im scared of every part of flying! ive been afraid since i was a child. i was forced to fly when i was 16...we had 5 different flights & i hated everyone of them. my fear has gotten worse as ive gotten older & sept.11th only added new fears to the ones i already had. im tired of driving long trips & id like to be able to get on a plane but even the thought makes me panic & break in to a sweat. im not sure if theres hope for me.

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Hi Karla,

Of course there's hope and you've taken the first step towards that goal by posting on the site. Its not clear from what you say whether you are planning a flight soon or perhaps are in a situation where you may have to take a flight soon. In any event I'd strongly recommend reading all the information there is about flying on this site. There are many very helpful short videos discussing things like airports, flight preparation, cabin noises, takeoff, turbulence and landing as well as lots of advice directly from Capt. Keith. I think the information available on the site as well as the books and DVD's which are available will give you a tremendous amount of help. Often, the fear we have about flying is ill-defined in our own minds. Other than having a raised (sometimes significantly raised) level of anxiety, if we are asked what we are fearful of it can be hard to describe that. It seems that your experiences in early life were quite unpleasant for you and that you had little control over your environment at that time. Memories of bad experiences have a way of embedding themselves deeply in our minds. It is this facility of the mind that triggers various levels of anxiety and panic when we have to undertake an activity similar to the one that caused the original difficulty. Again, the material available on and through the site will be of enormous benefit in helping your understanding. One thing you might think about (and it seems you are already on this path anyway) is the benefits of flying to places that you'd otherwise only dream about or read about or see on a tv programme. There are so many wonderful countries and cultures to see around the world that it is really worthwhile tackling the fear of flying. The benefits will far far outweigh the costs. One thing Capt. Keith says is that the fear is ours personally and the first thing is to accept that. Then start the process of overcoming it as mentioned above. There's no "magic bullet" solution and some folks will have early success and others (me included) have to work a bit longer at it. The key thing is that there is hope, and if you work at the fear using the materials, it can be cured. Enormous strides have been made in the understanding and treatment of fear/anxiety/phobia conditions and the material on the site is packed full of that knowledge. I wish you the very best in your journey and hope you'll have many enjoyable trips abroad.  Frank Edwards (Ireland)    

Thank you so much for taking time to write to me! My husband surprised me w a cruise for Chrsitmas.Knowing I refuse to fly he assumed we would drive...so no pressure from him @ all. However we live in Ohio & will leave port from Miami FLorida. Thats @ least an 18 hr drive..which I have made before :) We just returned from a trip to Florida for my daughters cheerleading national competition in Feb. ...which we were the only ones out of 50+ people that drove. Its never bothered me before to drive & ive never had desire to travel because my fear of flying totally surpasses any feelings of missing out on anything or any places I cant go without flying. My husbnd has won trips in the past to Hawaii & Mexico both which we didnt go on because there was no way , no option of me ever flying. Let  me also back up to say since 1998 weve always had a trip to florida for sporting events & we always drive because of me. So...the past few yrs it has aggrivated me that everyone flys but me! I just feel like if I step on a plane that plane will crash! I have the worst luck ever on so many levels & it is a serious stresser for me that no matter how safe it is no matter how many times that plane has flown , been check for problems, if its never had problems..when Im on it every thing or something major will go wrong & that will be it. I understand flying is safer but car accidents are sudden & a plane falling from the sky is far from sudden. thats a LONG way down & its that thought that probably scares me that very most! Its hard for my brain to comprehend how a plane just stays in the air...no matter what. like through a storm,the massive clouds where pilots cant see. What if the ground control people arent paying attention & create a problem for directing the pilot. So so so many things run through my mind & every single bad thing ive ever heard or seen has implanted itself in my brain.I tourment myself & I realize this but Im still so afraid. Im also very clautraphobic. I dont do elevators, roller coaster, I dont like riding in cars with a driver I dont know. I dont like riding buses. I dont even like merry go rounds @ festivals for children. I am a mess in the brain! this is why I dont know if theres help for me

Francis Patrick Edwards said:

