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My name is Beck and I am 21 years old and live NSW Australia. I am really happy to have found this website and have already found lots of helpful info and stories/experiences of other people. It is easy to forget that you probably aren't the only one on the plane who is worried.
I have only flown 2 return trips in my life. Once from Sydney to Brisbane (about an hour and a half) and I was only very young then, I barely remember a thing.
The second time was in October last year for a friend's 21st from Newcastle to Brisbane (about an hour's flight) which I did with 2 of my girl friends who have both flown once or twice before. Upon arrival to the airport I hadn't really considered the fact that I could be scared of flying, I guess I thought I would know about it if I was :-) So I got on the plane and definitely was not comfortable at all, I had the window seat too which I didn't know whether it was a good thing or not - The confined space was just so small and it seemed like everyone was just packing in and not worried and mean while I am sitting in my little seat thinking "Oh My God I don't think I am ok with all of this happening maybe I should just get off before they close all the doors and then it will be really embarrassing". But I just kept my cool and started looking for distractions - I started reading the magazines that were in the back of the seat in front of me, then the safety procedures, then looking at things in my handbag and thinking that if I act like everything is ok then it will be. This was all before we had even started moving!!!
So anyway I told my friends I was a bit uneasy and told them I need to have something to distract me - so they talked to me and were really good about it, then we started taking off and I swear I nearly screamed and vomitted. I was so so SO scared. It was the worst feeling of not knowing what was happening or what to expect so I was hyperventilating and white knuckled. A nice lady across the aisle was worried about me so she randomly gave me an apple to chew on, which suprisingly helped. From then on I was very very nervous but sort of ok. As soon as the stewardesses starting coming around I ordered a Vodka and something to eat (which is unlike me - I am not a big drinker or eater) and scoffed those by this time it was nearly landing and everything out the window started becoming increasingly closer at a rapid pace and I thought "Wow this is it, I'm actually gunna die". So we landed and I wasn't dead which was a big relief and I was THAT excited to have my feet on the ground!
Then came the returning flight from Brisbane to Newcastle. WELL... wasn't that interesting. It was rainy and windy and night and freezing cold and we were all hung over and feeling shakey as it was. I was worried about the flight but knew I didn't have an alternative and that I had to get on, so reluctantly I did. Pretty much from as soon as I got on the plane I was head down in my pillow squeezing my friend's hands till I nearly broke their fingers. I heard weird noises as we were taking off and it was pitch black outside. Hands Down worst anxiety feeling ever! The rest of the flight consisted of my hyperventilating, requesting as many drinks as they would permit me to have and also crying nearly hysterically. I promised myself in that moment I would NEVER fly again. And I am a person who keeps their promises :-).
Sooooo the problem is that in August my partner and another couple are flying to New Zealand (Queenstown) which is a 4hr flight there and 4.5 hrs back. I am literally in massive panic attack mode already! I am currently seeing a psychologist about it, but am just so worried that I'll get to the airport and bail on everyone and they'll be stuck standing there saying "Where the Heck is Beck???" and I'll be cowering in the toilet not coming out!
Writing this has been more about me processing what happened when this fear developed, so I'm sorry if it makes little sense to anyone else and is nearly novel sized but I think knowing what went wrong will help me fix it maybe.