Hi everyone, greetings from the U.S.A! I found this site awhile back and found it very helpful in a variety of ways - especially the videos. I am a long time intensely fearful flyer. I always feel so completely embarrassed, alone, and like a huge loser because flying gets me so upset - I am a wreck/mess for weeks and days before a trip. I absolutely fear taxiing/take-off and turbulence - everything about the sensations, speed, sounds, and loss of control makes me extremely, extremely anxious/upset/panic-y. Yet, I am able to calm down a bit once the plane levels off. In fact, with the help of this course, the last time I flew I actually did okay. Loss of control is also a big issue for me; I sometimes get mad at myself because I feel like I purposely put myself in harm's way by agreeing to go on a trip that requires me to fly.

Unfortunately, with my upcoming trip, I feel as though I am right back at Square One. I am a complete mess. I am having real trouble getting control of the horrifying thoughts that are running through my mind about what can happen to me or my family. I feel like such a baby. Furthermore, I have this terrible sense of foreboding which I cannot shake - I am dreading getting on the plane and I truly feel as though I shouldn't. Finally, I am afraid that I will be unable to calm down once the plane levels off and starts cruising. I am seriously doubting that I can make the trip this time. I keep reviewing the materials on this website, which helps me to calm down for a while (and which I plan on taking with me), but then I go right back to being a mess and a failure at flying.

I apologize for such a long, rambling post. I guess I thought I might feel better if I got things off my chest; as though somehow, by sending my story out there I wouldn't feel so alone (if that makes any sense?)

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All of your message makes sense. You have the fears and worries that many anxious flyers have. You don't help yourself by being so self critical. What's the problem with being scared of flying? I'm scared of heights. My 6' 4" step son is scared of spiders. Where's the shame in it?

Now we can't change the sensations of take off but you can try to understand them, which will make them less worrying. Taking off is a doddle...that's what we Brits say for very simple. It's noisey sure, but very easy to do.

Remember that a rule on this network is to avoid saying that you're back to square one. You're never in that position even if it feels like it. Progress means going backwards sometimes...in any thing we do. As for control...hand it over to me, I'm much better at flying than you'll ever be. Unless you fly for nearly 50 years and get 20,000 flying hours.

Flying a plane isn't difficult but you're not trained to do it so forget it, leave it to me and my mates. Feeling, or at least saying that you feel like a baby is unworthy...forget it, you're made the way you are. Be proud of how you are, then you're more likely to conquer this fear.
You should put an elastic band on your wrist and ping it every time you have one of these unhelpful thoughts. At the moment your strategy, such as it is is based on losing; you're hanging on to your fears in the hope that they will keep you safe, twisted though that sounds. At the end of this message I want you to say

" The old me has gone, it's a thing of the past, I'm going to move forward and build my confidence from this moment on and if I happen to go backwards I'm going to say to myself that's a part of going forward."

We're her for you, so keep posting your thoughts.


Hi there! I just wanted to write to say, I too am flying on Friday and I can pretty much empathise with everything you've said in your post. I too get angry about agreeing to go on another plane, seem to swing between OK and terrified, and am a total mess in the lead-up to the flight but am generally OK once I'm up and the plane levels off. But it doesn't matter how often I tell myself that, I don't ever listen to myself - and I always think, 'this is the time I'll lose it in the middle of the flight!' It's so, so frustrating!

I've been a member of this site for a while now, back in its previous incarnation too, and I've found that the people on here are always really helpful and supportive. It does help to get things off your chest and to chat to other people who feel the same as you! All I can say is, just keep reminding yourself of your positive experiences while flying (that's what I'll be doing too!), and once the horrible waiting and take-off is over, you WILL relax and look forward to arriving the other end. Take loads of stuff on board to keep you busy. I don't know if this will help you, but I sometimes like to look at the online arrivals board for my flight a few days before, to see when it landed at my destination. This just reminds me how routine flying is, that they do the same flight day in and day out, and it's totally normal and fine. It seems silly, but somehow I think normalising flying can help if you find it totally alien, as I still do - even though I've flown quite a lot!

