I'm flying next Monday and I'm having a stressful day thinking about it. I'm terrified about flying but what I'm most worried about is my kids having to grow up without me, I've never gone away without them. I've let the 2 older ones fly away with their sports club and while I've been worried I've been able to get it into perspective but when it comes to me I just can't. I've been very good, staying calm (ish) but today it's bad. I'm wondering will I even be able to get on the plane. I have 2 flights on Monday and it's the 8.5hrs one I'm worried most about - I can handle the stress for the hour flight. I keep repeating the statistics inside my head but then I think of what could happen rather than the likelihood of it happening. HELP.
Linda, you are not alone! When you think on the stats of fearful flyers (I believe about 40% that fly don't overly enjoy it or feal some fear) then look about you on the plane...chances are there are others feeling exactly the same, or even worse.
I know that in itself is not helpful because I also dislike flying, though for me, it's a fear of heights. I'm relatively trusting that the pilots know what they're doing. Let's face it, they have families too and they're hardly likely to fly ANYTHING if they know that it's unsafe! Strangely, once I'm 'up', I remain rather calm, though I'm not sure why. It's the going up that completely withers my nerve endings! And, think on the flight staff also. They would not be doing the job they do if it was even slightly risky. Why would they?!
Again, I know none of what I'm saying is probably helping. It's all very well absorbing the facts, the statistics and so on. It's (for me) quite easy to BELIEVE what I read. But...you have to FEEL it. And that's the problem for those of us that simply don't like flying.
I have a flight on the 30th of this month and I truly wish I could approach it with calm. Unfortunately, that's not the likely outcome.
If I know anything, it's this: The fear, however irrational we know it is, is very real. Unfortunately, the fear is out of control! I wish I had a magic answer. I also understand that the fear stems from the sub-conscious, the small, (usually!) quiet part of ourselves that is supposed to lay dormant until we find ourselves in REAL (not imagined!) moments of danger.
Have you really examined where your fears stem from? It took me a while to realise that I'm frightened of heights, not flying. I just transfer my fear. Which is rather inconvenient! I now realise that I will have to work on my fear of heights as I believe that's the only way I can deal with my 'sub-conscious' objections to flying.
Are you flying with someone? I find that helps. I've yet to attempt to fly alone and in truth, I'm just not ready. I have no intention of trying to fly alone because the likely result is that I will just layer on even more reasons not to fly. I want to become more confident, not less. Can you distract yourself? Do you have an I-Pod or similar? Personally, I find blocking out the times when the captain decides to happily inform us that "we are now cruising at a comfortable height of 34,000 feet' is far more comfortable if I DON'T hear it! Can you read or is that too difficult? What about a trip to the doctors and explaining your fears? Not only may he/she be able to prescribe something mild to help calm you, it's likely that they can refer you (and should!) for help to deal with your fear at a later time?
Like I said, I don't know that I'm being helpful Linda. But...trust me, you are NOT alone!
Thanks Andria for replying. I know I'm not alone. I was able to fly before I had kids but since then I've been paranoid about it. We go by boat on holidays every year so I can avoid planes. My biggest fears are fire on the plane, crashing, crashing and crashing. I hate when the plane is cruising but can cope if it's a short flight but my flight will be 8.5 hrs. I didn't sleep last night and spent a lot of time crying about it, I keep wondering how my kids will cope without me. I know its all gloom and doom but I can't get it out of my head. My dr gave me some valium but the way I feel at the moment I want to cancel going but seeing as my mum and sister are bringing me I can't. I do know that flying is relatively safe but it's knowing that while a plane might have been running correctly things can and do change suddenly without any warning. My husband watches Seconds to disaster all the time and I've seen what can happen.
Before I went to Australia I had only ever done a 1.25hr and 1hr flights. One of my biggest fears was the 'time in the air'.
I was in a state to say the least before and when I got on the first plane which was about 7.40hrs, but it truly didnt feel like that. Soon after take off you are fed, there are drinks available at any time and outr fligts had the ice systems in so you had films to watch, music to listen to then about an hour before landing you are fed again. By the time I got to OZ I had put a stone in weight on lol.....
