Why is it easier to advise others but not yourself?

Flying to Germany tomorrow. Have been good up until yesterday and tonight. Now tge nerves and apprehension are kicking, and the negative thoughts are slightly spiralling. I hate this bit. I know I can do it as I flew all over the place last year. Trying to tell myself that tge stressful day at work today hasn't helped and that is why but it is so frustrating when all I want is a peaceful evening with my wife. Flying with my new boss and partly that is stressing me, but I have flown by myself before so....

Very frustrated and annoyed. Bit upset if I am honest but I think that is more frustration than anything. Where has my 'just do it' attitude!!!

Any kick up the rears would help. It is only two hours and back on Friday. Even beginning to have stupid thoughts about bad things happening because it is good Friday. How silly is that.

Phil.  

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Hi Phil-one kick up the rear winging it's way to you!.

I am sure you will be fine,Two hours will pass really quickly.

For all you know your new boss might not like flying and be apprehensive too.

Try and relax and try to think of all the things you previously did to achieve your recent successful flights  deep breathing, etc and counteract negative thoughts by distracting your mind.Stop "beating" yourself up you have proved you CAN do it and you WILL do it again.

Post your flight report soon,

best wishes, Elizabeth.

Thanks folks. Does really help to know you have support. I think today hasn't helped as I had a fairly stressful end to a busy conference, presenting work to some rather important people in my field. Perhaps it all got a bit much. That and I drank well too much coffee today. Funnily enough I spent most of the day talking to people who had all flown in to Glasgow yesterday, and reminding myself of this. Hopefully I will get a reasonable sleep and feel a bit brighter in the morning. Think perhaps that I am a bit panicking about not having panicked yet. Perhaps I know how to handle it when I am scared, but not so as I improve and my fear changes. 

Who knows? Not sure if that makes sense but may be it just a sign of improving. 

Her is too a brighter day. Cheers ladies. And good luck Zsuzsanna

Phil. 

Zsuzsanna said:
My flight is on Wednesday and I feel the same way. Just know you're not alone; feeling like this is normal and we'll both we fine... Just think about how many planes fly and land safely every hour. We'll be fine. Our state of nervousness doesn't correlate with the saftey of flight.
It is a strange one this right, being afraid of being afraid or of not being afraid. Was just thinking about ways to get away from it as maybe we are becoming transfixed on it a bit. Hence not getting past it. So what about changing it to being afraid of not being happy or of being happy. Sounds a bit silly right? But it almost means the same thing and I guess it is more positive look on things. Maybe if we focus on being afraid of not being happy then we can get past this block. I think it is easier remembering how to be happy than it is remembering how to be afraid. Maybe. 

But yeah you are totally right, we are not our fear. It is just a little part of the present us. 



Zsuzsanna said:
Yes I think I am also "afraid of being afraid", I actually posted that here a couple of days ago... I guess we need to give ourselves the chance to change. Our fear doesn't define us, we'll still be ourselves if we fly without having the fears. We need to allow ourselves that option so we can embrace it slowly, whenever we are ready.

 

Phil

 

Just do it and you'll love it. Free course if you don't.

 

Keith



Phil said:
It is a strange one this right, being afraid of being afraid or of not being afraid. Was just thinking about ways to get away from it as maybe we are becoming transfixed on it a bit. Hence not getting past it. So what about changing it to being afraid of not being happy or of being happy. Sounds a bit silly right? But it almost means the same thing and I guess it is more positive look on things. Maybe if we focus on being afraid of not being happy then we can get past this block. I think it is easier remembering how to be happy than it is remembering how to be afraid. Maybe. 

But yeah you are totally right, we are not our fear. It is just a little part of the present us. 


Certainly anxious about being 'happy' is common
Keith
Zsuzsanna said:
Yes I think I am also "afraid of being afraid", I actually posted that here a couple of days ago... I guess we need to give ourselves the chance to change. Our fear doesn't define us, we'll still be ourselves if we fly without having the fears. We need to allow ourselves that option so we can embrace it slowly, whenever we are ready.

Z

I'm glad it works for you

Keith


So finally I am going to post about this trip like I promised I would 6weeks ago when I got back from Germany.  My two reasons for this post are because everyone that encouraged me deserves to know how it went, as they were part of it, and also partly as a bit of my plan to get me going again - I am flying in 3 weeks and the nerves are back in a big way.  Hoping that writing this will increase the confidence a bit.

