I live in New Zealand HELP have to fly EVERYWHERE and am terrified of my flight in 2 days!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi everyone!

 

So I am flying back to NZ from Brisbane on the 25th of this month...I am very nervous because I haven't flown overseas for many years now. Living in New Zealand, as much as I love it is problamatic for someone with a fear of flying because you literally have to fly everywhere!!! Being an island in the Pacific ocean and the first country in the world to see the sun rise we couldn't be more isolated. What's worse is that I have to fly into the capital, Wellington-voted the windiest city in the world along with Chicago of course...so I just know it's going to be a bumpy ride. 

 

I hate flying SO much that I caught a cruise over to Sydney-it took 4 nights and I was fortunate (hint sarcasm) enough to experience 8.1m swells as we got caught in a huge storm. You know when you are on a swing and you swing up high enough that your bum lifts up off the seat? Well that's what was happening on the cruise due to the extreme rocking, talk abut feeling like a teeny tiny rubber duckie in a huge bath-tub! To complete my travels to Brisbane I caught a 14 hour train ride. This was more successful than the cruise however, I tortured myself by thinking I could have caught more than 7 planes to Sydney by the end of my trip and still have made it in one piece! This got me thinking that maybe I should give flying another chance...

 

To make a long story short my divorced parents have forked out a lot of money to try and help me-hypnosis therapy etc and my dad generally lives overseas with his last location being in LA so about a 13 hour flight away. I feel bad because I want to see them both but I just can't bring myself to fly. I would have backed out on my flight to Wellington on Friday if it weren't for the huge earthquake poor Christ Church just experienced that my sister got caught up in. With so many lives lost and broken homes she and the rest of my family are flying out at the end of the week to get out of the disaster zone. The country is in a state of emergency and all I want to do is give my family a huge hug and be there for them during this time! 

 

Please help Captain! My pet hate is take-off and when they close the door because then I know I am stuck there! I am pretty confident part of my problem is me not being in control and I am hoping that it is also a fear of the unknown and that if I get comfortable enough with how a plane works, all the noises and stuff like that it will help me. After all I am fine when other people are driving me around, if I was a major control freak surely I would be like dude I will take over from here haha. I am only 23, and am very social so I want to travel and be with my friends all over the globe, they all think I'm nuts for having an 'irrational fear' as they say and many just start spluttering off statistics-I get so annoyed because I know all the stats but that still doesn't help! ARGH! 

 

Anyway hope you can help...am going to get started on some of you rvids now...if anyone has any advice for me that would be greatly appreciated and might make me sleep a tad better at night! 

 

:)

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HI there

sorry i wasn't here when you posted but I have just got back from Africa and it's taken a while to catch up with things. Tell you friends to be friends and NOT laugh or make stupoid statements about your fears. They areperfectly normal and I'd rather be anxious about flying than to be stupid. Iy really is important for you to accept that your fear is perfectly normal. You will be able to overcome it ...it may be a long journey but it's possible. If you're anxious about taking off watch the video over and over and over again.

Write to me when you're back again or when you have a chance and we'll help you some more


Captain Keith

Hi Amanda,

Sorry I'm only reading your posting this morning (Fri 25th Feb) so by the time you read this you should be and I hope you are safely back in NZ with your family. My own adult children and grandaughter live in Auckland for a few years now and I've visited your beautiful country three times since 2007 and hope to go back again as soon as possible.

My thoughts, prayers and best wishes are with everyone in NZ and particularly the Canterbury region in these troubled times. I know how the quake in Chch has affected people there and I've been glued to the tvnz web-site for the past few days keeping abreast of developments. I spent a fantastic nine days in Chch in '07 (my daughter worked in the city at the time) and remember very well the areas around Cathedral Square and Latimer Square - the Grand Chancellor Hotel etc. etc. and its so very sad to see all the damage. My thoughts are particularly with the bereaved families - so perhaps you would let people know that there are many many people around the world thinking of you at this time.