But on a more serious note, please DO tell the cabin crew when you board that you are a nervous passenger, this really helped me to share the fear. If you occupy yourself with a film, music, puzzle book etc, after a whle you just dont take any notice of the fact that you are on a plane, I found the flights much much smoother than on the smaller planes.
When my daughter used to travel to Australia (before they emigrated) I used to worry myself sick (she is not a fearful flyer) then when she had my first grand daughter she flew when she was just 4 months old, then my second grand daughter came along and she also has been flying since she was 4.5 months old. When I finally arrived in OZ Emma (my daughter) said I was worried sick, now I know how you have felt in the past.....so its only natural.we love our families so we worry about them. Do you worry when you go out in the car and leave them, or on a train? because the statistics for accidents are much much greater than getting on a plane.
Hark at me I'm talking like I was a seasoned flyer, I'm not. I only got on my first plane after I joined this forum in 2007 because Emma was emigrating in the hope that one day I could go to see them, and I did, just 2 months ago, and I was soooooo proud of myself.
The last few days are always the worst, but try and 'go with it' it's just your inbuilt safety mechanism trying to talk you out of it because we as fearful flyers would feel safer staying at home. But truly, I was amazed at how well I coped after being in such a state and I had to do it 3 times in a row there and back.
If I can do it, anyone can, please beleive me.
Please steer clear of all things like Seconds to disaster- watching this sort of thing(fact or fiction ) reinforces negative feelings about flying we may already have. Have you considered how many planes take off and land safely every day throughout the world and how many millions of passengers are carried safely to their destination every year. Driving to the airport or any other journey we make by road is far more dangerous from crashes and fire danger, yet we all get into cars/buses etc without a second thought. Do gather as much positive info from this site. It really does help.
If you feel it would help you, do take the medication as prescibed by your doctor for this flight. Then you can work at strategies for future flights. Having children can heighten our fears of being separated and make us more emotional.Allow yourself e.g 15 minutes a day "worrying" time and then tell nasty negative thoughts to go away- or distract yourself and try and relax and chill out with deep breathing . Many folk find the build up to a flight is far worse than the flight itself. So good luck .
I'm flying on the 15th December on a long flight to Mexico. For the last three years I have been to Florida and one of them we had a connecting flight from Atlanta to West Palm Beach - I was so exhausted by the time I got on the connecting flight that I was too tired to get scared. I have two young children and have to keep my feelings to myself when I'm flying with them but when I go on flights with my husband I am scared especially take offs and landings. We've booked into the executive lounge before the flight so it's a calmer environment and I don't have to see the planes taking off and landing, we'll then board at the last minute. Try and stay calm - I know it's easier said than done but before I started flying again (I did have a break for about 10 years where I refused to fly and ended up going to Spain/France etc by coach) when I got married my husband refused to sit on a coach for 36 hours and took the tough approach with me - either I flew or we didn't go on holiday - so I booked us on a flight to the Dominican Republic (yes I know it was a long flight for a first one in 10 years!) - I was terrified on that flight but I've flown at least 30 times since then and have improved. I am still scared but I don't focus on it for weeks leading up to it like I used to. I fly on the 15th December and I can honestly say I haven't really thought about it. Good luck!
Thank you everyone for replying, I'm a bit better this evening as I'm trying not to think about being separated from them. Going to keep busy for the next few days but will probably be back on here looking for encouragement. Thank you all again.