Hi Karla,

Of course there's hope and you've taken the first step towards that goal by posting on the site. Its not clear from what you say whether you are planning a flight soon or perhaps are in a situation where you may have to take a flight soon. In any event I'd strongly recommend reading all the information there is about flying on this site. There are many very helpful short videos discussing things like airports, flight preparation, cabin noises, takeoff, turbulence and landing as well as lots of advice directly from Capt. Keith. I think the information available on the site as well as the books and DVD's which are available will give you a tremendous amount of help. Often, the fear we have about flying is ill-defined in our own minds. Other than having a raised (sometimes significantly raised) level of anxiety, if we are asked what we are fearful of it can be hard to describe that. It seems that your experiences in early life were quite unpleasant for you and that you had little control over your environment at that time. Memories of bad experiences have a way of embedding themselves deeply in our minds. It is this facility of the mind that triggers various levels of anxiety and panic when we have to undertake an activity similar to the one that caused the original difficulty. Again, the material available on and through the site will be of enormous benefit in helping your understanding. One thing you might think about (and it seems you are already on this path anyway) is the benefits of flying to places that you'd otherwise only dream about or read about or see on a tv programme. There are so many wonderful countries and cultures to see around the world that it is really worthwhile tackling the fear of flying. The benefits will far far outweigh the costs. One thing Capt. Keith says is that the fear is ours personally and the first thing is to accept that. Then start the process of overcoming it as mentioned above. There's no "magic bullet" solution and some folks will have early success and others (me included) have to work a bit longer at it. The key thing is that there is hope, and if you work at the fear using the materials, it can be cured. Enormous strides have been made in the understanding and treatment of fear/anxiety/phobia conditions and the material on the site is packed full of that knowledge. I wish you the very best in your journey and hope you'll have many enjoyable trips abroad.  Frank Edwards (Ireland)    

Hi Karla,

Great to see your reply. You have written a fine description of your fears and this is of huge benefit to you, whether or not you realise it at the moment, because you can now start working on various aspects. The first thing I'd say is to challenge your own view about having the "worst luck" ever. I think you might use that as a start point for dealing with the fear. It seems to me you have a very loving and understanding husband who is a "lucky" person having won two trips to Hawaii and Mexico. He also presented you with a gift at Christmas with a cruise from Miami. Your daughter participated in a national cheerleader competition - thats a great achievement. It seems that perhaps you're a lot "luckier" than you might imagine. Our personal "luck", however we define it,  does not affect the plane we are on.!!

 

An important aspect is your claustrophobia - that is an issue which can impact your willingness to fly. You mention a fear of elevators: maybe one litttle experiment you can work on is to try out the elevator some day - say at the local shopping mall - and just go up one or two floors. You can plan it for a day or evening when the place is not so busy and there's a better chance of fewer people being around which might cause you additional anxiety. Little personal challenges such as this will help in the overall process of understanding and overcoming your fears. But the key thing is to read the literature and watch the DVD's to help your understanding of the fears, how they work and how they can be overcome.

 

The second point is your fear of the plane falling from the sky. There's another experiment which may help in understanding this. Next time you are a passenger in the car with your husband, on a long stretch of quiet roadway, extend your arm out the window with the palm face down toward the road.. You will feel the air rushing past your hand and arm. If you tilt your palm slightly up or down,  you'll feel the air forcing your hand and arm in that direction. In effect its the forward momentum of the car through the air and the "wing" effect of your hand and arm that causes the sensation of "lift" when you tilt you palm upward. You'll feel how "solid" the whole thing is even though you can't see the air. Now I hasten to add - only try this if its completely safe to do so and not a distraction to other motorists. Its a small "experiment" but a good one to illustrate the idea behind "lift" generated by a plane's wings. In a plane there's huge wing surfaces and the whole thing is powered by extremely powerful engines. If you check out this site (or any of the multitude of i/net sites on theory of flight) - you'll get plenty of information on this. There's also a section on the site dealing with claustrophobia and a support group specially for folks with this type of fear.

 

Identifying your particualr fears is a great starting point and with the support of the site and willingness to do some reading and research you can work on all of these and work towards your goal of flying without fear. I'm not saying it's going to be simple or easy - but it is definitely possible and achievable. Be well, be happy and best wishes in your endeavours. Frank Edwards (Ireland).

 

karla deshayes said:

