I hate flying, hate. I hate walking through that corridor and walking in the little door of the plane. I feel as if I am voluntarily walking towards my own death. I hate the smell, the seats people getting situated, and waiting for the dreaded take off. I feel like i want to run off the plane. I have flown quite a bit and it seems to be getting worse with age- I am 29. I watch the flight attendants like hawks...i never relax or sleep i cant concentrate on anything..Watching that video of turbulence just made me never want to step on a plane again. it is the worst feeling ever!!1 I have to fly to Punta Cana onFriday and i am dreading it..dreading..

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People say that flying is the safest way to travel and statistically it is. But in a car if you get in a crash there is chance that you survive. In a plane no way. I always think that the people on the Sept 11th flights were all sitting and thinking that flying was the safest way to go, or even any plane that crashed. I cant control my thoughts. I do not want to go on this trip!!!!!!!!!!
I know how you feel. I feel the same, i panick if the seat belt lights come on - even more so if there is no turbulence as then i'm wondering why have the lights come on... But try to imagine you are on an air highway, sitting on a cushion of air - (there's something about an air cushion in Captain Keith's dvd). And that the plane is capable of much more than it's currently doing - going faster, climbing steeper, flying at lower speeds, turning steeper, but you're flying way within it's safety limits and it's capable of much more. I should be telling myself this as i'm not looking forward to two upcoming flights - one turboprop and then a jumbo. Why turbulence bother you? It's just some rough air like rough sea - plane can cope. My dad was on a little prop once and he chucked his coffee over the person behind him due to turbulence - they were more worried about being burnt than crashing!
Hi Francesca,
Your description of boarding the plane and the associated anxiety perfectly describes the feelings I have each time I fly. But you're heading off on Friday so there's not much time to absorb a lot of stuff about relaxation techniques and understanding fears and phobias etc. However, I hope the following is of some help.

I think the choice we face is quite straightforward: do we let the fear seriously curtail our lives or do we learn to accept it and work at overcoming it? Try to view Friday's flight as a practice for you and not as a test. The deep breathing and muscle relaxation techniques can be learned and understood in a matter of minutes and are of great help before and during the flight. Severe tensioning of muscles only exacerbates the feelings of anxiety so learning how to reduce this will also help reduce anxiety. I think these are described somewhere on the site but if not, any one of hundreds of websites on relaxation techniques will provide the relevant information very quickly. Checkout the various short videos on the site for information on airplane "noises" and flight procedures (including the "dings" and "dongs" and "whirring" noises made by the undercarriage and wing flaps etc). Turi tells a good bit about this and her calmness is very re-assuring.

You didn't say why you are flying but I'm assuming its for holidays. If so, remember there's a great payofff when you arrive so focus on the positives. Also learn from the practice of Friday's flight. For future reference, read and learn as much as you can about dealing with phobias and anxiety. Knowing whats going on mentally and physiologically is, I think, a great help. There's oceans of stuff available these days - in book format, on this site and on the web generally. Try the best you can on Friday and focus on the positive (e.g start of holiday etc.) and look on the flight as a first step to regaining control over that aspect of your life. Also, I find that quietly letting a cabin crew member know about your anxiety is a very helpful thing. Those folks are very experienced in these matters and they will discretely help reassure you during the flight without making a big song and dance about it in front of other passengers. There's absolutely no shame in asking for this assistance and cabin crews are, in my experience, most willing to help out. I hope this is of some help and I wish you every success on Friday - even if you have to "white knuckle" it - you will have been successful . It is better to begin to face this fear than let it dominate you and I'm sure in time you will overcome it completely. In my day, most GP's knew very little about anxiety and phobia conditions and the consequent effects on peoples' lives. You are a young woman with endless possibilities ahead of you. So take advantage of all the help and information available today and have a wonderful life. Good luck and best wishes. - Frank Edwards.
Thank you for your words, it is so helpful to be around people who understand what i am going through and not react like i am stark raving mad. I will def try my breathing techniques..i know some because i get panic attacks in other situations as well...surprise surprise.. I bring wood on the plane with me..so i can knock on it if i have a bad thought...i cant tell you how many times i have been teased about this but i never fly without it and i make my dad take the wood when he flys. I am trying not to get all nervous but i really do not want to go. I am lazy to deal with this whole damn thing! I am going bc one of my good friends is getting married in Septemeber and she wants one more vacation before the she walks down the aisle..but she doesnt want to take off to many days because she wants to save her vk days for her honeymoon so we are leaving friday and coming back monday! Soooo annoying..i have to fly so close together...i just hope im ok..thanks again

Francis Patrick Edwards said:
Hi Francesca,
Your description of boarding the plane and the associated anxiety perfectly describes the feelings I have each time I fly. But you're heading off on Friday so there's not much time to absorb a lot of stuff about relaxation techniques and understanding fears and phobias etc. However, I hope the following is of some help.

