Hello everyone! Im really glad to have found this site. Im an american living in scotland, and my fears have stopped me from flying home for ages.

 

Ive been reading some posts and Im going to copy and paste what someone wrote....is it Frank? - because he describes my fears perfectly. This is what he wrote to another poster:

 

"I think your reply hit the nail on the head though. Because, in the final analysis and despite any amount of statistics, the type of thing we fearful flyers have uppermost in our minds when flying is "how will I cope if an accident happens?"; "Will I survive?"; "Will it be so unbeleivably terrifying before I die - and then what??" "I don't want to die in an airplane!!"; "I don't want to be afraid and I hate these fearful feelings"; "Oh dear, here come those fearful feelings again and I hate them because I remember how bad they felt last time and this time I'm worried its going to be worse and something really bad will happen....." etc. etc. etc."

 

I know the statistics (my dad quotes them to me all the time!) But just "what if"? It does happen to people.....the people who have died in plane crashes, they had the same odds as the rest of us....and if I were to be THAT unlucky, I just think the whole process - knowing the planes gonna crash - I cant imagine having to go through that for 2 minutes, or 5 minutes, or whatever it might be! Thats the whole thing that stops me....that intense fear of the 5 minutes of "knowing".....if someone could promise me "if you ever in a plane crash, however remote the chances of that happening, youd know nothing about it - youd die without the fear", then Id happily fly!

 

Im thinking about doing EMDR therapy...has anyone tried that?

 

Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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if someone could promise me "if you ever in a plane crash, however remote the chances of that happening, youd know nothing about it - youd die without the fear", then Id happily fly!

 

Yes I'll promise you that...Captain Keith

oh my goodness...how!?!?! :)

 

You didn't ask me how,   you just said you wanted a promise...isn't that enough?

 

Keith

 

aha, pretty good reasoning there....you know what, Im going to remember that promise!....Do you know anything about this EMDR therapy? Any success stories? I think, for me, I need to find a way to just accept life as it comes.....know that most likely nothing will happen...and have some sort of confidence that if the unthinkable did happen, Id be able to put myself in some altered state of consciousness! 

 

Tamara ...that's the spirit I don't know about the therapy you mention. If it helps you go for it. But when all is said and done it'll be you facing your fear.

As a pilot I tend to be fact based, I like the observable and verifiable that's why this forum and the site are structured in the way that they are. If you know all the facts, express yourself in unemotive language , have startegies and so on then the slate is wiped clean. If that doesn't work the moving on to other help is right. But if you think the wings can fall off or that turbulence is dangerous then I think those thoughts will surface in times of stress. And there's no doubt that you can't guarantee a stress free life .

 

Keith

Hi Tamara,

Sorry I can't help you with the EMDR therapy - I've never heard of it.

Imagination and imagining "...that intense fear of the five minutes of knowing.....". Knowing that your going to die in a plane crash!! And all this in is your imagination!!

Thats the problem with this fear stuff, its all in our imagination. None of us can ever know for certain how we'll cope with any situation that arises in life. We might have a general idea in some cases - e.g. if this happened, I'd do or say that ..and so on. But we can't ever know with absolute certainty what we'd do or say before the situation arises. I detect though what may be at the root of your concerns: the fear of dying!! (And knowing you're dying!!!).

Well, let me tell you a story (I'll try and keep it as short as possible). I had agoraphobia at an early age and became quite familiar with panic and anxiety conditions. I was quite fearful in supermarkets, crowded palces, hig-streets and the like. One day, many years ago, I met my brother in a bar. It was shortly after our dad had died suddenly and we agreed to meet for a pint - really it was just to reminisce about old times and console each other. Within seconds of arriving in the place I began to feel uncomfortable and knew a panic attack was on the way. Well it got very bad .. so bad in fact that I was absolutely convinced that this was going to be the one - i.e. the definitive panic attack that results in my death. And the feelings and thoughts got worse and worse and the tension was unbearable. At some point (it could only have been perhaps a few minutes into the attack) I had the thought that yes this is it, this is where I die and for what? How did I deserve this? The anxiety continued to rise. It finally got so bad I accepted I was going to die. Irrespective of suitable explanations as to why this should be happening at this point in my life, I somehow accepted fully and completely that I was dying. I even moved the chair I was sitting on so that I'd collapse onto the floor without splitting my head on the corner of the table en-route. (Funny how the mind works!!). And then it happened - nothing!!. Nothing happened for another minute and then another minute ... and gradually I relaxed. Shaken and stirred by the experience. But nothing happened. That was about thirty years ago. It was a time when there was not much information available on anxiety conditions and sufferers tended to suffer in silence.