 

As you can gather, my visiting NZ and my wish to return involve flying quite a long way (from Ireland!!) - all in all about 26 or 27 actual flying hours excluding all the hours spent travelling to and in airports. A daunting prospect for someone with a lifelong fear of flying and panic attack syndrome. I wish I could say that, at some stage in the flights to NZ, there was a "Pauline" conversion moment when the fear left and all was peace and tranquility. Not so. But as time goes on, I have developed a better understanding of the fear process and can cope much better with it so it is not as debilitating as it once was.

If it is the case that you suffer anxiety/panic type feelings and if these are persistent in the run up to and during a flight then I suggest you read up on as much material as you can about how and why these feelings affect some of us humans. There's a myriad books and websites devoted to this stuff (including this site) and you will certainly find something that suits you. The key thing to know about panic/anxiety is that, in an otherwise normally healthy person,  while it is uncomfortable (and sometimes extremely uncomforatble) it is not physiologically dangerous. Obviously if a person has a serious underlying physical condition then things change a bit and medical advice should be sought. Our bodies have a fantastic way of dealing with these symptoms and feelings. I found that understanding the psychology and physiology of fear helped me enormously. It didn't get rid of the panic/anxiety but it helps me to deal with it in a far better way. Breathing exercises and meditation are a great help and you'll find that much of the self-help material will advise techniques such as these. Also, as can be seen from the advice on this site and that provided by Capt. Keith, having an understanding of commercial flying, the safety protocols to ensure safety and the statistics around safety of air travel are all very helpful in "rounding out" our knowledge of the entire experience. One thing I found through personal experience is that "avoidance" only helps to exacerbate the feelings and the fear grows almost exponentially.

People who don't have a fear of flying find it difficult to understand or empathise with those who do. Do not let that interfere with your own determination to deal with your fears. It is my sense that many folks who otherwise like to think of themselves or portray themselves as macho and fearless become somewhat quieter and introverted when the doors of the plane close and the plane makes its journey out to the runway for takeoff. Conversely, they may well have a fear of something that doesn't bother you at all. One example I can think of is a guy who had no fear of flying but became quite fearful when on a boat or near a river or the sea. His fear is of water!!! So you never know.. many many people have things they dislike or are fearful of but won't admit it. The point to bear in mind here is that the fear/anxiety process both psychologically and physiogically works prety much the same way in our bodies irrespective of the cause. As Capt. Keith says, the fear is your fear, you own it and only you can do something to deal with it. The late Dr. Clair Weeks (an Australian doctor) was a pioneer in developing books and self-help material for those of us affected by panic/anxiety. Her exhortation is still burned into my brain that those of us who are very fearful of a particular situation (such as flying) are actually extremely brave because, despite our fears, we undertake the task anyway. We may not do it as well as we'd like but the very fact that we do it is the very essence of bravery. So, if you have made the trip to Wellington, take a bow - you've done a very brave thing despite your fears.

 

Take heart and know that there is plenty of help available and the fear can be overcome. I hope this is of some help and I wish you many many happy years of flying and travelling. Again, my thoughts and prayers are with all in NZ and Canterbury.

 

Thank you Frank

 

Keith

Hi!

 

Sorry I didn't reply to this aaaaages ago but to be honest everything went so successfully I got worried if I came back here I would jinx myself haha but all is OK! Had a WONDERFUL time in NZ and the flight was super smooth! I actually had a little freak out at the airport seriously I was waiting in the departure lounge watching all the big planes in the gates nearby thinking my plane will be arriving soon only to realise it was already there but so small that the gate ramp was blocking it from my view...it really looked like a little toy compared to the planes close by! The planes cruising altitude was only 11,000 feet which I thought was funny because when you go skydiving you go to 15,000 feet and in one of them flying pencils! 

