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Have not flown since my son was born

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  • Have not flown since my son was born

    It has been nearly 15 years since I have been on an airplane. As i write this I am on the verge of cancelling an upcoming flight. I can't seem to get the courage to go through with it. Part of it is not wanting to transfer this fear to my son. Having a panic attack or a breakdown on board and he witnessing all of it. Obviously I am frustrated and i can see the disappointment in my wife's face when i tell her i may need to cancel.

    Prior to his birth I flew with my wife but with fear on each flight. The anxiety on board would get so bad that i would have heart palpitations(strong skipped beats) and would be a total basketcase. It is so shameful to be on an airplane with so many strangers and feeling this way. I fear of having a medical emergency and ruining the flight for so many people. It really ruins my vacation thinking of my return flight.

    Some have suggested I force myself to fly as often as I can. Others say take short flights. I am so disappointed in myself. I wonder if anyone here has been in a similar predicament.

  • #2
    A little bit but no as bad I think. I fly a lot on short haul flight that has no turbulence, so whilst I hate the take off I'm generally fine. However had my first real long haul with my children and hated it. I was nervous before hand but thought I would be fine on the flight. And I was until there was turbulence at which point I was terrified , on the brink of tears and miserable for the rest of the journey and felt incredibly guilty. I was so relieved to land but have become obsessed with traveling back. Reading this forum has helped me see that I am using flying as a scapegoat for just generally being s nervous person. (No one here has said that about me or anyone else for the record, it's just my personal take on my own attitude). I am not sure if forcing yourself to go would help if it ruins a dream holiday, and I don't find going on short hauls so much made a difference to how I felt on a long haul. What I am telling myself is that I am constantly seeing planes flying overhead, yet I am not in fear of them despite the fact that if planes were constantly crashing I would be in danger on the ground from falling debris. But that's helping me feel less anxious on the ground but don't think it will overide fear in the sky. I am feeling a lot better reading captain Bunn's advice and I'm thinking of seeing if I can afford the programme as I think it might help me with other things not just flying. Sorry can't be more help.


    • #3
      We are supposed to have emotional regulation “software” that automatically down-regulates the feeling of alarm that results when the amygdala releases stress hormones. If we lack this “software,” we don’t automatically shift from a moment of alarm to a calmer level: curiosity or interest. If we don't shift away from alarm, alarm colors our thinking, and makes us believe there is danger. Why? Because we are alarmed. Alarm makes us sure there is danger.

      Yes, the feeling of alarm is caused by stress hormones released by a 200,000,000 year-old part of the brain we inherited from reptiles. It has no intelligence. It cannot think. It reacts to unexpected change, the sequence of noises and physical sensations of takeoff, and the dropping feeling during turbulence.

      Automatic down-regulation is essential to be able to handle emotions, for without it, it overreact.