Hi All, I've always been nervous a tiny bit during takeoff. I used to just concentrate on visualizing the plane as if it was stuck to a wire going up like a gondola, oddly feeling that if I did this I could help prevent anything from going wrong. I don't know why but Asiana flight 214 that crashed in San Francisco in 2013 spooked me about flying. I had been scheduled to fly through San Francisco that day and of course everything became chaos. I ended up being rerouted, flying to Colorado then Texas before finally getting to California. All that week I was in California I watched videos of plane crashes and researched air disasters - WRONG thing to do, and I knew it as I was doing it but couldn't help myself. During my takeoff to get back home I was in tears, gripping the seat in front of me and was sure I was about to die at every moment. I'd started taking Ativan since then to deal with the anxiety but recently read that this can actually make the fear worse. This makes sense as I've flown average 2 flights per year since and the anxiety just never fades, requiring more and more Ativan. I flew to Costa Rica and back in early September without the Ativan - I don't want to do anything that would make my fear any worse. Whereas with the medication I would feel fine in the airport and while waiting to taxi, without it I got bouts of heart-pounding so bad that I could look down and see my stomach and chest jerking with every beat of my heart. I just try to breathe through these and they would recede, but then in 10 minutes another one would come on. I don't have it as bad as some people do as I'm still able to actually get myself on a plane, but I'm so afraid of this getting worse to the point where I can't do it anymore. I used to love traveling and now I'm starting to feel like it's not worth the stress and anxiety, I'd almost rather stay home.

I've heard that exposure to flying is supposed to reduce the fear, but I find that's not what's happening. I feel like it's really not getting any better. For my flight down to Costa Rica, I watched a lot of cockpit videos and did some research on flight procedures, how planes fly, etc. and was able to calm myself somewhat, and I remember thinking shortly after the takeoff, "well that wasn't TOO bad". But for some reason on the return flight, the takeoff was quite nerve wracking. And I even started getting those heart-pounding attacks the day before the flight, which has never happened before. I'm probably going to fly again in February for work and I guess I'm just disappointed that each flight is not ending up better than the last. What am I doing wrong? I've ordered Keith's book and I really hope it can help.

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Hi Laura

You're not doing anything wrong ... you're just being you. However if you need to overcome your fear, or at least manage it ,you'll have to do things differently. Defo stop looking at crash videos!!!

stop Being disappointed and say to yourself ... the next ten flights are going to be like the last ones but no worse. 

The the ten flight after that day to yourself I'm going to try to improve on each one ... just a tiny bit each time.

In other words stop beating yourself up and stop aiming for something you you're not ready to reach yet.

What a pity you thought it wasn't too bad on one flight and ignore that triumph but focus on the one that didn't go so well. WELL DONE YOU FOR THE GOOD FLIGHT!!!

Give yourself a rest from criticism  and accept that you hate flying ... the bill of rights doesn't say you've got to enjoy flying ... take a rest recover some energy make a plan be confident and then after that we'll set about getting a strategy. 

take small steps!

Captain Keith

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