 

The feeling of arriving into NZ was indescribable, only a feeling a fellow fearful flyer would know! And instead of spending the whole trip freaking out about the flight back like usual I actually enjoyed time spent with friends and family! Got a couple of pangs here and there but nothing majour. The couple of nights before flying back to Aussie was fine too-on the way to NZ I was so distraught and grumpy!

 

On that note, I think I have really reached a milestone in my fear of flying-I don't think I am completely cured but I am only going to get better from here! I have booked my next holiday to Spain and Morocco and am leaving in late June via Dubai-I am SOOOOO excited and more nervous about how I am going to occupy myself for 25 hours rather than I'm going to be stuck on a plane for 25 hours. This course has really really really helped me Keith and you are a legend for starting it all up!  

 

Also Francis, thank you for your suggestion about getting to know the psychological side to your fears because that helped a great deal too! I wrote them all down and felt I could break them down too. And you know what? Since doing all that other little fears I had which must have been related a little anyway I do not have anymore! YAY!

 

Amanda 

 

Brilliant...Keith

I have to say that I don't come onto the www very often, but it heartens me to read success stories like this. I'm flying to Rome tomorrow with my other half- it's a long held dream for both of us, partly because he is of Italian descent. Nerves begin to creep in so I came on to find encouragement like Zsuzsanna- it's lovely to 'hear' from people who feel the same, as so many people are not understanding. I think that the Australian Doc is right-we are all very brave, confronting & dealing with our fear & it's too easy to be self critical if our response isn't perfect. Thanks Keith, Francis & well done Amanda

Francis Patrick Edwards said:

Hi Amanda,

Sorry I'm only reading your posting this morning (Fri 25th Feb) so by the time you read this you should be and I hope you are safely back in NZ with your family. My own adult children and grandaughter live in Auckland for a few years now and I've visited your beautiful country three times since 2007 and hope to go back again as soon as possible.

My thoughts, prayers and best wishes are with everyone in NZ and particularly the Canterbury region in these troubled times. I know how the quake in Chch has affected people there and I've been glued to the tvnz web-site for the past few days keeping abreast of developments. I spent a fantastic nine days in Chch in '07 (my daughter worked in the city at the time) and remember very well the areas around Cathedral Square and Latimer Square - the Grand Chancellor Hotel etc. etc. and its so very sad to see all the damage. My thoughts are particularly with the bereaved families - so perhaps you would let people know that there are many many people around the world thinking of you at this time.

 

As you can gather, my visiting NZ and my wish to return involve flying quite a long way (from Ireland!!) - all in all about 26 or 27 actual flying hours excluding all the hours spent travelling to and in airports. A daunting prospect for someone with a lifelong fear of flying and panic attack syndrome. I wish I could say that, at some stage in the flights to NZ, there was a "Pauline" conversion moment when the fear left and all was peace and tranquility. Not so. But as time goes on, I have developed a better understanding of the fear process and can cope much better with it so it is not as debilitating as it once was.

If it is the case that you suffer anxiety/panic type feelings and if these are persistent in the run up to and during a flight then I suggest you read up on as much material as you can about how and why these feelings affect some of us humans. There's a myriad books and websites devoted to this stuff (including this site) and you will certainly find something that suits you. The key thing to know about panic/anxiety is that, in an otherwise normally healthy person,  while it is uncomfortable (and sometimes extremely uncomforatble) it is not physiologically dangerous. Obviously if a person has a serious underlying physical condition then things change a bit and medical advice should be sought. Our bodies have a fantastic way of dealing with these symptoms and feelings. I found that understanding the psychology and physiology of fear helped me enormously. It didn't get rid of the panic/anxiety but it helps me to deal with it in a far better way. Breathing exercises and meditation are a great help and you'll find that much of the self-help material will advise techniques such as these. Also, as can be seen from the advice on this site and that provided by Capt. Keith, having an understanding of commercial flying, the safety protocols to ensure safety and the statistics around safety of air travel are all very helpful in "rounding out" our knowledge of the entire experience. One thing I found through personal experience is that "avoidance" only helps to exacerbate the feelings and the fear grows almost exponentially.