I felt exactly the same as you before visiting my Mother in Canada at Easter time, and I've done the trip tens of times. Post children it seems that things can feel very different. Five days before the flight I thought I would have to let my family go without me, With the help of Keith's CDs and this website I managed to get on the plane. The first step for me was finding out that I could cancel my seat on the flight and re-book for a different time up until 24 hours before the flight left and that I could even change the time I flew (if there had been space) on the day itself. Somehow the feeling that I didn't absolutely have to go helped give me mental space to deal with the fear. If I really couldn't have gone I'd have re booked for Christmas and attended a fear of flying course before that date. Having said that, I did manage the flight. Beyond the CDs, which were fabulous, I tried to see the 'normality' in everything about flying, I watched planes whenever I could and also watched the video clips on the website. In the airport, I would recommend trying to get to the departure lounge as quickly as possible, it's usually much nicer in there. Look at how 'normal' the other passengers are, and take things on the plane with you that are very familiar, perhaps listening to a podcast of a radio programme you listen to at bed time. I took my lap top and tried to edit the enormous photograph collection on there. I also have a baby and a three year old who help to distract and entertain me. I'm now feeling anxious about my flight on 13th December but I don't feel disaster will definitely occur which is huge progress for me. I'm even beginning to thing about packing, which before Keith's CDs, was unthinkable! Since the birth of my children, I couldn't bear the thought of flying so much that I couldn't begin to pack - we ended up taking very few, pretty useless items and buying half the clothes shops up when we got there! Really good luck. It seems to me that there's no really quick answer but that overcoming the fear of flying is a journey in itself.
Through the years we have heard from a number of mums who go through what you're going through. First point what's the actual evidence that you're not going to be there for them when for the past however many years you've been driving around on the roads exposed to 100 times the danger.
Flying is the safest form of transport available and that's that.
Much better for your children to see you handling the problem than running away from it . What else do you do to make sure you're always going to be there? Are you innoculated against every known illness? Do you boil your drinking water?
No I'm sure you live a perfectly normal life. There is risk in everything we do but in flying the risks are reduced to almost none existent levels. Curiously you think it's safe when the children fly, but not when you do. That's not possible.
What's the purpose of challenging you so fiercely? To get you to question yourself and come up with answers that satisfy you from a factual point of view not an emotional one. Then when you've sorted it out sensibly then worry like a mum should, but not so that you lose sleep.
I'm on your side,I've been with people that feel this turmoil but you can't live your life living in unreasonable fear, flying is safe and that's a fact. Nothing's going to happen to you anymore than it did to me through out my lifelong flying career.
Now the remedy: Learn and practice diapgragmatic breathing techniques, learn and practice relaxation techniques and learn some visualisation techniques. A bit of thought stopping would help you to...it's on the old forum somewhere
Finally keep pestering me with questions till you're satisfied. Despite how I sound I am 100% on your side and I certainly do not underestimate the depth of your feelings.
Thanks Keith, I was ok last night, I know I have to get it into perspective. I also know it would be really bad for me to show the kids that it's ok to back out of things because of fear. Today I can even see myself in Chicago shopping and having a good time. Will probably get back onto you when I start questioning myself again.
We are all here for you, and think of the great stories you can tell us about when you get there!!! Please remember all those feelings are natural but you can over come them...and in a few days you will be talking to us from another country...fantastic.
Just wanted to send some positive vibes for your flight.
This is going to be the worst time for you (I know) but accept that you are going to be a bit 'up and down' it's all part of the process. Think only 5 minutes ahead, only focus on the next thing, check paperwork, packing etc. Then when you leave for the airport just think of that, then the check in, then get through security. Once all this stress is over you can start to begin your holiday, remember the plane is just a means of getting you there, exactly like a car, train, bus.
Have a fantastic holiday and looking forward to you posting in My Flight when you get back and I bet one of the first things you say is 'the build up was much worse than the flight' we all do lol.
Stay positive and sending (((hugs))) to keep you strong.
Hi again everyone and thank you for all your help and encouragement over the last few days. I have decided not to go away as I can't bear to leave my 2 year old. Of course it's partly to do with my fear/anxieties but it's mostly to do with leaving my baba. I've only left my kids once (10 yrs ago) and I cried the 2and a half hour drive to our destination and I just can't do it again. I've spoken to a friend and she wasn't at all surprised and said when I'm ready to go away myself I'll know and i'll be able to go and enjoy it rather than feel guilty all the way over, there and back and ruin the break on everyone. I will definitely be flying to London in October for the day with the oldest girls to watch gymnastics and I know that I'll get support here beforehand but I also know that I can cope with the short flight as I did one 2 yrs ago. If only my sister would talk to me now - she's very upset that I'm not going. Thank you all again.