I guess the best thing to say was that the flights were fantastic.  Particularly the one going to Germany from Glasgow.  Sure I was a bit hesitant in the morning of the flight, but I got on and did it.  Even the stress of getting to the airport slightly later than I wanted wasnt going to get me down this time.  My boss who was meant to be travelling with me, turned up as we were boarding and sat somewhere else on the plane.  I think we said one word to each other.  This actually suited me fine as I sort of wanted to be by myself, to almost prove i didnt need anyone with me.  Anyway, I got a seat by the window and off we went.  A beautiful sunny day with some nice views when there was a break in the clouds.  I remember feeling like I was actually enjoying myself - not sitting worrying what might happen.  Just acting like a normal frequent flyer i guess.  Listened to my music and the time passed.  Next thing I know we are in the descent and I read the inflight magazine all the way through landing.  Happy days.  I felt really sorry for the teenage girl in front of me who was clearly struggling with the flight.  I thought about talking to her, but she was surrounded by friends and I thought the embarrassment at that stage of a stranger talking to you might make things worse.  That and I dont speak German, but hopefully she will find us one day.

The flight back was nice too.  Not as good as going out, but in no ways horrific, or bad, or anything like that.  I was sitting in about the 4th row so the sounds of the engines were differnet to what I expected and I think that made me slighlty nervous, but i really was fine for the most part and just ridiculously eager to get home.  I think flying back is sometimes harder as you just want to be home, now!

All things considered the actual flying was great.  Lovely days to fly and I dont really remember any bumps except when we were coming into land.  It was windy on both landings but to be honest my boss, who is a frequent flyer to places like Cuba and Canada, thought it was worse than i did.  I came off the trip thinking that maybe this time I had really cracked it. I had sat by myself on both flights, enjoying my trip mostly, and though my boss was somewhere on the plane, there was pretty much no communication between us at all.  In fact, apart from a smile and a nod in the Berlin airport on the way back, the first time i spoke to him that day was Glasgow.

So i reckon you could call that one a success.  In fact an unbridalled success.  I was ready to throw away the tag, shelf the books, and start the final chapter of the book on how i overcame a fear of flying.

I think that having to recall this has helped a little - maybe more so in a couple of days.  I can almost remember how well it went.  Sadly at the moment it feels like a differnet person. As I said I have a flight in 3weeks - by myself to NY (big plane) and quebec (little plane), there and back again - for work, and I have just booked it, so I am feeling rather spooked.  Hoping it is just a blip and come the day I will rock it like i did the last time, and the time before that to Barca; and before that to San Diego (via London, Phoenix and LAX); and before that to NYC, etc, etc.  All those were with others at some stage and I sure wish someone else was with me this time - despite clearly proving that I can do it all by myself (at least on 2 to 3hour flights). Maybe I just have to start making frinds in airports.  ;-)

 

Keep fighting people.  We can all get there together.

Thanks again to everyone for their help, and maybe keep the eyes peeled for another post in the coming days.

 

cheers

phil

 

I think that is something I need to start focusing on - the achievements.  I find it really hard to do that though.  Instead of looking back and seeing all the times I have flown over the past say 4 years now, and how I have coped, I tend to just say well what if, or put the success on someone else.

Thanks for your post though, it reminded me that you had posted about a turbulent flight recently.  I watched your movie as well just there and read the post and I would be lying if i didnt feel some apprehension at the moment, but at least it gives me something to aim at and work on.  I think because my last flight was so smooth as far as I remember I think I have somewhat forgotten how to cope in turbulence.  All the mantras - "not dangerous, just uncomfortable" - and the breathing.  But maybe if i focus on that and start trying to desensitise myself, then some of my worries will face.  The truth is I know I can do it.  One of my flights from Barcelona last year was quite turbulent for what felt like the whole 2 hours, but the pilot was reassuring over the tannoy and i just sat there and breathed and did muscle relaxation for the whole journey.  Didnt love it, but got through it right?  I just kind of find myself wondering in a weird way - how bad does it get normally or even unusually.  Then again, maybe I never need to know this, and then again maybe I already do know this and have been through it and coped.  Kind of weird right?

