Hi All,

Just posting about my little family's upcoming trip to Barcelona on Saturday (returning from Madrid the following Saturday). I'm extremely apprehensive as I haven't flown for 2 years and when I did I had a level 10 (!) panic while waiting to taxi. To be fair, that was the outbound portion and I did manage to stay in touch with reality on the return. I'm also nervous about travelling back on the 767 aircraft which my mind is telling me is 'old' (and of course about to fall apart when we get on it!)

Of course, I've left it a bit long really, and a few months ago I pulled out of a flight, so now it feels an even bigger obstacle. It will be my children's first time flying and they're pretty excited but also level-headed (why can't I be like that?). I'm hoping to focus on their needs and help them have a positive experience without having some kind of melt-down. And just to stay on the plane no matter what, and maybe make a leap of personal growth and have the kind of holiday that makes up for a torrid couple of weeks worrying!

Best wishes to anyone flying soon,



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Comment by David Wragg on April 21, 2014 at 10:51pm
Yes, we must fly together again soon :-)
Comment by Patrik Hedinger on April 21, 2014 at 8:08pm

Hi David

I also believe that action is the most powerful mechanism of change. I see this happen daily in clinical practice. Yeah, it was really cool to go through this together ...  maybe we should synchronize your future air travel plans :-)

I have not especially rewarded myself ... I should have. I will pay attention to that next time.


Comment by David Wragg on April 20, 2014 at 9:59pm
Thanks Patrik, and a huge well done to you too!
I too felt very anxious anticipating the return flight but I still consider myself to be closer to my goals and in possession of more self-knowledge, which I count as a huge plus. Neither of us avoided what we perceived as a threatening situation and this is something to be proud of. I'm a firm believer that action changes the brain and so in spite of our feelings 'surprising' us if you like, I believe we can both feel better equipped for the future.
I'm glad we could synchronise our travels and enjoy this discussion together, and now is the time for rewarding ourselves. I'm currently doing that by eating Easter eggs! I hope you're rewarding yourself too Patrik.
On my son's reactions, when we hit the 'turbulence' on approach and the plane dropped a few feet, or whatever it was, I looked at my son expecting to see him freaking out, but he just said, 'whee!' How I envy his universe sometimes!
Comment by Patrik Hedinger on April 20, 2014 at 7:00am

David, congratulations! Well done!

How different must the thoughts have been in your son's mind :-) when you were approaching Heathrow. I am writing this from Switzerland.

My flights went also well, I was more nervous than on previous flights (but I try not to beat myself up on this). Especially the flight from Paris to Zurich was a bit rough at times. The flight attendant said jokingly that this only happens when the flight is completely full and not when they just have 3 passengers to serve. That helped.


Comment by David Wragg on April 19, 2014 at 8:50pm

Just reporting in ... My flight from Madrid this morning was fine and transferred us safely to London in a couple of hours to my great relief.

My anticipatory anxiety was quite powerful, I think mainly due to the fact I felt very unsure about using the bigger and older 767 (it was over 21 years old). In fact, at one point while trying to put my heart into reading my son's Thomas the Tank Engine comic I was on the verge of telling myself that flying was just something I'd have to leave for others. Feelings are like the weather though and at the moment I fancy trying again. It didn't help that we sat on the plane for about an hour before pushback waiting for the ground staff to remove a bag belonging to someone who hadn't boarded; I should be, and am, glad of this attention to detail but the wait was killing me!

The climb and cruise were fine and we enjoyed using the onboard entertainment systems in place for the long-haul sectors the plane typically does, but I've got to say that there were 2 or 3 'dips' on approach to Heathrow that got my pulse racing big-time and elicited a few gasps from fellow passengers. I guess with wind shifting around and you travelling at relatively low speed, the plane is going to go over some humps. I was very unnerved thinking - emotionally - we were on the verge of stalling, but when I looked at my son he was laughing and having fun. I'm so glad my children have had a positive first experience of flying!

Anyway, next flight to Venice at the end of April (courtesy of Classic FM!) but with some mental work to do in the mean time. Phew!

Thanks Keith and Patrik especially for your support!

Comment by David Wragg on April 17, 2014 at 7:30pm
Yep, sorry I missed you, I was on kids bedtime duty! I'm reminding myself of the things you told me and that it would be pretty crazy for an airline to be putting people at risk on airplanes that don't work, for want of a better expression. The way you described a typical descent into Barcelona stuck with me and really helped on the way out. Although London is busy airspace I'm focussing on how organised and professional it seems to be from experience of looking at flightradar24 and watching the Airport Live programmes. Thanks for checking in on me!
Comment by Captain Keith on April 17, 2014 at 6:35pm

just missed you on chat .... 

Comment by David Wragg on April 17, 2014 at 6:33pm
Thanks for your encouraging words Patrik. We're travelling to Madrid tomorrow to take our return flight on Saturday and I too have noticed a change in my outlook - a kind of here I go again feeling. I am staying positive and looking to get as much fun from the travelling as possible. Also hoping to be a bit more relaxed and realistic as I usually am on a return leg. I try to remember that the 'movies' and negative thoughts are just my 'older' emotional brain doing its job of saying, 'Hey, wouldn't you feel much better avoiding this?' I reply, 'I don't need to avoid this to be safe,' and try to carry on with what I'd be doing anyway. That's the plan anyway.
Comment by Patrik Hedinger on April 17, 2014 at 3:05pm

I feel flattered by your referring to me as a mentor :-) We are in the same boat and it feels good to give support to others (and add a little of my professional knowledge on psychological issues). To encourage others has an encouraging effect on myself. So it's a win-win situation :-) I also send you strength and courage for your return flight!

Comment by David Wragg on April 16, 2014 at 9:31pm
It's great to be tackling our fears together Patrik and I feel like You're a kind of mentor to me, so thanks to you! May I wish you a very comfortable trip home on Friday - I'll be rooting for you and look forward to hearing your thoughts on it sometime soon.


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