Hi everyone

In three days I am due to fly to Taiwan again (this time via Paris). I have a considerable amount of stress at work and it would be nice if looking forward to the upcoming vacation could make it a bit easier. But ironically, I even additionally feel stressed out about the flight...  that is upsetting!

Last year was a successful flying year: I took several flights after I refused to board a flight on two occasions. The nagging anticipatory anxiety is back, although later than usual - maybe I should reframe this as a success.

And: The comments on the B777 by Keith were really helpful. Thank you!

A lesson I can learn from this is: I should generally reduce the stress level in my life; not an easy task with a family with two kids, a job, and attending a postgraduate program at the university ...

Patrik

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Hello Patrik, good to see you on here not giving in to the fear again.

I'm considering flying with family this Easter but am doing a great job of sitting on the fence as usual. What's going through my mind at the moment - the rational 'parental' voice as I think of it - is, 'Are the consequences of not flying worse than actually flying and getting all the wonderful things that are likely to occur as a result?'

If I don't fly, I feel like I'm going to tread the same path for another year, be in the same relationship with  my anxiety about flying and other areas of my life, and deny my family opportunities for fun, adventure, learning etc.

My emotional 'child' voice of course is saying 'what if,' and making up lots of movie ideas about flying. I'm hoping, if we do fly somewhere, I'll be able to focus on other people, in the present, especially my chidren who've never flown, and connect with my parental voice rather than the child-like one. My daughter's worried about the feeling of speed, so I tell her it's like travelling on a fast train while taking off and landing, but other than that you don't notice it. When I hear this adult voice, especially out loud, it feels good, and I start to feel like I can manage this after all!

I wish you all the best Patrik with your mental challenge - you're not alone! In the meantime, here are a couple of links to videos I've found pretty incredible and good at getting in touch with reality!

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/chris_hadfield_what_i_learned_from_going_b...

 

and,

 

http://nats.aero/blog/2014/03/europe-24-air-traffic-data-visualisat...   (video half way down page - amazing!)

 

hi patrick.....hey chris...great video's by the way...again...i can only say i was exactly like both of you...i had every excuse not to fly....i even tried convincing myself holidays were just as good in England (they are not)...then the choice really came....it was flying....regularly....or take another job (just as good pay) but doing the same old thing.....now i fly probably 6 times a month (recently 6 times in a week)...and i've spent time in countless other countries...even crossed from asia to europe in a day in a single city...how cool is that.

40000 flights every day...nobody dies.......2 people are killed every minute on the roads.....look...i know you know all of this....and so did i but i was still a fearful flyer...but when you fly a lot (and i'm still ALWAYS a little nervous at take off) you start to understand that they do things the same...every single time...the follow the same path...the do the same checks...they talk in the same manner....as the NATs video shows....its a beautifully complex ballet in the sky...and every single step is taken because its planned.

i'll leave you with this.....i dont fly around the world because the living of life is more important than life itself (do a youtube search for 'dont look down' if you want to see people with that attitude) and neither do pilots and cabin crew....I do it because i've chosen to BELIEVE in myself and BELIEVE that flying is safe.

hope it goes well...dont let it win!

Hi David

Thanks for your reply and your encouraging words (and the interesting videos)! That's exactly what I need now. I can relate very well to what you wrote. I will fly back on Easter Sunday. Maybe you will also be up in the sky ...

Preparations this time went really well. The first leg will start shortly after 7a. We have already checked your baggage. I am not too nervous at the moment, I will take a Xanax and then go to bed ...

I will post here how it went when in Taiwan.
I wish that you can make your Easter flying project real!!! I will be happy to participate in your discussion on this board with the title "Easter flying project" :-).

Patrik



David Wragg said:

Hello Patrik, good to see you on here not giving in to the fear again.

I'm considering flying with family this Easter but am doing a great job of sitting on the fence as usual. What's going through my mind at the moment - the rational 'parental' voice as I think of it - is, 'Are the consequences of not flying worse than actually flying and getting all the wonderful things that are likely to occur as a result?'

If I don't fly, I feel like I'm going to tread the same path for another year, be in the same relationship with  my anxiety about flying and other areas of my life, and deny my family opportunities for fun, adventure, learning etc.

My emotional 'child' voice of course is saying 'what if,' and making up lots of movie ideas about flying. I'm hoping, if we do fly somewhere, I'll be able to focus on other people, in the present, especially my chidren who've never flown, and connect with my parental voice rather than the child-like one. My daughter's worried about the feeling of speed, so I tell her it's like travelling on a fast train while taking off and landing, but other than that you don't notice it. When I hear this adult voice, especially out loud, it feels good, and I start to feel like I can manage this after all!

I wish you all the best Patrik with your mental challenge - you're not alone! In the meantime, here are a couple of links to videos I've found pretty incredible and good at getting in touch with reality!

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/chris_hadfield_what_i_learned_from_going_b...

 

and,

 

http://nats.aero/blog/2014/03/europe-24-air-traffic-data-visualisat...   (video half way down page - amazing!)

 

Hi Andy

Thank you for your inspiring post! In particular, I like your last sentence: I also think the heart of the problem is, or should I say, the solution to the problem is choice and trust/belief.

