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Fear of flying suggestions

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Old 05-20-2009, 10:21 PM   #1
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Fear of flying suggestions

Hey guys soo Saturday after a year of planning and getting ready finally had my vacation to Europe to go see my family. I got to IAD(dulles) and I was a little nervous because im not too found of flying, checked my bag in and was waiting to board the 2045 flight to LHR, right before they started boarding I panicked really really bad. I started shaking feeling like vomiting got very tense stomach pains and was scared. I ended up not going got my bag off and left. This has never happend before I mean I dont really fly a lot and before when I've flown I've been nervous and a little scared but not like this. On monday I got some xanax from a friend and tueday tried again. I paid the penalty fee check my bag and everyhting started happening again even before I went through security check even after taking the xanax, they got my bag off and ended up going home,, now I lost 4 total days of vacation and I ended up postponing my vacation until september 5th after paying ANOTHER penalty fee. I'm going back to work tomorrow dissapointed embarrased and pissed of at myself and will try to figure out what to do until my next flight sept.5th. I havent seen my familly since the end of 2006 and im sure I've dissapointed them too even though they said it's okay and not to worry about it. ANY suggestions ??????? I'm at loss right now and dont know what to do. I've been looking foward to going for soooo long and I really miss everyone back home and also to really relax and enjoy my 2 weeks off. I have Keiser inssurance so I'm going to make an appointment to conuslt with a doctor but I also want to get some input from you guys, anything is greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-20-2009, 10:31 PM   #2
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Re: Fear of flying suggestions

The first thing I thought of when I read the thread title was "xanax." And it didnt' work for you.

I, too, HATE flying. The thought of something that big and heavy 7 miles up in the air just doesn't seem right. There was a time when I'd bum a xanax from a friend before a flight (aside from vitamins, I hate taking any kind of pill, but it was a trade off), and it worked really well. I don't do it anymore, I just close my eyes and take deep breaths during takeoff and I'm okay.

What exactly is it that's causing these panic attacks? What are you afraid of?
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Old 05-20-2009, 10:41 PM   #3
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Re: Fear of flying suggestions

ummm crashing to the ground and dying? The fact that human error manifests itself in every facet of life imaginable and that there are no bounds? I have the same problem. Luckily I'm slightly bi-polar, so when I fly I get really freaking hammered and just don't care if I live or die. I may get to my destination, or arrested at the airport. Either way, I don't end up back home.
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:43 PM   #4
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Re: Fear of flying suggestions

See a doctor about it. Tell him your symptoms and he'll definitely conclude that anxiety is an issue for you. If you tell him Xanax didn't work, he'll probably try you on Lexapro first.

It should be noted that anxiety meds are not designed to be taken one at a time, like you would Tylenol for a headache. They are meant to be used routinely.

In order to work right, they need to consistently run through your blood stream in order to balance out the chemicals in your brain causing the anxiety attack. One Xanax here or there won't necessarily help, but if you're on Xanax steadily for a week and then try to fly, you might be good to go.

But no matter what this is a conversation that has to take place with a doctor.
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:46 PM   #5
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Re: Fear of flying suggestions

Before you resort to meds there are books and/or classes that may help you deal with your fear.
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:07 AM   #6
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Re: Fear of flying suggestions

Well i'm sort of heartened to hear someone else admit to a deathly fear of flying! Frost i'm really curious how yours got started? I'll tell you i grew up flying a ton cuz mom was a flight attendant for many years. Two things happened. In 1991 we left O'Hare for London and about an hour in the plane lost an engine. Policy is the plane turns around so we did. Then about 5 minutes from landing the fire alarms went off. We got landed in a hurry...very rough landing and the plane was shut down on the run way. Come to find out a cabin cooling system hadn't been filled w/ water and nearly started a fire...ever since then i thought about the other scenario, where the engine doesn't die and we have a cabin fire at 40 thousand feet. The second thing that made me terrified was a flight into Seattle a few years later in the worst storm i've ever seen. I got to see the snack cart bounce of the ceiling and hear people scream and pray. FUN!!!

