have just joined the site after watching Keiths DVD and have bought the book (but not yet read). Am going to New York on 5 September with my husband , daughter (25) and son (18). This is the first ever family holiday abroad together. I was diagnosed with breast cancer when my son was 5 months old and I feel so happy  to still  be here and to be going with them, but at the same time I am terrified.I  Suffer from claustrophobia (after being stuck in a lift some years ago), and have a history of panic attacks - I really really want to do this trip for my family (and  myself- after all I have already being through) - can anyone give me a few words of encouragement??   

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Comment by Julie Williamson on August 21, 2012 at 9:29pm

Hi Amanda

Thanks for that - I have got the book and am planning on taking it with me on Friday for my week in the Lake District. Where are you going? Please let me know how it goes x

Comment by amanda carroll on August 21, 2012 at 7:11pm

Hi Julie.

Get the book it's great (Keith I keep recommending the book - have the sales gone up recently? :-) )

Seriously though, it is extremly helpful, there's a section in it about panic attacks.

I am taking my long haul flight this weekend. While I cant say, I am looking forward to it, i do feel more positive about it.

Comment by jacqui stachan on August 20, 2012 at 11:42pm

I don't go to the toilet on the plane, I sit with my seat belt on, white knuckled  from gripping the arm rests- stupid, eh?! However I'm sure a coin or some other implement will unlock the door...

 I thought about going to EASY JET check in & asking to speak with the pilot who will fly me to Majorca but decided I may be arrested for acting irrationally.... but like you I felt this would reassure me.... I'm sure he'll be on a rota..

I doubt someone famous will be on my 'no frills flight' probably fly first class BA.. doubt EASY JET fly transatlantic.


Comment by Julie Williamson on August 20, 2012 at 11:17pm

Jacqui - that sounds so like me!! I hate the whole lot on the plane, except as you say, once up there I don't feel shut in (although I have actually being worrying about getting locked in the toilet....Keith can you reassure on this - my husband says it cannot happen!). Where are you going? The last time I flew was in 2006 and I was so upset before take off on the return journey that the stewardess got the pilot to come and talk to me. He was a lovely man and said that it was his 40th birthday in a few weeks time and had a pilots license from the age of 16 and hadn't scratched one yet! It made me laugh and somehow just meeting the person that was flying me home filled me with confidence! I think that the only thing that will help me this time is the fact that the whole family are going. I wish you all the best for next week and as you say you will be fine! We will be fine! Someone told me a story today about their mum being scared but as soon as she saw a famous footballer boarding the same plane she said that's it we'll be fine.... I know it wont crash with him on board and strange as it sounds I think I would be the same (maybe I can ask if I can have a look round first class before take off and see who's on board!).

Good Luck and thanks for posting

Comment by jacqui stachan on August 20, 2012 at 11:00pm

I do not get in lifts after being locked in a toilet at age 5  - I'm a lot older now but thid claustrophobia has stayed with me though strangely not on a plane. I just simply don't like flying.. I hate take off, cruising, landing, all of it!


I am due to fly a week tomorrow & I'm feeling tearful & panicky at the prospect. I have to do it... it's now or never. My husband is so excited at the prospect of 2 weeks in the sun but I even fear leaving my grown up children here incase I don't make it home. Irrational I know! We know our fears are irrational & we will be fine!!

Comment by Julie Williamson on August 20, 2012 at 10:20pm

Thanks again Sarah - I will look for your blog - I am still trying to find my way round how all this works (only just got used to facebook)!! It's good to know that I am not alone here - it it hard as my husband is a frequent long haul flyer and also my daughter. We have a week in the Lakes next week and I plan to take Keiths book and DVD and have some pleasant chill out preparation and build up some relaxing thoughts that I can concentrate on whilst on the plane.

I will speak to you again soon


Comment by Sarah on August 20, 2012 at 9:48pm

I used to cope in a few different ways. I had a very fixed ritual in the week running up to the flight, watching youtube videos, checking the weather forecasts, things like that. With hindsight, none of that helped. On the plane, when I absolutely felt I was going to freak out and start screaming, I used to stare fixedly at the back of the seat in front of me and count to myself. That actually did help, but the problem with things like that is they’re easy to get stuck with and then difficult to let go of.

I have done Keith’s course. I wrote about it on my blog here. It helped me a lot and my coping strategies now include focussing on breathing steadily, thinking about all the stuff I’ve learnt about how planes fly and how pilots plan flights.

Good luck with your preparation. You’re already on the way to getting over this fear.

All the best.



Comment by Julie Williamson on August 20, 2012 at 8:38pm

Thank You Sarah. How do you cope? Have you done Keiths flying course? I will keep you posted x


Comment by Sarah on August 20, 2012 at 12:21am

Wow, it sounds like you've been through a hell of a lot! And you can totally get through this as well!

You said your claustrophobia goes back to being stuck in a lift. If you jump to the second section of the book, the psychologist (I can't remember her name) compares overcoming a fear of lifts and overcoming a fear of flying a lot. She mainly does this (I think) to highlight the idea of using gradual exposure, which is a lot easier with lifts than with planes. Do you think going back to that original fear and overcoming that would give you some strategies you could apply to your fear of flying?

Have you ever experienced claustrophobia or a panic attack on a plane? What do you usually do when you get a panic attack? If nothing else, you know from past experiences that as horrible as a panic attack is, you can get through it and be fine again.

I really hope the book gives you some useful advice. Please let us know how you get on preparing for your flight.

All the best,




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