People who don't have a fear of flying find it difficult to understand or empathise with those who do. Do not let that interfere with your own determination to deal with your fears. It is my sense that many folks who otherwise like to think of themselves or portray themselves as macho and fearless become somewhat quieter and introverted when the doors of the plane close and the plane makes its journey out to the runway for takeoff. Conversely, they may well have a fear of something that doesn't bother you at all. One example I can think of is a guy who had no fear of flying but became quite fearful when on a boat or near a river or the sea. His fear is of water!!! So you never know.. many many people have things they dislike or are fearful of but won't admit it. The point to bear in mind here is that the fear/anxiety process both psychologically and physiogically works prety much the same way in our bodies irrespective of the cause. As Capt. Keith says, the fear is your fear, you own it and only you can do something to deal with it. The late Dr. Clair Weeks (an Australian doctor) was a pioneer in developing books and self-help material for those of us affected by panic/anxiety. Her exhortation is still burned into my brain that those of us who are very fearful of a particular situation (such as flying) are actually extremely brave because, despite our fears, we undertake the task anyway. We may not do it as well as we'd like but the very fact that we do it is the very essence of bravery. So, if you have made the trip to Wellington, take a bow - you've done a very brave thing despite your fears.

 

Take heart and know that there is plenty of help available and the fear can be overcome. I hope this is of some help and I wish you many many happy years of flying and travelling. Again, my thoughts and prayers are with all in NZ and Canterbury.

Hi Amanda,

My apologies for not replying to you earlier - I'm delighted that you've had such a positive experience on your return trip to NZ and its great to hear you are taking a holiday to Europe in June. One thing I can say from my experience flying to NZ is that the planes on longer flights are huge (usually Boeing 747's or 777's or some such calibre) - they feel almost like being in the foyer of an hotel there's so much space around. And they're comfortable and smooth. The sheer size and power of those aircraft is amazing and I find that gives me a great sense of confidence when I board the plane. Have a great time on holiday and I'm sure you'll really enjoy the experience. Best wishes. Frank Edwards (Ireland).

Amanda Taylor said:

Hi!

 

Sorry I didn't reply to this aaaaages ago but to be honest everything went so successfully I got worried if I came back here I would jinx myself haha but all is OK! Had a WONDERFUL time in NZ and the flight was super smooth! I actually had a little freak out at the airport seriously I was waiting in the departure lounge watching all the big planes in the gates nearby thinking my plane will be arriving soon only to realise it was already there but so small that the gate ramp was blocking it from my view...it really looked like a little toy compared to the planes close by! The planes cruising altitude was only 11,000 feet which I thought was funny because when you go skydiving you go to 15,000 feet and in one of them flying pencils! 

 

The feeling of arriving into NZ was indescribable, only a feeling a fellow fearful flyer would know! And instead of spending the whole trip freaking out about the flight back like usual I actually enjoyed time spent with friends and family! Got a couple of pangs here and there but nothing majour. The couple of nights before flying back to Aussie was fine too-on the way to NZ I was so distraught and grumpy!

 

On that note, I think I have really reached a milestone in my fear of flying-I don't think I am completely cured but I am only going to get better from here! I have booked my next holiday to Spain and Morocco and am leaving in late June via Dubai-I am SOOOOO excited and more nervous about how I am going to occupy myself for 25 hours rather than I'm going to be stuck on a plane for 25 hours. This course has really really really helped me Keith and you are a legend for starting it all up!  

 

Also Francis, thank you for your suggestion about getting to know the psychological side to your fears because that helped a great deal too! I wrote them all down and felt I could break them down too. And you know what? Since doing all that other little fears I had which must have been related a little anyway I do not have anymore! YAY!

 

Amanda 

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