But like you say we have to keep it up.  I havent had a nightmare in a long time about flying - bad thoughts yes, but nightmares no - and that is one of the things my wife says she uses to know I am improving. And yeah, this trip it would have been easy to take the 12hr and a bit train journey to Quebec from NY and back.  But that wouldnt achieve anything and I would probably just sit their wishing I had flown.

So yeah, onwards and upwards, and face things head on.  Perhaps just believing in ourselves, and in flying, is the key. As for my upcoming trip, I have 3weeks to find my strength again, knowing I can do this and that I want to do this.  As for your trip, I am so happy for you that things are improving, and you should be so proud of yourself for the flights you have done.  Ok you cried a little, but look at yourself getting right back on another flight.  That is truly amazing.  Keep working it and we will achieve together right?

 

p

Hey

you know reading those last couple of posts really reminded me of how i felt before my last flight.  It was a short 2hrs from glasgow to berlin and back, but I totally started thinking, "look, my fear and worry isnt going to affect the flight one way or the other.  I know I am going to take the flight. So I may as well get on and enjoy my life before the flight, instead of worrying about something that is highly unlikely to come".  The way you said it was better, but it was so the same thought.  Especially the bit about being on the plane and just going with it, etc.  I think part of the problem is that up until you are on the plane and doing it, you still have that choice of running the other way.  Or at least you feel that you still have that choice.  Sometimes i tell myself that maybe I wont go, or maybe I will just see how I feel when i get to the airport, or when I get to the gate.  Really I should be saying, I am going to go on my trip and that is that - now I can worry about it, or I can get on with the journals/book chapters/talks/posters that I need to get done before i go.  Hell, with all the students I need to see as well, I really dont know how i fit all this time in for worrying.

 

U have 11 days to have fun, I have 22 days to get all my work done and get rested and relaxed.  I think we can work together and keep each other focussed.  Perhaps with a little persuasion from the good Captain, ;-)  Step one, get some  decent sleep tonight.

I will end on a funny thing:  this morning i contemplated booking a flight to anywhere today, somewhere close, like dublin or london.  Just to prove i could do it.  Why was it funny?  Because i am willing to get on a plane that i dont need to get on to prove to myself that i can get on a plane i need to get on.  Made me chuckle at least.

 

p

Confidence blip. Today I was driving a relative and before I knew it they were telling me about an incident on a flight. Even though the words they used to describe it tells me that they have a big part of their information wrong, it still shook me. Ultimately the flight they told me about ended safely, but I just couldn't stop visualizing it. And me in it. 

So annoyed/angry/frustrated/worried now today. What makes it worse was that a little bit of me had even started getting excited about seeing NY and Quebec. So up and down with this at the moment and the worrying - which is causing the anger and frustration. Feel all I do now is think about the flying and there is still just under three weeks to go. I am wasting time that could be being enjoyed. My last few flights all I seemed to doubt was my strength to do it, but now I feel i am doubting my belief in the safety. 

Hopefully I will recover soon from this blip. I just want to do it and believe it will all be fine - or at least not care. But I would rather believe. 

P

Phil said:

Hey

you know reading those last couple of posts really reminded me of how i felt before my last flight.  It was a short 2hrs from glasgow to berlin and back, but I totally started thinking, "look, my fear and worry isnt going to affect the flight one way or the other.  I know I am going to take the flight. So I may as well get on and enjoy my life before the flight, instead of worrying about something that is highly unlikely to come".  The way you said it was better, but it was so the same thought.  Especially the bit about being on the plane and just going with it, etc.  I think part of the problem is that up until you are on the plane and doing it, you still have that choice of running the other way.  Or at least you feel that you still have that choice.  Sometimes i tell myself that maybe I wont go, or maybe I will just see how I feel when i get to the airport, or when I get to the gate.  Really I should be saying, I am going to go on my trip and that is that - now I can worry about it, or I can get on with the journals/book chapters/talks/posters that I need to get done before i go.  Hell, with all the students I need to see as well, I really dont know how i fit all this time in for worrying.

 

U have 11 days to have fun, I have 22 days to get all my work done and get rested and relaxed.  I think we can work together and keep each other focussed.  Perhaps with a little persuasion from the good Captain, ;-)  Step one, get some  decent sleep tonight.

I will end on a funny thing:  this morning i contemplated booking a flight to anywhere today, somewhere close, like dublin or london.  Just to prove i could do it.  Why was it funny?  Because i am willing to get on a plane that i dont need to get on to prove to myself that i can get on a plane i need to get on.  Made me chuckle at least.