Thank you so much for taking time to write to me! My husband surprised me w a cruise for Chrsitmas.Knowing I refuse to fly he assumed we would drive...so no pressure from him @ all. However we live in Ohio & will leave port from Miami FLorida. Thats @ least an 18 hr drive..which I have made before :) We just returned from a trip to Florida for my daughters cheerleading national competition in Feb. ...which we were the only ones out of 50+ people that drove. Its never bothered me before to drive & ive never had desire to travel because my fear of flying totally surpasses any feelings of missing out on anything or any places I cant go without flying. My husbnd has won trips in the past to Hawaii & Mexico both which we didnt go on because there was no way , no option of me ever flying. Let  me also back up to say since 1998 weve always had a trip to florida for sporting events & we always drive because of me. So...the past few yrs it has aggrivated me that everyone flys but me! I just feel like if I step on a plane that plane will crash! I have the worst luck ever on so many levels & it is a serious stresser for me that no matter how safe it is no matter how many times that plane has flown , been check for problems, if its never had problems..when Im on it every thing or something major will go wrong & that will be it. I understand flying is safer but car accidents are sudden & a plane falling from the sky is far from sudden. thats a LONG way down & its that thought that probably scares me that very most! Its hard for my brain to comprehend how a plane just stays in the air...no matter what. like through a storm,the massive clouds where pilots cant see. What if the ground control people arent paying attention & create a problem for directing the pilot. So so so many things run through my mind & every single bad thing ive ever heard or seen has implanted itself in my brain.I tourment myself & I realize this but Im still so afraid. Im also very clautraphobic. I dont do elevators, roller coaster, I dont like riding in cars with a driver I dont know. I dont like riding buses. I dont even like merry go rounds @ festivals for children. I am a mess in the brain! this is why I dont know if theres help for me

Francis Patrick Edwards said:

Hi Karla,

Of course there's hope and you've taken the first step towards that goal by posting on the site. Its not clear from what you say whether you are planning a flight soon or perhaps are in a situation where you may have to take a flight soon. In any event I'd strongly recommend reading all the information there is about flying on this site. There are many very helpful short videos discussing things like airports, flight preparation, cabin noises, takeoff, turbulence and landing as well as lots of advice directly from Capt. Keith. I think the information available on the site as well as the books and DVD's which are available will give you a tremendous amount of help. Often, the fear we have about flying is ill-defined in our own minds. Other than having a raised (sometimes significantly raised) level of anxiety, if we are asked what we are fearful of it can be hard to describe that. It seems that your experiences in early life were quite unpleasant for you and that you had little control over your environment at that time. Memories of bad experiences have a way of embedding themselves deeply in our minds. It is this facility of the mind that triggers various levels of anxiety and panic when we have to undertake an activity similar to the one that caused the original difficulty. Again, the material available on and through the site will be of enormous benefit in helping your understanding. One thing you might think about (and it seems you are already on this path anyway) is the benefits of flying to places that you'd otherwise only dream about or read about or see on a tv programme. There are so many wonderful countries and cultures to see around the world that it is really worthwhile tackling the fear of flying. The benefits will far far outweigh the costs. One thing Capt. Keith says is that the fear is ours personally and the first thing is to accept that. Then start the process of overcoming it as mentioned above. There's no "magic bullet" solution and some folks will have early success and others (me included) have to work a bit longer at it. The key thing is that there is hope, and if you work at the fear using the materials, it can be cured. Enormous strides have been made in the understanding and treatment of fear/anxiety/phobia conditions and the material on the site is packed full of that knowledge. I wish you the very best in your journey and hope you'll have many enjoyable trips abroad.  Frank Edwards (Ireland)    

thank you so much! you have given me a lot of positive things to think about. it is definitely a huge accomplishment for me to have even gotten this far with thinking about or talking about flying. thank you for taking your time to give me so much encouragement!
You are most weclome.

karla deshayes said:
thank you so much! you have given me a lot of positive things to think about. it is definitely a huge accomplishment for me to have even gotten this far with thinking about or talking about flying. thank you for taking your time to give me so much encouragement!

Hi Karla,

     After reading your posts, I really felt compelled to respond because I wanted to let you know that you are not alone and to not give up.  Many of the things you wrote about your fears are very, very similar to me and how I feel.  I'm probably the biggest chicken there is!  If there is a way to drive some place, I would much rather get in the car and go, regardless of how long the drive is - anything to avoid an airplane.  There was a 7-year period where I avoided flying completely.  And, I am the first to admit that my desire to travel is pretty low if it means there's an airplane involved in the equation - as bad as it sounds, I have never really felt an overwhelming desire to travel.  I have always wondered how so many people jump on a plane and go without even batting an eye (and even look forward to the trip) - and I admit I wish I had that same capability (and I have often felt alone because I felt like no one really understood all the panic I go through each time).  I also have lots of crazy, scary thoughts that run through my mind weeks and weeks before I get on a plane - even a quick look at something like orbitz or travelocity if I have to book a trip in the future freaks me out.  Bottom Line - whatever your feelings about flying, you are definitely not alone and don't feel that you are "less than."  For me a big part of the fear is a loss of control.  As crazy as it sounds, I think that when I'm in a car I have control of the wheel and feel that if something were to happen, I could at least try to do something about it.  When you're in a plane - that sense of control is lost.  I don't want to put words in your mouth, but some things you mentioned in your posts give me the impression that you may struggle with a loss of control, as well.

