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Hello to all. I have been off and on this site for years. At first my fear eliminated the option to fly. Kept me from weddings, Europe, etc. Now, through my friend Capt. Keith, I have been able to fly a bit. I live in Los Angeles and over the past 5 years have flown to and from Alaska, Dallas, and Louisiana. GUESS WHAT!? I have taken a job that requires REGULAR FLYING. Every quarter I will take about 1.5 hour flights from LA to Reno and LA to Vegas. Next week, I am flying to Portland (oh I love saying that as if it's no big deal!) then at the end of the month, to Dallas, then April brings Orlando.
I used to NOT FLY...now I am at the "I don't like to fly" point on the spectrum. I pop a xanax or a half of one and I can tolerate it. So, I try to focus on this perspective, "How fortunate I am to have the opportunity to rid myself of the fear of flying by having a job that requires regular flights. They pay for the flight, hotel, food, rent a car, transportation to airport and home. WOW!" When I first started out I couldn't see anything good about flying.
The break for me came...and it was a break, a break from the fear...it came when I boarded a plane home from Salt Lake City Utah. I sat in row 36 or so, near the back which i didn't like to start with. I noticed I was crying, but there was nothing that I visually recognized as a threat, nor was there any emotional threat. I stopped for a moment to see if I could retrieve why WHY was I crying. It was some kind of automatic response. That was it! As a psychotherapist, I realized that I was having a post traumatic response to a life threatening experience I had while on a plane coming home from Hawaii with my husband. I was 3 months pregnant and started hemmorhaging while in the air...over the ocean. Now, mind you, I had been asked over and over in my sessions with my own psychotherapist, "do you think your fears have anything to do with that experience?" My answer was always, "no." I could not find the connection until that one day boarding the flight from SLC. I can't explain it other than to say that I had finally done enough and flying (through tears and fears and anxiety) that something finally clicked. I think it had to do with sitting still and having the courage to go deep to look, asking myself, "Why am I crying with such intensity?" At that moment, the answer in my head was, "because you almost lost your baby in a plane." Talk about a cathartic moment.
My current goal is to be able to fly without xanax. I mean, if I were going on a long flight....like to Orlando, I might choose to take a xanax to sleep, but I want to be free to choose it and not feel like I need it to fly.
I don't like turbulence, but it's uncomfortable not dangerous. ..my mantra when I feel it. I also try to say, "Woooo hooooo turbulence, I love this ride!" That one, I haven't quite internalized yet, but I really do say it.
As far as a flying buddy, well. That ain't happening. My husband and I live 5 hours apart so....and you know, unless someone is a fearful flyer, in my experience they don't get it. So, I hope you will all help me move through the need for an anti-anxiety medication to flying free.
And....I love Captain Keith! He is always there for anyone of us. What an amazing man you are to be so kind and helpful to so many of us. Thank you.