Well, I've made it to Florida and back. Initially, I honestly and truly didn't believe I was going to be able to make the trip - the night before the flight was the worst and my family was thinking they may have to make me stay home. I held it together for the most part on the way to the airport and through security, etc. I got on the plane and then I started to lose it. But, even though I felt so embarrassed/ashamed, I said the heck with it and let it out as I waited for takeoff (nothing crazy just a few tears and sniffles:). I held on and got through takeoff and as soon as we got in the air I was very calm (I was really surprised about that because I didn't think I was going to be able to calm down at all and the size of flying on a 757 threw me for a second)! We even hit a bit of turbulence and I was fine. I must say that a huge amount of thanks goes to the pilot and co-pilot - they were absolutely wonderful about communicating what was going on - even going so far as to keep apologizing for the traffic that delayed our take-off. I wish I was able to see them as I de-planed to thank them for such a good flight.
I was okay for most of my vacation and wasn't thinking about having to fly. As I waited in the airport for my flight home, I was okay. Unfortunately, I started to lose it again once I got on the plane. But I hung in there and as strange as it sounds, the next thing I knew we were taxiing and taking off - I didn't even remember pulling back from the gate! The most surprising thing I found was that half way through take-off I calmed down a bit. Normally, I have to grip someone's hand or the armrest because I am terrified of take-off and really focus on breathing exercises, and I did do that, but halfway through the climb I relaxed a bit and let go. And again, once I got in the air I was quite calm. I even fell asleep for awhile!! That is something I NEVER, EVER do! :) I was pretty surprised overall - perhaps I didn't do too badly? I went from almost cancelling to going on two flights. While I'm afraid to get ahead of myself, overall it wasn't too terrible and I was able to handle it and I think there might be a possibility that I could get on a plane again, even though I know this fear is something I know I have to keep working hard at.
Thank you so, so much to everyone who was there for me - it made me feel a lot better!
Amazing - well done you!! I'm so so pleased to read your story, and thank you so much for replying to mine. I also was thinking of you and your posts when I was at Heathrow on that Friday, it was really good to think of our strength in numbers, even if we were on opposite sides of the Atlantic! I also can't believe how similar our experiences were: the unexpected plane, the sitting around with traffic , relaxing during take-off and doing something you've never done before (for me it was getting up to use the loo!)...Pretty spooky, but in a really good way! I too had a serious, serious wobble the night before, it was awful and I truly thought I'd totally lost it; but it looks like we both gritted our teeth and got on with it, and it feels brilliant now, doesn't it? Congratulations on taking another step towards managing your fear, I'm really pleased for you - here's to the next time, we can do it! :D xx