 

     But, I really feel that Francis hit something important on the head - you may be a lot luckier than you think.  What you describe sounds like a wonderful, caring family - you have a husband who is very concerned about your comfort and wants to do what makes you happy.  Also, I am pretty certain your daughter is lucky to have a mom like you, because you are willing to do whatever is necessary to get there and cheer her on at her competitions.  Many people aren't blessed to have family like that.

 

     It's also important not to beat yourself up.  Please don't think that you are a mess in any way, shape, or form.  I have berated myself in the same way for most of my life, especially about flying (I'm flying to Florida myself next week and even though it's only a 3 hr flight I am still terribly nervous).  But just like Francis said, you have taken a big step by getting on this site and putting what bothers you out there for others to read/comment on.  That takes guts.  It also shows that you are willing to, at least, think about working on this area of your life, which is great!  This site is a great tool to help you with that.  Don't think that there is no hope for you.  Even if you come on here to talk about what's going through your mind.  It helps not to feel like you're completely alone - I have been on here for a few years and have received some great encouragement.  Take things slowly and according to your comfort-level.

Thank you SO much! The encouragement & time taken to write to me means so much! It IS so nice to talk to people that understand & dont call me crazy. I have felt alone for so long because most people dont care to fly.They may be nervous fliers but they dont even begin to get how I feel.Im sure you completely understand that! I try to explain to people...Imagine if someone had your child,mother, spouse & had a gun to their head & you were standing there watching...the fear,panic..everything you would feel IS equivalent to how I feel @ the thought of flying. I really thought I might be able to work up the nerve to fly for this. Im just as nervous & tormented @ the thought of driving because ALL i hear is "its soooooooooo much more dangerous to drive 18 hrs..if youre nervous to leave your kids you really should fly so youre safer!" Ive lost sleep w nightmares for the past 6-8 wks I'd say & for the last 3 days all Ive done is cry because I know I should fly but I cant...I know driving is more dangerous & thats eating up too.I go to sleep crying & pretty much have tears rolling before my feet hit the floor. Im so frustrated with myself & jealous of all of the people that step on a plane & just go. My sister is going on the same trip..theyre flying of course.I wish so bad I could just do it. I had my husband look @ flights again yesterday...he found a great one & I wanted to say yes but as soon as the reality of it set in I was sweating, panicked & literally felt like I was gonna puke. I even went to the Dr & got Xanax ...tried it knowing if I couldnt "think" of booking a flight after taking it ya wouldnt be able to drag me on a plane even if I took it. So , of course, it did the opposite & induced my panic.So while Im glad I tried it prior Im extremely disappointed that yet again Im a freak of nature & cant just be normal. Thank you again for your kind words!I do have an amazing family :) Fortunately they love me how I am & Im the only one that puts pressure on me to fly.

Karla

 

I am planning on writing to you ....I'll find time this evening ....so sorry

 

 

Keith

 

Hi Karla

 

As you've no doubt seen by my replies on this network I say things as they. I care very much how people fear but that doesn't stop me from being, direct and  fairly hard hitting. But what's the point of my having my arms around you and saying everything will be alright. Everything will be alright...but that's for you to discover. If telling you worked no-one would ahve a fear of flying for longer than ten miutes!

 

So lets begin:

What is this...and how do you think it will help in the journey to overcome your fear of flying?  I quote

"So while Im glad I tried it prior I'm extremely disappointed that yet again Im a freak of nature & cant just be normal."

Disappointment is worth getting used to...because you'll have lots of it before you succeed...is that not a part of success? Was your daughter always good at her sport or were there set backs and tears?  If she had said to you "Mom I'm a feak of nature" would you have agreed? Would it have helped her? What right do you have to call yourself such a thing...you're scared of flying ...so what...millions of people are.

So this is where we start...self respect for this part of your being human. A fear of flying is not a weakness it's just a fear of flying...it won't stop you becoming the president if you so wish and it won't stop you being a loving mum. So that's your fear of flying summed up. It IS NOT A BIG DEAL.

