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Reviews by SOAR Graduates

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Client Background Summary:

  • The last week or so would be full of fear and insomnia. I would be a wreck by the time of the trip, but I did it all anyway.
  • I would also have a strange reaction when someone at home asked to make plans to do something after I returned from my trip. I would do so, but privately wonder if I would be alive at that time.

Client Review Summary:

  • I was stunned to find that I was not nervous at all. I felt perfectly fine. Even when there was a bit of turbulence, I did not care at all. I read my magazine, watched the movie, and had a snack.
  • As I have said to Tom, I realized that I actually could not work up the enthusiasm to get nervous. I just wasn’t interested in it.

Client Review:

"The first time I flew, I was in college. I was slightly nervous beforehand, but the trip was short and pleasant, New York to D.C. on a beautiful sunny day. It was a perfectly smooth flight and the guy sitting next to me was pleasant and talkative. The two hours flew by quickly.

After that I figured I would never have a problem with flying. I was definitely wrong.

Over the next few years I made several plane trips, short ones in college to see friends upstate or out of state, and later overseas flights to the U.K.

I don’t remember when it started but gradually I became a fearful flyer.

It could have been a flight home from Pittsburgh where I had been visiting a friend in grad school. It was a relatively short trip back to New York, but it was a rainy, thunderstorm filled night. Lots of turbulence. No one to speak to as my seatmate, a stranger, kept his headphones on the whole time.

Each trip I went on, I would have differing amounts of fear, depending on the turbulence level. But it seemed there was no pleasing me, because at times in the flight where the ride was so smooth that the plane seemed to be perfectly still, I would suddenly fear it had stopped working and would fall out of the sky. Any noise I heard the plane make during takeoff or flight would send me into a mental tailspin. What did that noise mean? Was something dangerous happening?

Sometimes I would have a relatively “low fear” flight, and hope that maybe I was somehow “cured” of my fear. Then the next flight would be bumpier, and I would suffer again, realizing sadly I had made no progress at all.

Every time I planned a trip, I would gradually be filled with more and more anxiety in the weeks before the departure. The last week or so would be full of fear and insomnia. I would be a wreck by the time of the trip, but I did it all anyway.

And yet, if you sat near me on a plane you would not know I had a problem. I was not the type to act out or cry or make any kind of sign of fear. I would just sit and suffer mentally in silence.

I did not miss out on opportunities because of my fear of flying. When planning a trip I just factored in the fact that I would be miserable and terrified for the hours on the flight. I would also be more exhausted the first day or two of the trip (on top of regular jetlag) because all that fear is exhausting, and of course there was never a chance of sleeping on the plane, even overseas or at night.

I would also have a strange reaction when someone at home asked to make plans to do something after I returned from my trip. I would do so, but privately wonder if I would be alive at that time. Yes, every plane ride seemed to me a potential way to meet my end. In fact, I might have a great, enjoyable trip, but the last couple of days would be tainted by the thought in the back of my mind that I still had to fly home, and wondering if I would really make it back alive.

After 9-11 I did not fly for several years, mostly because I had less income at the time, and because I had no particular need to fly anywhere.

But then in the spring of 2007, I realized I had to fly to L.A. It was the only way to take advantage of some creative and business opportunities. I began to plan a trip and realized that for the first time, I was terrified to even make the plane reservation.

In the past, I had just bought the ticket, planned the trip, etc. and accepted the fact that I would suffer. But now I could not bring myself to do this. I realized that for the first time my fear of flying was preventing me from doing something important that I knew intellectually I had to do.

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