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Irrationally rational

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  • Irrationally rational

    I am the typical flew all my life and loved it, then one day I didn't anymore, and then it got worse. I developed anxiety in other aspects of my life which just added itself on to my already fragile relationship with flying. I haven't flown since January 017 and I'm flying tomorrow. I have gone through all emotions to the point of crying, not so much out of fear as out of frustration : I used to recruit pilots for a living, I have seen everything they need to do to get here, sat in interviews, worked in the operation center .. I'll be flying with the airline I used to work for, the 'best airline in the world ' - I know these pilots and I trust the process that got them there, the fleet is brand new, the route is rather short and pretty peaceful, very little turbulence as per the forecast map - 5h55 flight .. my rational knows it is safe and I'll be okay.

    But my irrational lashes on to the unvertainty, the part beyond our control- does Murphy's law still apply with a machine engineered for everything to run smooth? My mind goes into this fantasy mode Of what ifs and I panic all the while thinking I'm a bit arrogant to make 300 people's flights, safety all about me.. even more so when I think about the millions of people that will be airborne at the same time I am,

    when i get rational, I feel so peaceful. I actually enjoy flying, the soothing sound of the engines, the dimmed lights during night flights - landing is my favorite part because I mentally rate the pilot's skill even though I no longer work for the airline. And then a thought comes up - usually some catastrophe scenario - and I get scared, I even considered not getting on the flight .. but I have to. I can't let this fear drive me. I love the idea of speaking to the captain but access to the pilots is tricky with this airline, if I'm lucky I might know him and maybe get a shot. I'm definitely talking to the cabin crew though.

    But I know, with the life i have as an expat, flying is the only non negotiable aspect. I tried to un-expat myself and was miserable. Going through soar was tremendously helpful thank you so much... , but my fear is less technical like plane, or pilot and is more existential. Life's uncertainty feels even stronger when I'm headed 30 000 ft upwards take off is my nemesis , I really struggle with that one because it has a 'too late now' feeling ... I go back and forth between sheer terror and a weird sense of knowing I'll be fine so I should stop being silly ... it's exhausting !

  • #2
    Thank you so much for your thorough response Captain. My rational mind is so relieved by everything you said and I'm more than aware at how far fetched my thinking is. I have friends, family on a plane every week at different times and everyone lands safely. Heck I have been on countless planes ( minimum twice a year ) for my whole life and have always landed safely. As a matter of fact, I have not had a bad flight to speak of... albeit sometimes a bit shaky or unusually loud ( like the A320 or the 787) ...

    You're absolutely spot on my amygdala goes off all the time, and added to the superstition that when you focus long enough on something it eventually manifests gives me irrational but valid enough reasoning to justify my fear. While driving back from the airport ( I didn't end up flying last week though it was due to unforeseen circumstances ), I was on a German highway at peak hour and it was raining.. and I thought to myself there are higher risks of something happening to you on this journey right this moment than had you gotten on your flight .. but you're not scared which goes to show youre completely irrational.

    The 777 was by far my preferred airliner until I experienced the A350 ( so smooth, quiet you barely notice you're flying ) - though with the recent engine failures of the A380s I have to say I'm a bit more Boeing inclined ( the fact that airbus is so dependent on technology is great until something goes awry .. I find Boeing pilots are still more in 'pilot mode ' but I can't know for sure )..

    the plane i was supposed to fly on got there safely ... i am bummed because I would have loved to have that flight behind me .. but at the same time i don't just want to override my fear, i want to go back to enjoying the experience. It's almost as if in my late 20 ies something made me realize I was 30 000 ft in the air ... before that it really didn't hit me or matter.

    Maybe I'm also processing a friend of mine who recently passed at 37, so my sense of mortality is heightened. I wish I could afford your course right now but I can't justify this expenditure for the time being, though I will definitely take part eventually.

    You also mentioned acceptance of that which we can't control. That's a big one for me. My mind finds smart ways around every explanation I give it, including the fact that on those planes who didn't land safely there were people who also believed they would be safe or who were afraid but decided to get passed their fear to get where they needed to go. That aspect really bothers me because fact is regardless we don't actually know for sure. We can prepare and remove risk as much as possible but there can always be that one thing nobody thought of and unfortunately that minimal percent is the one my brain is focused on, the one percentage it can't predict, explain or accept ... it makes absolutely no sense.
    Last edited by Ibelieveicanfly; 10-10-17, 03:45 PM.