But here's the thing I can fly today w/o panicking. Drugs never worked for me much but Matty's suggestion is a good one. I can't remember what i read years back but just recently i read Outliers, which talks about many of the things major airlines have done to make flying much, much safer than it used to be. That's the bottom line for me...the big carriers are really safe. I won't ride on smaller ones anymore.
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:38 AM   #7
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Re: Fear of flying suggestions

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Originally Posted by GMScud View Post
The first thing I thought of when I read the thread title was "xanax." And it didnt' work for you.

I, too, HATE flying. The thought of something that big and heavy 7 miles up in the air just doesn't seem right. There was a time when I'd bum a xanax from a friend before a flight (aside from vitamins, I hate taking any kind of pill, but it was a trade off), and it worked really well. I don't do it anymore, I just close my eyes and take deep breaths during takeoff and I'm okay.

What exactly is it that's causing these panic attacks? What are you afraid of?

I really wish I could pinpoint to something and say THIS is what the problem is but I'm just not sure, the whole waiting part after you check your bag in going through security waiting to bard waiting to take off I guess it just builds up to the anxiety, the heights once your in the air, I wont even look out the window, the thought of being in a tube with nothing below you. last time the whole way to europe i was gripping on to the seat handles, maybe some of those memories from previous flight ? the thought of not making it back. I think it's a bit of everything. Maybe because I dont have someone who I know that I could feel confortable in the plane ? I know you could chat with a stranger but its not the same as having your boy with you or a familly member to kinda provide that confort. Especially the 2nd time I tried i kept telling myself stop being a wuss you can do this etc + the xanax that i had taken ALL of it went out the window once i got to the security check.
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:50 AM   #8
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Re: Fear of flying suggestions

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Originally Posted by The Goat View Post
Well i'm sort of heartened to hear someone else admit to a deathly fear of flying! Frost i'm really curious how yours got started? I'll tell you i grew up flying a ton cuz mom was a flight attendant for many years. Two things happened. In 1991 we left O'Hare for London and about an hour in the plane lost an engine. Policy is the plane turns around so we did. Then about 5 minutes from landing the fire alarms went off. We got landed in a hurry...very rough landing and the plane was shut down on the run way. Come to find out a cabin cooling system hadn't been filled w/ water and nearly started a fire...ever since then i thought about the other scenario, where the engine doesn't die and we have a cabin fire at 40 thousand feet. The second thing that made me terrified was a flight into Seattle a few years later in the worst storm i've ever seen. I got to see the snack cart bounce of the ceiling and hear people scream and pray. FUN!!!

But here's the thing I can fly today w/o panicking. Drugs never worked for me much but Matty's suggestion is a good one. I can't remember what i read years back but just recently i read Outliers, which talks about many of the things major airlines have done to make flying much, much safer than it used to be. That's the bottom line for me...the big carriers are really safe. I won't ride on smaller ones anymore.

Oh man sounds like terrible experiences. Like I told GMScud I think it started with the waiting part, especially saturday night when i was suppose to fly out there was that big thunderstorm and my flight got delayed for almost 2 hours. I think it would be a lot easier if I had one of my buddies with me but unfortunatelly that wont happen. I dont even get on rollercosters(not sure if that has anything to do with flying). But I dont know it's crazy and what makes me angry about the whole thing is that I was goin to see my familly so its not like its a bull trip where I can be like you know what screw it I can just chill home, you know. I really wish there was a legal way where they sedate you put you on the plane and wake you up when you arrive. It's 2 flights, 1st from dulles to london and from london to bucharest,Romania. But I think I just need to get over that 1st flight, kinda like that 1st hump and see that it's ok, I should be ok on the 2nd leg of the flight. Another thing that kinda worries me is that I dont wanna force it and then have like a midflight freakout. All this has just ruined my vacation and left me feeling like s**t.
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:42 AM   #9
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Re: Fear of flying suggestions

Take a cruise to the EU. So long as you don't get sea sick, problem solved. ;-) But if you see Dicaprio and Winslet, wait for another boat.
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Old 05-21-2009, 08:09 AM   #10
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Re: Fear of flying suggestions

My ex-wife, who is German, has the same problems. One time we were flying to Germany, with a stop in Pittsburgh. The landing at Pittsburgh was so bad she threw up than passed out, and they had to clear the plane for medics to come in and take her off.