Patrik



andyb99 said:

hi patrick.....hey chris...great video's by the way...again...i can only say i was exactly like both of you...i had every excuse not to fly....i even tried convincing myself holidays were just as good in England (they are not)...then the choice really came....it was flying....regularly....or take another job (just as good pay) but doing the same old thing.....now i fly probably 6 times a month (recently 6 times in a week)...and i've spent time in countless other countries...even crossed from asia to europe in a day in a single city...how cool is that.

40000 flights every day...nobody dies.......2 people are killed every minute on the roads.....look...i know you know all of this....and so did i but i was still a fearful flyer...but when you fly a lot (and i'm still ALWAYS a little nervous at take off) you start to understand that they do things the same...every single time...the follow the same path...the do the same checks...they talk in the same manner....as the NATs video shows....its a beautifully complex ballet in the sky...and every single step is taken because its planned.

i'll leave you with this.....i dont fly around the world because the living of life is more important than life itself (do a youtube search for 'dont look down' if you want to see people with that attitude) and neither do pilots and cabin crew....I do it because i've chosen to BELIEVE in myself and BELIEVE that flying is safe.

hope it goes well...dont let it win!

you are welcome....and...by point of making my point....that chris hadfield video that DAVID posted (sorry david i was multitasking and i'm not great at that) is a total case of living life being more important than life itself. he knew the risks...and chose to take them....we dont fly because the risk is worth it....we fly because the risk is so tiny!!    theres a big difference....good luck

Very interesting to hear your story Andy - it does put me at ease knowing that people fly often, and safely. I do think we fly because the risk is worth it, but I think that's what you're saying anyway when you say the risk is so tiny.

I agree that Chris Hadfield was certainly choosing to live life first, given the opportunity he had. I often think that I'm perceiving my risk on a flight in a similar way to an astronaut travelling in a rocket, but now I know the risk of disaster used to be 1 in 38(?) I can't really compare them now!

Looking forward to hearing about your trips Patrik!

Hi David....yeah you are right...but i'm saying mostly...that you should see people who climb tall buildings...or jump out of planes....or handglide...or race motorcycles through streets...as people who take risks because the risks are worth it.....so there is a tendency to say...i'll fly to new york...because new york is worth the risk....while its true that new york is worth travelling to....its not true that the RISK is there....its like saying i'll put sugar in my coffee because the sweetness is worth the risk....sugar kills a lot more people than flying does.

as i've said...dont get me wrong...im nervous at take off....i'm finding i relax more and more now,landing used to get to me...but now when they say we are starting final approach...seats for landing etc....i just tell myself this bit is going to be bumpy (clouds etc)..so i expect that...and they would not say seats for landing if everything wasn't alright and in place ready to do it!

HiI am now in Taipei, Taiwan!

Although I kept flying despite of my fear, my fear increased over the years. Seemingly without any reason. I did not have any potentially scary flying experience such as severe turbulence or a go around. That was paradoxical to me as anxiety should become smaller after exposure (so the theory). Since I began to approach flying differently after I avoided a couple of times, it gets better with every flight. To cut a long story short: These two flights went just as well as the last one from San Francisco to Zurich. I have to admit that I use Xanax in addition to mindfulness techniques and positive selfinstructions. If I keep coping as well as recently, I will give it a shot without Xanax. First on I shorter flight within Europe.I am excited about having made it once again. The excitement is not as big anymore as after previous flights because it seems that flying has become more normal and less spectacular to me. That's a good thing.

So now I go out with my wife to a nice little café and enjoy the spirit of Taipei ... :-)

Patrik

Nice one Patrik. I'm excited you made it once again :-)

Thanks David! Any news on your project?

Patrik

David Wragg said:

Nice one Patrik. I'm excited you made it once again :-)

I'm flying to Venice at the end of next month. That's a certainty, because my partner is looking forward to it and I'm not going to let her down. Right now I'm trying to shake off tonsilitis so am not sure about going anywhere too soon, but I am keeping an eye on flights and stuff for next week just in case things fall into place. I'll keep you posted :-)

Hi David

Your words clearly express a commitment for the end of May! That's great! I have been to Venice once (by driving :-), and it is an awesome place to be. I hope that you will get well soon, and maybe plan a practice flight ... to Zurich ;-) Yes, keep me posted. I will also post again when my return flights approach ...

Already before the last flights, I kept rating my distress in terms of subjective units of discomfort (SUD: 0 - 10, 10 highest discomfort). That was very helpful because, like that, I noticed that my anticipatory anxiety was not continuously increasing, but was fluctuating. In the morning it was regularly as high as 6 and dropped down to 3 in the evening, even on the evening before the flight. So I know that even if the SUD is high, it will lower again, or I can lower it with mindfulness (and can check if the technique works). I continue to monitor it during the flight. Monitoring itself is in a way a mindfulness activity as it creates a distance to the experience itself ...

Patrik



David Wragg said:

I'm flying to Venice at the end of next month. That's a certainty, because my partner is looking forward to it and I'm not going to let her down. Right now I'm trying to shake off tonsilitis so am not sure about going anywhere too soon, but I am keeping an eye on flights and stuff for next week just in case things fall into place. I'll keep you posted :-)

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