Good luck for Friday - I'll give you a thought when my plane leaves! Make sure you post when you get back, telling us all about your flight and how you got on, that's always a big inspiration for the rest of us, and I look forward to doing that when I get back from a flight. Remember that you can do it!

All best wishes,
Sue B :D

Thank you so much for your kind words. I think part of what is bothering me is that I truly don't feel like I will be able to calm down. For some reason I have this terrible feeling overshadowing me and, like you said, this will be the flight where I lose it in the middle. I have been constantly looking at the arrivals/departures at my airport, including flight path, altitude, speed, etc. and trying to remember that a 3-hour flight isn't so bad. I am also planning all the things I can bring with me to entertain myself. But in spite of this, I am actually wondering if I can make the trip at all. My family has even said to me that I might want to hold off on going because the torture I am putting myself through isn't worth it. I am trying to fight that thinking, but unfortunately, those are my thoughts exactly. The constant mess I have become in the last few days has taken so much out of me - it would be nice to say I'm not going to go this time and just be able to relax. But then, of course, I get down on myself for quitting and that I must force myself to go. I don't know. But, on a more positive note, I do want to wish you all the best for your flight on Friday. I will be sending you good thoughts for a great flight and a great trip.
Captain Keith,

Thanks so much for your response and your support. I am trying to work on accepting this fear I have, but it becomes harder to make peace with it when I find myself in such severe knots. I get so frustrated because it seems like with each flight I take, I always start by taking several steps back. It is terribly embarrassing to admit, but over the last week I have become such a mess that my family is suggesting that I might want to hold off on the trip and I would really like to do so because I don't feel ready to take this trip. But then I start a little internal war because I am getting down on myself for quitting, I feel ashamed because some people know I am going on the trip and what will they think when they found out I didn't go, and how will this help me get on a plane the next time. But for right now I am trying to review the materials on this site as much as I can and I am now trying to say the mantra you have given me. I am hoping it will help me learn to accept whatever reactions I have to flying. Thanks again!
I just have to respond to your mails as I cant believe just like Sue how much I feel the same literally down to the last word!!!! You could be me. Really, this time last week I was a wreck as I had to fly on Friday to Spain. I am the same - once the plane levels off I am calmer and we have to try and remember that take off is so quick, you are level before you know it!
I literally didnt feel I would be able to control the panic and the fear and I also had added pressure as my family would never have understood if I had not made the flight as it was my brother's 40th. Just before the flight I was shaking so much the terror had totally overtaken my senses but having done the fear of flying course and been armed with so many facts and the safety of it all I kept repeating things that help me and felt I owed it to myself to go for it -as soon as I entered the plane I went straight to the crew and told them how I felt (I think they could see it!). Do you know I felt so much better than I thought I was going to feel, I kept myself occupied and I didnt let bad thoughts come into my head. Let me tell you that the anxiety I felt BEFORE the flight in the weeks, days and then minutes before was so so much worse than the flight itself. The flight itself was nothing compared to the terror I put myself through. The fear for me is so intense I feel like I am actually going to die, I will always struggle with it and maybe keep having steps back and then other times feel better about it like now but... as Keith says, we dont go back to square one ever. It is a very hard and brave thing we are facing and I think we are a lot harder on ourselves than we should be, I just know you can do it! Just tell yourself you have a choice to fly and dont feel forced if you really feel you cant do it. If you dont do it this time you will fly next time..if I can do it ANYONE can. I so know how you are feeling so please dont be ashamed of this very real and genuine fear. I will be thinking of you (and you too Sue!) on Friday. Look at hints and tips and remember the stats and that pilots know what they are doing. IT WILL BE OK make sure you tell the crew, dont be embarrassed or ashamed.

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