I have flown in planes/helicopters all my life, in Civil Air Patrol, then in Army transports, and now at least 4 times a year.

Have you ever gone to the observation area, and just watched planes take off and land. At BWI and Reagan National there are park areas at the end of the runway. Maybe if you take a picnic lunch, and just watch the sheer bulk of planes that take off and land regularly, it would help give you a mental picture of safety. I know TV pictures emphasize the bad events, but it is amazing to watch the sheer volume, and I think grace, of these huge machines leaving and landing. That would give your mind something positive to rest on when it starts getting anxious. Just a thought.
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:02 AM   #11
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Re: Fear of flying suggestions

I'm not a big fan of flying but the facts are that you risk your life more just driving to the airport. Good chances are you know someone who has died driving a car but I bet you don't know anyone who has died from flying. I'm sure you do other things that are much more of a risk then flying and the chance of something happening are really pretty small. Remember that the guy flying the plane has just as much on the line as you do so they take all the safty measures to protect themself as well as their passengers.
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:20 AM   #12
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Re: Fear of flying suggestions

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I'm not a big fan of flying but the facts are that you risk your life more just driving to the airport. Good chances are you know someone who has died driving a car but I bet you don't know anyone who has died from flying. I'm sure you do other things that are much more of a risk then flying and the chance of something happening are really pretty small. Remember that the guy flying the plane has just as much on the line as you do so they take all the safty measures to protect themself as well as their passengers.

I am not afraid of flying but I hate when people say it is more dangerous to drive a car. Based on what? It is just a play on numbers more cars equals more opportunties for accidents, duh. I also love, most car accidents happen within in a 5 mile radius of your home, no really where the f do you thing you drive most of the time. It gets old.
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:35 AM   #13
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Re: Fear of flying suggestions

You wanna know the secret to surviving air travel? After you get where you're going, take off your shoes and your socks then walk around on the rug bare foot and make fists with your toes.
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:37 AM   #14
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Re: Fear of flying suggestions

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You wanna know the secret to surviving air travel? After you get where you're going, take off your shoes and your socks then walk around on the rug bare foot and make fists with your toes.
I tried that once, but the building was attacked while I was in the bathroom, really ruined Christmas!
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Old 05-21-2009, 10:32 AM   #15
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Re: Fear of flying suggestions

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Originally Posted by firstdown View Post
I'm not a big fan of flying but the facts are that you risk your life more just driving to the airport. Good chances are you know someone who has died driving a car but I bet you don't know anyone who has died from flying. I'm sure you do other things that are much more of a risk then flying and the chance of something happening are really pretty small. Remember that the guy flying the plane has just as much on the line as you do so they take all the safty measures to protect themself as well as their passengers.
The thing with this is that driving does not assault the mind's basic premise that people should be close to the ground, and the further away from the ground the more danger you are in. Flying is an unnatural action and fearing that is much more natural than fearing driving.

You also give up complete control of your safety, which is another big fear creator. I know many people who cannot be a passenger in a car, but have no problem when they are driving.

Fear, in general, is an irrational emotion. That means that facts by themselves cannot always overcome it.

I go back to watching the planes land and takeoff, it is similar to immersion therapy, in that it gives your mind the visual belief that taking off and landing is a safe action, and the sound of the engines may also give the mind a sense of comfort if you look at it is the power necessary to overcome the natural laws that are seeming to be "broken".
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