I think the choice we face is quite straightforward: do we let the fear seriously curtail our lives or do we learn to accept it and work at overcoming it? Try to view Friday's flight as a practice for you and not as a test. The deep breathing and muscle relaxation techniques can be learned and understood in a matter of minutes and are of great help before and during the flight. Severe tensioning of muscles only exacerbates the feelings of anxiety so learning how to reduce this will also help reduce anxiety. I think these are described somewhere on the site but if not, any one of hundreds of websites on relaxation techniques will provide the relevant information very quickly. Checkout the various short videos on the site for information on airplane "noises" and flight procedures (including the "dings" and "dongs" and "whirring" noises made by the undercarriage and wing flaps etc). Turi tells a good bit about this and her calmness is very re-assuring.

You didn't say why you are flying but I'm assuming its for holidays. If so, remember there's a great payofff when you arrive so focus on the positives. Also learn from the practice of Friday's flight. For future reference, read and learn as much as you can about dealing with phobias and anxiety. Knowing whats going on mentally and physiologically is, I think, a great help. There's oceans of stuff available these days - in book format, on this site and on the web generally. Try the best you can on Friday and focus on the positive (e.g start of holiday etc.) and look on the flight as a first step to regaining control over that aspect of your life. Also, I find that quietly letting a cabin crew member know about your anxiety is a very helpful thing. Those folks are very experienced in these matters and they will discretely help reassure you during the flight without making a big song and dance about it in front of other passengers. There's absolutely no shame in asking for this assistance and cabin crews are, in my experience, most willing to help out. I hope this is of some help and I wish you every success on Friday - even if you have to "white knuckle" it - you will have been successful . It is better to begin to face this fear than let it dominate you and I'm sure in time you will overcome it completely. In my day, most GP's knew very little about anxiety and phobia conditions and the consequent effects on peoples' lives. You are a young woman with endless possibilities ahead of you. So take advantage of all the help and information available today and have a wonderful life. Good luck and best wishes. - Frank Edwards.
Thanks to all the responded..it makes me feel better to know i am not alone..I am just dreading this trip.
Hi Francesca,
Its a pleasure to write and try to provide some support for you. Thats the great thing I find about this site. You are not alone and I hope we can hear a little about your great weekend when you get back. Have a great time with your friends and "let your hair down" as they say. I suspected you might be prone to panic attacks and ....NO ....you are not lazy about tackling it and related issues with flying. Avoiding situations where we feel panicky is par for the course and quite "normal" for anxiety sufferers. Taking the wood is a great idea and use it as often as you think necessary. Generalised anxiety and panic disorder was something I suffered with for over twenty years (mainly during the 70's an 80's). It was only towards the latter half of the 80's when I began to get some help and there was more and more information becoming available both generally and particularly within the medical profession. I found meditation and relaxation exercises a tremendous help. If you have ever looked at any of this stuff, you may be interested in a video (free on you tube) of a talk to google staff by Dr. John Kabat-Zinn. Its about an hour long and is fascinating and well worth a look. The essential point I want to get across is that you DON'T have to restrict your life and your potential because of anxiety and panic. Those complaints severely restricted my life for too many years. I am now "cured" of it in virtually all respects. I still get panicky and anxious when flying (am also still a bit phobic about high buildings but thats getting better too). When I first went to the medics about my panic/anxiety symptoms they looked at me like I was a "bit strange" and probably having some form of teenage angst. The result, as you can imagine, was that I saw myself in the same light (i.e. a failure of sorts) and tried for years to cope alone - battling very hard to appear "normal" in crowds, shops or in places that I was unfamiliar with. The situation today is very different and these conditions are much more recognised and lots of help available. Developments such as the 24/7 Logbook site by Capt. Keith and his colleagues are testament to this. When you pack your suitcase and head to the airport you'll have already taken several positive steps and give yourself a pat on the back as you complete each stage of the process. Focus on the good time that you'll have and when you get home give yourself a major accolade for having made the trip. Enjoy the weekend, be well, be happy - there's a great life to be lived and savour every second of it. - Best wishes. Frank Edwards.
I'm getting realy scared...I am lying in bed I can't sleep...I'm reallly scared.
People say that flying is the safest way to travel and statistically it is. But in a car if you get in a crash there is chance that you survive. In a plane no way.

Actually in many crashes, especially since most occur on take-off or landing, there is a chance to survive also.

I understand the feeling, because the safety of air travel is counter-intuitive. You are after all flying, nothing holding you to the ground. Every bump or drop in turbulence has more "power" than the equivalent bump on a car, in an elevator, or on a boat. Plus there is little visual indicator of speed, so that when you do feel turbulence you react all of a sudden. You have to train your mind to think of flying like you probably do about driving or similar.

