Hi everyone.
I'm new here and came across this site as I am flying from the UK to the US on my own in just under 2 weeks.
I've been afraid of flying for years. I refuse to let it stop me from going places, but I do spend the day before a flight working myself into a panic, and have actually sat and sobbed during turbulence!!

I flew back from the US in June with my Mum & my 2 year old daughter and we took off through heavy clouds and rain. It was a real bumpy take off. When we reached our cruising altitude, the pilot came over the PA system to say that it could be a bumpy journey, but they wanted to reassure any nervous flyers that we'd passed the worst of it. I then spent the rest of the flight absolutely terrified that we would hit more turbulence, even refusing to get up to go to the toilet unless my Mum came and stood outside. I'm 32 years old so normally that would embarrass the hell out of me.

Obviously, as I'm flying alone this time there's not going to be anyone to escort me to the toilet so I'm looking for tips to calm my nerves!

I think it's worth mentioning that as a child/teenager, I loved flying. Especially take off. I loved feeling the engines roar and that feeling you get as first the front wheels, then the back lift off. And I loved landing too. Turbulence never bothered me, the flight itself was actually quite boring!
But for some reason that changed. And now everything terrifies me.

Thanks in advance

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HI Coryn,

Is it mainly the turbulence you don't like? 

I'm not a fan either, but I just talk to myself (not aloud, although that would provide some entertainment for the people next to me) - reminding myself it's safe etc. It sounds really odd, but I imagine myself on a river, riding a leaf. From the start of the flight if I am worried, i close my eyes and think of this leaf - every little detail such as it's nice and green and I can see all the tiny minute details and describe them in my mind. When it gets a bit bumpier I think oh no, didn't see that wave, thank goodness my leaf is sturdy (leaf might be the plane here). I can't control the river, but I can (in my mind) control the leaf.

It does sound a bit odd writing it out, but in practice it's actually a good strategy that worked for me.

I am not a good flyer, and like you I used to enjoy it. Nothing bad happened, I think it was just things in my life that I realized I had and didn't' want to lose (e.g. new husband), and in your case it may be because you have a daughter.

Strangely enough I fly much better on my own. As I don't have anyone to grab onto to if I get scared I use the above technique to calm myself. I often talk to the people next to me and tell them I am a bit nervous and everyone has been very understanding and have kept me talking to help keep my mind at ease.

Just remember nothing has changed since you loved flying to now - it's still just as safe (if not safer) - the only difference now is that you are thinking about it from a different perspective.

I'll be thinking of you on your flight, and know that it will go smoothly. 

Debbie

Hi Debbie.

Thanks for the reply.
It is mainly turbulence i don't like. I also think its the feeling of not being able to see the person thats in control, and that if something does go wrong (however unlikely that is), theres nothing i could do about it.

Ive often likened it to being in a car with a driver that i can see is not paying attention. I have the option to ask them to stop the car so that i can get out. Or at least tell them to keep their eyes on the road. Obviously getting out is not an option at 37,000 feet!

One of my friends has said that she thinks I'll be better on my own as there's no-one there to voice my fears to so i have to just deal with them.

As I've said, I refuse to let my fear win, i enjoy my holidays abroad, and couldn't imagine giving that up. It would just be easier if I could find some coping mechanisms to help along the way.

My other problem is that I'm worried that the flight out there will be so difficult for me, that i'll spend the whole week worrying about the return flight!

I'll let you know how i get on!

Hi Coryn,

Good on you, it is about the coping mechanisms and I think you will find something that will work. A few of the discussions on here have really helped me and it put my mind at ease on my flights.

The return flight will be fine too - I know what you mean, but don't let it worry you on your holiday!

On the return flight you will be better prepared for it (as you have just done the fight on your own there) and you will have more confidence going on it on your own.

I agree with your friend - it will be easier because there is no one to voice your fears to - so even if you talk to your neighbour, you wouldn't be able to do things like ask them to stand outside the bathroom with you so you will learn to deal with your fears on your own (trust me, it's such an awesome feeling).

You will have the confidence to do these flights, and I know you will be awesome on the flights (which will get there and back safely) 

Debbie

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