Had I the understanding in those days I could have made my fortune as an author writing a book on panic attacks. These days, all the medical and psychological research into the condition make clear a couple of very important facts: (i) Panic or anxiety attacks are uncomfortable and unpleasant but not dangerous. (ii) the "cure" lies in understanding what is going on and totally accepting the unpleasant feelings and letting them slide by. Unknown to me I had actually hit on the "cure" for my panic attacks - that is total acceptance of the feelings and letting them do their thing in the full knowledge that, other than feeling uncomfortable, nothing actually happens. I understand now how these feelings can be triggered by the mind and how the body physically handles them. But back to the moment of death - as I thought I was facing it at the time - to tell you the truth it was absolutely calm - there was no more fear - just letting go.

I still have the anxious thoughts and feelings before a flight but the reality is its never actually as bad as had been anticipated. Moreover, I've had several experiences of being quite calm and relaxed during flights and enjoyed looking out at the clouds and the horizon. And that gives me great encouragement.

Practice is essential in dealing with any fear or phobia. Despite my fears of anxiety attacks and suffering a bit from claustrophobia - I take a straight forward view of flying and its this: I have things to do and places to see and the quickest way to get places is by plane (my adult children live in NZ - so the prospect of taking a boat trip that far is not really appealing!!) - but I'm not going to let this fear override my enjoyment of that. So what if its a bit uncomfortable - to heck with it, I'll go anyway. I trust the airline industry to do their very best to ensure the safety of their planes and passengers. Remember, the only certainties in this life are death, taxes and uncertainty.

Be well, enjoy your opportunities to travel and keep trying. Hope this is of some help. Frank Edwards. 

Frank - Thank you!!!!! You have given me a great deal to think about. Im trying to determine if my whole fear is a "fear of death" but then, rationally, I do far more dangerous activities on a daily basis (get in a car, etc!)....I think its something about the "way" of dying....but I think the only way to truly get over it is to be more accepting of the "unpredictability of life", that I cant control every event or second, that chances are Ill never be in a crash, and that if I am, well, I am! Thats a hard place to get to! But your thoughts are very helpful and its very interesting that you came to that insight long before a lot of the literature on panic attacks have come out....and Im glad you are able to fly and see your kids!

 

Tamara ...I've promised you already.

 

Keith

You wont let me forget that Captain Keith!!!!! :)

By the way the EMDR therapy...it stands for something like "eye movement desensitisation" (or some such)...Its used a lot for post traumatic stress disorder....an it has something to do with helping people "re vision".....Im not explaining it very well...but Ive heard therpists have started using it for fear of flying...

 

Also, for both captain keith and frank...any strong felings about tranquilisers?

 

 

Yes  only when prescribed by a doctor.

 

CK



Tamara Horsburgh said:

You wont let me forget that Captain Keith!!!!! :)

By the way the EMDR therapy...it stands for something like "eye movement desensitisation" (or some such)...Its used a lot for post traumatic stress disorder....an it has something to do with helping people "re vision".....Im not explaining it very well...but Ive heard therpists have started using it for fear of flying...

 

Also, for both captain keith and frank...any strong felings about tranquilisers?

Hi Tamara, I take the same view as Capt. Keith on tranquilisers - only when prescribed by your doctor. Frank.

ZSuzsanna - I have been thinking over the last day or so about your very interesting thoughts, and they have helped me a great deal. For some reason the "we are all going to die anyway" statement hit a nerve with me, and made me feel better! Strange, huh? Im really, really glsd Ive joined this forum! 

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