Also the aggregate of car crashes aren't noticed as much as the rare, but made for TV news plane crashes. And we all probably read and watch news of plane crashes way more than we should. SO I suspect you have, like I have, and a lot of people here have, a movie in their heads in which we star in the air disaster epic. That vivid visual movie is burned on our psyche. But it isn't accurate. We have to train ourselves to distinguish reality from our own Hollywood epics.

What helps for me is imagining the air around me, visualizing it. visualizing the air getting compressed around the wings as I slice through it. so I visualize the plane in the air as a plane being in a medium, at least as thick as water, and as I move through this "air-water" rough air-seas are natural. Can't say I like it and I am not always successful, but it has helped. Have had to take a lot of long-distance flights for work recently, and have another one coming up, so I am practicing my "air-sea" visualizations. Counting to 80, and concentrating on the counting when I hit turbulence helps. I rarely have to count to 80 more than a few times. Visualizing the pilots in the cockpit during turbulence, totally in control, calm, but trying to get to smoother air for *my* comfort helps.

And may I reiterate that you are not "lazy." Believe me, I ordered Captain Keith's tapes about a day before I had to fly long distance for work. No hope of course of it making trans-atlantic before my flight, but I did get a lot of good use from the podcasts. If anything the voice of the actor is smooth and calming.

Also as others have said already, tell the pilot and cabin crew. They won't make fun of you , and let me tell you, just hearing the re-assurances from the people actually flying the plane makes a lot of difference. And tell your friends. I don't know if they know (might be different for women in how easily it is to admit phobia) but if they tell them, and demand that they help you on both flights. If they're true friends they will.

Love the taking wood idea. For some reason I take a hand-held compass and pack a watch in my carry on, even though I am wearing a watch. Feels good to have them in there.

I hope by now you are already in the D.R. with rum in hand.
Dear Francesca....

Many people on those planes, many people in the twin towers acted with amazing bravery and calmness. Maybe we owe them some courage and carry on normally. I'm sure their relatives would want us to show that we won't let our lives be ruined by such acts. Time to face the fear.

Well if it's safer it's safer, You can't pick and choose the bits you want to believe. People do survive air crashes. And people do die in car crashes. But tell me when the next air crash will be? Which flight will it be? Where is it going to? how many people on board? What are the reasons?

The next car crash will be today. In the UK in The USA in any country in the world. More poeople die in one year on the roads in the USA than have ever died in the history of aviation

Whu oh why are you torturing yourself with thoughts about 9.11. It's clearly not helping you...in fact it gets you into the state you're in.

And 9.11 is over. Today is today. Tomorrow is tomorrow.

People going into hospital expect to be cured but many die. They realise there's a risk but they undergo the treatment because .....

In the UK cross infection and illnesses that people contract while in hospital from kills more people than we do on the roads. And that's no doubt true through out the world. People die falling off ladders being kicked by horses bitten my snakes..the world is a dangerous place. But when it comes to travelling, flying is the safest way to do it.

Finally no-one knows what it's like to die, but there's a lot of evidence to show that it's not as terrifying as most of us can imagine. Many people on those planes, many people in the twin towers acted with amazing bravery and calmness. Maybe we owe them some courage and carry on normally. I'm sure their relatives would want us to show that we won't let our lives be ruined by such acts. Time to face the fear.

Captain Keith
Hey you did it.

HOW FANTASTIC IS THAT?

You have my total respect for feeling as you did and facing that fear of yours. That's what I call courage, real courage.

I'm sorry that I was so blunt in my previous message. I hope that you know that regardless of why I sound like I will only ever say things that are appropriate. It's not a question of being unfeeling or unsympathetic or being without empathy...it's because I want you to succeed.

Hang on to what you did and ALWAYS remember that you did it. You did it because you faced your fear. No-one else did it for you...your fear, your cure, it belongs to you and no-one else

WELL DONE AGAIN

Keith
Thanks Captain Keith! I appreciate your saying that. I have to face my fears again tomorrow, but i am trying to get some control and not let my thoughts go crazy. I will let you all know how i make out when i get home. I am scared but i am determined to deal with it...and no worries...i know you were telling it like it is..your frankness makes me feel better..

Captain Keith said:
Hey you did it.

HOW FANTASTIC IS THAT?

You have my total respect for feeling as you did and facing that fear of yours. That's what I call courage, real courage.

I'm sorry that I was so blunt in my previous message. I hope that you know that regardless of why I sound like I will only ever say things that are appropriate. It's not a question of being unfeeling or unsympathetic or being without empathy...it's because I want you to succeed.

Hang on to what you did and ALWAYS remember that you did it. You did it because you faced your fear. No-one else did it for you...your fear, your cure, it belongs to you and no-one else

WELL DONE AGAIN

Keith

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