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I'm Stephanie, a 30 year old teacher, and I have been dealing with a fear of flying for 18 years.
I developed this fear at the age of 12 after having flown over fifty times: I used to fly from LA to SF to visit my dad twice a month. After my father moved out of state flying began to terrify me. Many therapists have told me that this was a displaced fear....The flight from LA to Minnesota represented my father's increased physical distance from my life and manifested itself in a flying phobia. In any case I began to be terrified by something I used to find enjoyable. In the years since my fear has waxed and waned. It was very manageable for most of my twenties but since meeting my husband four years ago I have found the fear has returned with aplomb. I currently live in Australia and have to return to the US at least once a year to visit family. I find the long plane ride, over water, at night to be intolerable. Being suspended in the dark with no control, is super scary to me. On our last flight over the Pacific I was crying hysterically, shaking, sick to my stomach, certain we would die, even though I have now flown successfully over 200 times. I actually love air travel and airplanes and am sick over how this irrational fear has destroyed this for me. I am also very fearful about an upcoming trip to the US in September. I will travel without my husband for the first time and am very worried about controlling my panic on the flight. This website was referred to me by a therapist and I'm so happy it exists. It's great to know that I'm not alone in my fear (friends and family make me feel like a loony tunes sometimes), and also it is so comforting to see the stories of others who have successfully faced their fears and even managed to enjoy their flights. Thank you Captain Keith for your support as well as the other fearful flyers who have shared their stories and support here.