk averse. My children have grown up with checking fire escapes, having evacuation plans from buildings, wearing protective clothing, wearing eye protection goggles, checking life jackets ...poor things.

BUT I'd sooner them realise there is risk in life AND that you can minimise its effects by being prepared than do the sorts of daft things that some people do.

My wife and I have an agreement that if we're in a store and the fire alarm sounds then we each leave the building from wherever we are and meet outside...no phone calls , no wondering what to do...each outside to meet when we're safe. Simple to agree simple to do...no thinking time involved...just execution of a plan.

 

Is that making life into a drama or more risky? I don't think so. So risk awareness is beneficial in my opinion.

When we stop doing things that are normal to the human race in general then we need to re-assess. Right now I am at risk... about 8 years ago I promised my wife that I'd paint  to paint a garden seat ...this week end I said...this week end.  If she catches me here I may never be back! Now that's what I call taking a risk.

 

Keith

 

Just had a real wobble and a panic attack. I don't think it's just the flying, but another pressure on top of it. In a couple of hours I have to play the piano in public, which I hate doing because I'm rubbish at it, and I think it just worked me up into a ridiculous state and on top of that the episode of "Only Fools and Horses" my husband has on is all about airports! I'm just starting to calm down a bit but the adrenaline is coursing through my body like a tidal wave. I hate feeling this way because it makes me so physically uncomfortable. Is there anything people can recommend for calming yourself in the moment? I really don't want to go for the valium if I don't have to.
Hi julie u think so like me and i get so worked up before hand, im worryin about the weatherknow because its says severe thunderstorms in europe this week, i fly on Friday 6am from Birmingham and am tryin hard to think about the holiday and the beach and the food but jst got to get there first,! i will post to you when i get back it might help i am deffintely going on the course with captain keith if i dont do well with this flight its on my xmas list, i will do anything to try and enjoy ALL of my holiday, yes this site does help so much.

Julie Betts-nicholson said:
Just had a real wobble and a panic attack. I don't think it's just the flying, but another pressure on top of it. In a couple of hours I have to play the piano in public, which I hate doing because I'm rubbish at it, and I think it just worked me up into a ridiculous state and on top of that the episode of "Only Fools and Horses" my husband has on is all about airports! I'm just starting to calm down a bit but the adrenaline is coursing through my body like a tidal wave. I hate feeling this way because it makes me so physically uncomfortable. Is there anything people can recommend for calming yourself in the moment? I really don't want to go for the valium if I don't have to.

Kim

Sorry and pleased to say that in pilot speak there's no such thing as a severe thunderstorm...we treat them all the same and avoid them by 20 miles. You'll enjoy the course...that's a promise.

Keith

Feeling calmer than before but still got that ball of adrenalin spinning in the centre of my chest and I don't know how to stop it. Don't know if it feels this way to anyone else. My mind is reasonably calm and I am able to stay fairly rational at the moment. I'm at the stage where I just want to get it over with now, because the anticipation is quite physically uncomfortable. Bizarrely, the piano playing went really well and I wasn't nervous at all when it came to it, so I'm hoping that I'll get to that stage with the flight as well. I wish I could put my finger on what's really bothering me about the flight, but I can't pick any one thing out at the moment. I'm not panic stricken but I can feel that my body is preparing itself for some sort of threat and - though I know logically there's no reason - I can't convince it to shut off that response.

It's now 11.20pm and we fly at 9.15am. Had an OK day with a couple of wobbles and some really positive thoughts. At the moment, caught in the "don't be silly, of course it's safe" then "but it happens to someone somewhere, so it might happen to me" syndrome, but trying to rationalise myself out of it. Had some herbal remedies to take the edge off, but managed to avoid the valium which is a real step forward. The ball of adrenaline is still there, but it's not spinning so fast. Keep promising myself I won't get anxious unless the crew get anxious and I'm holding on to that at the moment.

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