 

p

Hey
You haven't seen my car? Only joking - my car is barely roadworthy.  ;-)

Your post definitely helps and gives me something to think about. I suppose it didn't help that I was driving at the time - so my alertness would have been up. Then I just got stuck focussing on it and others like AF. Got in a rut. Funnily enough, not long after posting and expressing what I felt, I started to come round a bit. Saw the blips in safety for what they were - compared to all the thousand of flights that have no incident. For example, even I know that all the flights that I have been on recently weren't lucky. They were just facts of flying - I.e. Mundane and safe. 

I like your idea of visualizing coping on the plane and sitting their happy. I need to spend a couple of days on that and take it from there. 

Cheers for all the words. As you know it really helps. I hope to return the favour one day - but for now please take your strength by encouraging me. 

Keep going yeah? We are getting there. 

P

Zsuzsanna said:

Hey Phil,

 

It's okay to doubt sometimes!! Trust that it will pass and that soon enough you'll feel confident again. Give yourself a chance - it takes time, you're doing great!

 

I'm still doing good -- flight is in 8 days (and counting!). Whenever I think about it, my first thought is I am scared and hate flying and don't really want to fly, but as soon as I start thinking like that, I get this image I'm gradually developing through hypnosis and guided meditation CDs, with me getting on the plane feeling all confident and safe and happy as if I were getting on a train or a bus, like a "professional" who is used to flying and doesn't mind it at all. It helps to imagine I'm "already there" in a plane -- in Atlanta I hear planes flying in the sky all the time, so I just play this mental game where I imagine I'm in one of those, and sure enough they aren't crashing all the time. If you imagine being in the plane every time you see or hear one (which is a LOT of times and you only see a tiny fraction of all of them!), you begin to think of flying as a more "normal" thing.

 

You know, even the thing your relative was telling you about is probably "normal". I have experienced several times that the pilot told us something was wrong with the plane before takeoff, and engineers came to fix them - all those times I started thinking "what if something else is also wrong which they don't know about" but that kind of thinking is really grabbing the wrong end of the stick, so to speak. Planes are very complicated machines and things can and will go wrong with them, but the "essential" functions are really quite simple (just remember the simplicity of the first plane of the Wright brothers! http://www.old-picture.com/wright-brothers/Wright-Brothers-Airplane...). So just because one thing or another is wrong, it will not just fall out of the sky! However, the strict safety regulations mean that it isn't allowed to take off or keep flying even if the smallest thing is found to be wrong with it. And that's why they make a big deal out of it and fix it straight away, not because it would surely crash if you kept flying.

 

Plus there is just so much stuff in a plane that is designed to protect you even if something goes wrong... In a way, by far most plane incidents should be encouraging to us rather than discouraging -- survival of all passengers is by far the "norm" even if incidents happen, most of the time the passengers wouldn't even notice something went wrong if they weren't told of it. Just think about it - in "recent" incidents (ie. the past few *YEARS*, these are SO RARE), a plane's engine exploded and it made a huge gaping hole in its fuselage and wing, NO INJURIES; another plane's engines were involved in a double bird-strike and it landed on a river and there were NO INJURIES; yet another plane landed on grass with closed landing gears and there were NO INJURIES (okay there were 6 "minor injuries", they probably got a bruise? people just reported the landing felt "harder than normal"). Engine fires and cabin depressurizations also happen sometimes and there are NO INJURIES by far most of the time. These aren't the "miracle" events the media makes them out to be, but rather the "expected" ones in case of an incident. The planes are designed so sturdy, regulations are so strict and the pilots are trained so well that a) incidents are extremely unlikely in the first place b) survival in case of incidents is still expected, it is the norm rather than the miracle. People will always tell you scare stories, but we need to take that with a pinch of salt... My roommate was telling me the other day how one of her flights (many years ago) had to make an emergency landing because there was apparently "smoke in the cabin", but she (and most passengers) didn't even see or smell it... 

 

So instead of thinking of "how many things can go wrong", we should appreciate that most of the complexity in a plane is actually there for our safety and comfort. We really are safer in a plane than in a car, even if it's hard to believe sometimes!

 

There's no magic I'm afraid....just facing it.

 

But we're all behind you and thinking of you

 

Captain Keith

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