On the eve of my second plane trip in 36 years, the last thing I wanted to be confronted with was news of a plane crash in Nigeria, or anywhere else for that matter. Tomorrow, my partner and myself are leaving our children with the grandparents as we jet off for a short trip to Barcelona. In spite of the quite intense worry and vivid images of disaster my mind serves up for me every so often now in the run up, I'm determined to make it memorable and valuable, so I guess all I can do is resort to rehearsing the rational beliefs I've been practising for the last few weeks - the sort we were taught to focus on on Keiths excellent course: Firstly, the incident in Nigeria is not related to my flight from Heathrow on Tuesday. Secondly, if every significant car crash appeared on the news in the morning before we drove to work every day, would I still get in my car relatively unconcerned? I'm certain I would. Anway, just wanted to share a thought and purge a moment of self-doubt!

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You nailed it on the head in your last paragraph dave..and saved me a fair bit of typing in the process!..


So, briefly, I was actually going to say the fact that there was an accident in Nigeria doesnt mean you flight is going to end up the same way...quite the opposite actually...

Enjoy the flight and keep those positive thoughts in your head fella.

The classic of this 'reporting ' stuff in the papers occurred years ago in Australia.

A cargo plane crashed in Amsterdam...3 crew members were lost. This was widely reported in the newspapers.

The week end before had been a national holiday in Australia, 30 people had been killed on the roads...no reports of these accidents appeared in any paper.

Somethings are deemed to be newsworthy and some are not...depending upon whether they sell newspapers or TV programmes.

Keith

Thanks for your reply Steve - I appreciate it. I managed to keep the positive thoughts going until we sat down, when I told my partner I wanted to get off. If she hadn't politely resisted me I'm pretty sure I would have because at that moment I 'knew' we were going to crash. Strangely, to my mind, we didn't and the flight was great. I'm really glad I stayed on and Barcelona is fantastic. I now owe my partner a less tense return take-off. And it's my turn to sit by the window! 
Just one more thought on how anxiety distorts reality. When I got on the plane and had a quick look in the cockpit to make sure everything looked 'professional', I thought the pilot looked about 12. Well, very young anyway. When we got off, blissfully relaxed, I had to admit he looked more like 42. Sometimes I guess you can't trust an anxious mind!

SteveK said:

You nailed it on the head in your last paragraph dave..and saved me a fair bit of typing in the process!..


So, briefly, I was actually going to say the fact that there was an accident in Nigeria doesnt mean you flight is going to end up the same way...quite the opposite actually...

Enjoy the flight and keep those positive thoughts in your head fella.

Thank you Tiffany. My return flight was really good and my life has definitely been enriched for flying! I had less of the disaster movie images urging me to do something about my 'perilous' situation, which of course made it much more comfortable, anxiety-wise. It was only the 4th time I've flown in my life and I think the fact that i'd experienced the 'theatre' of noises and sensations a couple of days previously meant my mind was more placid. Plus, I owed my partner a calmer takeoff - we were meant to be enjoying ourselves after all. Coming into heathrow, the weather was atrocious - heavy rain showers and dense cloud meaning I couldn't see the ground until the last few thousand feet, but having got off unscathed I now feel more at ease about flying and weather - so another experience in the anti-anxiety bank!

I hope you'll be saying 'I did it!' one day too Tiffany.

For what it's worth, my problem is that I have an issue with committing to a course of action with an uncertain outcome, where the worst possible outcome seems to be so devastating. Added to that, my memories of flying are 99% 'Mayday' episodes (I'm my own worst enemy!) and 1% actual flying. In the end, my desire for an 'adventure' out-weighed my fear of the worst possible outcome, given the chance of that was around 1 in 20 million. Just like, on balance of scientific evidence, the benefits of letting my child have the MMR innoculation or the swine flu jab outweighed the small chance of it going wrong. If only we could be certain of things before we act!

What helps me is a combination of searching out a lot of statistical facts (not for everyone, I know), normalising flying by talking to as many people as I can about their experience (for example, it helped me to know that about half a dozen people at work were also flying soon), and rehearsing rational beliefs (e.g 'I am protecting myself and my children by flying for 4 hours rather than driving on the roads for 10' etc..). I also watched the online arrivals boards for my intended flights for approximately 2 weeks before I flew. Every one of those flights, the dozen or so flights on the same route with the same airline, and coindidentally (to my knowledge) every one of those flights in history, had a safe landing. I would look at the arrivals list on the web and hundreds of flights had the word 'landed' after it day after day after day. So one of my mantras when rehearsing my rational beliefs was simply, 'landed, landed, landed, landed'.

And of course, Keith's course is excellent, especially if you plan to fly soon after.

All the best!

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