 

However it does limit you so let's get a fix going... a couple of facts flying in a thunderstorm is not allowed so we don't do it. I can see my instruments clearly and I have no problem flying the plane in turbulence, near a thunderstorm ( no closer than 20 miles though) or at night. The people on the ground are not needed to fly the plane l so if they're not paying attention it doesn't matt because we'll call them on the radio and wake them up. But what on earth gives you the idea that they're not paying attention? Do you question doctors' skills like this? Trust me your thoughts are very very far from the reality of what goes on.

 

A plane flies because it's designed to...like a boat floats the laws of science say so ...that's it...fact...no arguing...it's clever sure... it's wonderful sure...it's amzing sure... but it's all science...nothing else.

 

With reference to your claim that something will go wrong when you get on a plane...how do you know that?  Try it and see! Where's the evidence? Why should it happen to you...what's so special about you that 's going to make all this come about? 

 

If your daughter is less than fifteen years old she has more chance of becoming the President than being in a plane accident.  Statistics don't stop things happening but they don't make things happen either but what they're perfect for is assessing the likelyhood of something happening. If you don't believe in statistics then you are not using them properly. one in ten million means that it will happen once in ten million occasions but it also means it won't happen on nine  million nine hundred and ninety nine thousand nine hudred and ninety nine times.

so much more to say yet .... no more being rude to yourself...and when you've stopped doing that we'll move on and we'll have you flying sooner than you expect I promise.

 

Captain Keith

 

 

Thank you so much! It makes me feel so much more comfortable hearing those things directly from you..a pilot. Im trying really hard to not let my mind go where it loves to take me but I guess I dont trust myself & what if everything. What if...I get to the airport & I literally cant get on the plane.What if I got on the plane & we sat for a while & I started freaking out.What if I did great til we got in the air.What if i did fine for the 1st hour then I couldnt handle the other 90 mins.What if my claustrophobia kicks in & I cant get a grip on it...  & thats just the what ifs on my end not what if the cargo door comes undone in the air or the fuel tank leaks or a wing or engine fall off or quit working if the pilot has a heart attack.I even worry what if the pilot wanted to kill himself & thats how he wanted to do it. this is why I call myself the freak of nature.

 

Karla...you are not what you describe yourself as!! Everyone 'what ifs'  but where's your evidence that these things happen  so frequently that you'd be right to question them.

Do you what if   as you drive along the highway and if not why not. Try to find out why you think driving is safer than flying. You've got more chance of falling down the stairs ....

 

No more Freak of Nature nonsense...that's an order form the Captain OK?

When you believe and can tell me you accept your fear and it's just part of who you are we'll carry on. OK?

 

Keith

 

ps  Did you ever speak to anyone else in such hostile terms? I promise you that it will help you to think about your fear  differently.

 

 

I do accept my fear Im just so frustrated because I want to let it go but I dont trust that I will be able to.I know the only way to know is to try but I also know once Im on the plane there no turning back & that scares me really bad.A big part of me thinks it'd b easier to break a flight into 2 so Im actually in the air for less time to focus on then that scares me to think Im adding another take off/ landing ..which is doubling the danger of safe take off/landing.So then I think it'd be better to have a non stop flight & just get it done & over with ...then I think the longer time in the air would be a bigger hurdle for me to get over.I go back & forth like this in my head constantly.I want to trust myself & just do it & know that statistically I'll be ok ...then I start saying "well there havent been any accidents so I could easily be the one because of the fact that nothings happened for a while." I do get worried driving so I'll do the driving most of the time. I drove 15 hrs straight on our trip in Feb. w no stops except for gas & restroom breaks because I dont relax when someone else is driving...even my husband...because straight highway ,especially thru the mountain areas , feels so fast & out of control.BUT ...Im on the ground & @ any point can say "pull over...slow down"...etc.I cant do that in a plane. Plus knowing how high we are adds more stress to me.& knowing that if we take off & I hate it & panic..Im stuck & every second will seem impossible.I do realize my fear is irrational & logically I know I would most likely be ok but its the most likely & not the 100% sure thing that gets in my way.& again I know anything can happen anywhere but In the air & on the ground are really different to me.I guess I  still cant comprehend that a plane will not nose dive under any circumstance not matter what.What if all the electrical systems fail...wouldnt the plain just lock up?if everything is electronic & auto pilot & that system crash & there was complete failure or "mechanical failure" how does the plane survive that? Or is it just a matter of IF that pilot can handle it? I often think of the Hudson River incident & wonder if it hadnt been that piot would that plane have landed safely.Everyone has a first time & if a pilot is dealing w an emergency issue hes never faced before I dont feel secure that they will 100% handle it calmly.I just cant trust :( as bad as I want to.

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