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  • Hesitating on booking a flight...

    I'm new here and not sure how these forums work, or if this is the right place to post, but here I go!
    I've had a really bad fear of flying since I was 17 (almost 22 now) that seemed to come out of absolutely nowhere. I'd flown many, many times (anywhere from 1-4 round trips a year) and used to love it. Suddenly it became a terrifying experience for me. I stopped flying for almost 2 years because on a perfectly routine flight, I spent the whole 2.5 hours crying, panicking, hyperventilating, unable to watch a movie or read a book or anything. I could not do anything at all but panic. It was so scary and uncomfortable, I said I'd never fly again.
    Then, I agreed to fly with my family for the holidays only if I was medicated. My doctor gave me Ativan and in December, I finally flew again on medication. Until I took the pill I was panicking. I was doing my whole song and dance through the airport of crying and wondering how everyone at the airport was so relaxed when we were all about to die (illogical, but my logic goes out the window when it's flying time). After taking my Ativan my panic subsided, but I still found myself slightly on edge. I wasn't panicking or crying on the plane, but I still wasn't comfortable and enjoying flying.
    I decided I'd just fly with Ativan from then on and deal with feeling discomfort. But now, my best friend and I are planning a trip to California and Vegas in August. It will be about a 5 hour flight and I am freaking out. I keep putting off booking the flight. I am used to flying with my parents who can handle my panic attacks and mood swings. I also trick myself into thinking that because they are my parents, I can abandon the flight at the last second and it will be ok. With my best friend, I cannot do this without totally ruining the trip, losing all our money and damaging our friendship. I don't want to let her down. I want to go on the trip and I want to feel good about it and not need to be medicated.
    I'm wondering if anyone has tips? I'm looking into the different Soar programs. With my severe phobia I'd assume the full guarantee program is best for me. Will I feel better and able to fly by August if I enrolled now?
    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Yes, this is the right place. I'm glad you are here.

    All these awful feelings are the result of stress hormones triggered by one thing after another on the flight, and even thinking about the flight.

    We can fix panic. And the benefit of the SOAR Course is greater than the benefit from meds; plus the effectiveness of meds wears off over time until they do nothing.

    It is good to start well ahead of your flight so the anticipatory anxiety is less and doesn't get in the way.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by butterflyaway97 View Post
      I'm new here and not sure how these forums work, or if this is the right place to post, but here I go!
      I've had a really bad fear of flying since I was 17 (almost 22 now) that seemed to come out of absolutely nowhere. I'd flown many, many times (anywhere from 1-4 round trips a year) and used to love it. Suddenly it became a terrifying experience for me. I stopped flying for almost 2 years because on a perfectly routine flight, I spent the whole 2.5 hours crying, panicking, hyperventilating, unable to watch a movie or read a book or anything. I could not do anything at all but panic. It was so scary and uncomfortable, I said I'd never fly again.
      Then, I agreed to fly with my family for the holidays only if I was medicated. My doctor gave me Ativan and in December, I finally flew again on medication. Until I took the pill I was panicking. I was doing my whole song and dance through the airport of crying and wondering how everyone at the airport was so relaxed when we were all about to die (illogical, but my logic goes out the window when it's flying time). After taking my Ativan my panic subsided, but I still found myself slightly on edge. I wasn't panicking or crying on the plane, but I still wasn't comfortable and enjoying flying.
      I decided I'd just fly with Ativan from then on and deal with feeling discomfort. But now, my best friend and I are planning a trip to California and Vegas in August. It will be about a 5 hour flight and I am freaking out. I keep putting off booking the flight. I am used to flying with my parents who can handle my panic attacks and mood swings. I also trick myself into thinking that because they are my parents, I can abandon the flight at the last second and it will be ok. With my best friend, I cannot do this without totally ruining the trip, losing all our money and damaging our friendship. I don't want to let her down. I want to go on the trip and I want to feel good about it and not need to be medicated.
      I'm wondering if anyone has tips? I'm looking into the different Soar programs. With my severe phobia I'd assume the full guarantee program is best for me. Will I feel better and able to fly by August if I enrolled now?
      Thanks in advance.

      Hi, I just wanted to encourage you (I used to hang out on Capt Tom's old Yahoo Groups site, many years ago) and just recently decided to check back in. I learned I was terrified of flying when I was 17 on my first flight...oh, it was embarrassing to lean on a complete stranger and sob! I had to fly once or twice a year for my work and figured I was going to die each time, couldn't relax, because my concentration was required to keep the plane flying, etc. But then came the job opportunity of a life time...oh no....it would require me to fly internationally at least once a month. I refused to let my terrible fear stop me, but I started to drink in the airline lounge prior to a flight to numb myself. Knowing this to be unhelpful, I began to look around for help and stumbled upon Capt Tom's site (2002 time frame?). I did not take a course, I'm not sure he had a course back then, but I read all the posts and he once sent me an email that was like a key opening a lock. He talked about the power of imagination and an exercise on driving with a cup of water vs. flying. I wish I still had the email but ever since reading that revelatory email....I have been able to fly with about 3/4s less anxiety. Occasionally, I'll have moments, but can you believe there are times that I actually ENJOY flying!? Curious about other fears, I looked up some books and stumbled across the SOAR book, which I decided to buy because I thought if the principles that helped me over overcome FoF, they might help in other areas too. I wish I had seen the book earlier, it has soo much good info that explains our fear. I have a flight to Japan coming up in a couple weeks and I'm going to review it again. The app is pretty cool as well. So this is a long message to say...you have hope! I spent 15+ years a phobic flyer and Cpt Tom's information and techniques turned my flying life around. By way of example, I have over 1 million miles with United. Make sure you read that with a Dr. Evil accent. :-) I'd say that's a pretty darn good accomplishment for someone who felt just like you.

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