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Anyone had less success than they hoped for with their first post SOAR flight?

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  • Anyone had less success than they hoped for with their first post SOAR flight?

    Hi all

    I would've preferred to post this in chat but being in the UK means I can't join either the phone or online chat as its about 2 or 3am for me(I have tried, but I usually fall back asleep before I can get up an log in!)..

    At the start of the year I completed the course, read the book (twice), had my phone session and practiced the strengthening exercise almost daily for weeks in the hope that after more than 20 years of fearful flying I can manage a long haul flight later this year without the need for medication and suffering days/weeks of nerves beforehand. I booked a short haul flight as a practice and went on a weekend city break to Berlin(only 1.5 hours from England). Although I felt much calmer leading up to the flight - I felt confident things would kick in once on board so that helped with the anticipatory anxiety - I was still very, very nervous during taxiing, take off and ascent (oddly those are usually the easier part for me but perhaps that was due to the meds in the past). I still had a hammering heart, sweaty palms,etc. It was like I forgot everything! Like when you've studied, revised and prepared for a big test then forgot most of it when you sat down with the exam paper! I just about managed to remind myself about the 54321 exercise but struggled to do it. I went back to my old ways of being paranoid about every movement/noise and spent most of the time focusing on what the plane was doing.
    I decided against meeting the captain (I know, but hear me out) because the airline has a very short turnaround time between flights and there is very little time (they don't even open the gate until very shortly beforehand)and also I had read on here (I often read the chat the day after) about British flight crew being unfriendly/unhelpful having not heard of this course. I am flying BA on my long flight so won't do it then therefore decided to miss it out on the practice one. I had an even more difficult flight back after a long - unexplained - delay then no announcement from the cockpit during the flight, plus being at the back of the plane (you cant choose your seat without having to pay extra - I was separated from my husband on the outbound flight because of this) then arriving home to the news of the Russian crash the same day compounded things.
    I feel really disappointed that it didn't go better and am now more anxious than ever about the flight later this year. I really hope I'm not putting anyone off the course, I genuinely believe its really effective, I know many - most, probably - people have success but just wondered if anyone else had had a disappointing start post-course and what they did to persevere. I don't know if I should continue with the exercises, re-watch the DVD's...At the moment I can't face it as I've had bad general anxiety since I got back and reading or thinking about anything flight related is too overwhelming right now.
    Any advise from any other SOAR graduates, especially any who have been in a similar position would be much appreciated! Apologies for the long post.

  • #2
    I don't know why it didn't work, so lets talk on the phone and figure it out. Tom


    • #3
      Hi Lynng

      I was really interested reading your post. I am also English so miss out on the Wednesday night chats! I have not completed the soar programme although have read the book, used the website and followed some of Captain Tom’s videos. All of which are great! He is calm and his explanations well thought out for us nervous flyers. I am so close to signing up as must have tried everything else including 5 fear of flying courses, simulator, hypnotherapy, Valium, acupuncture and currently therapy with an expert in this field. I have made lots of progress recently with tubes and lifts but the flying, is still very difficult! I know the facts and the techniques to deal with the anxiety, but like you, in extreme anxiety, an
      unable to focus on anything other than panic 😔 I did a day trip to Amsterdam on Saturday, literally 45 mins, but every bit of movement, my brain was on full alert and panic! My son is studying in California and I have 2 years to sort this for his graduation, but on Saturday I felt a failure & got off the plage and cried! I spoke to the captain and first officer before and after the flight & cabin crew both trips, but nothing reassured me once we had a bump! It was by no means bad, but my anxiety reacted to everything! I feel better before, I sleep and had breakfast, lunch in Amsterdam too, but I need to be calmer and now think my only option is medication. The Valium I took some years ago did nothing, but I’ve heard night nurse can work or make me sleepier at least. I hope you are feeling more reassured after talking to captain Tom!


      • #4
        We are simply looking to set up mental "software" to operate the parasympathetic nervous system, the calming "computer" you were born with. Fortunate kids get the software serendipitously when they have responsive caregivers who never - not even one time - frighten them. The rest of us don't develop the software, so we have to control everything to make sure nothing goes wrong. And we need escape as a backup. As a passenger, both control and escape are taken away. There is only one solution: get the software.


        • #5
          You make the software seem easy; I wish it was! It is very difficult to bring your mind under control when it is reacting to every noise and movement, even slight movements. I have your new book which I am reading but focusing on techniques just feels impossible 😔


          • #6
            You don't understand that you don't do this - or anything at all - on the plane. You do the linking exercises repeatedly in the weeks prior to your flight so that links are solidly established between the things that happen on the plane and calming memories so that on the flight, it happens automatically.