Fear of flying. Need help.

Feb 17th, 2002, 01:11 PM
  #1  
Db
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Fear of flying. Need help.

I love to travel, but am terrified to fly. About to go to europe for 6th time but fear is getting worse. Anyone know of a fearful flyer program in New York City?
 
Feb 17th, 2002, 01:30 PM
  #2  
anon
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I think almost EVERYONE is terrified of flying these days. How could any "fearful flyer program" instructor, with a straight face, tell us not to be afraid?
 
Feb 17th, 2002, 01:32 PM
  #3  
Sheila
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Oh, nonsense!

I'm far more frightened of crossing the road

Mind, I'm not saying YOU shouldn't be scared. That's up to you. But MOST people aren't any more frightened than they were.
 
Feb 17th, 2002, 01:35 PM
  #4  
anon
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Sheila, You are telling us that your heart races, you have panic attacks, and you make sure your will is updated everytime you cross the street? Maybe you are ignoring the terrorist threats and airport security lapses, but some of us are not.
 
Feb 17th, 2002, 01:35 PM
  #5  
Rex
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Any "fearful flyer" program has tons of reasons to instruct people not to be SELECTIVELY afraid of flying. Flying is NOT more dangerous than working in a skyscraper, working in the Pentagon, going to the mall, a sporting event, or driving in a car.

Db didn't refer to having a problem with fear of ALL daily activities - - but with fear of flying - - it's an irrational fear for which help can and should be sought. I don't know anything about such programs - - but I suspect that they are no less useful or appropriate today than they were before September 11.

Best wishes,

Rex
 
Feb 17th, 2002, 01:41 PM
  #6  
anon
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I am an avid traveller who happens to have a fear of flying. It is not a fear of the airplane crashing, it is the fear of being cooped up for hours on end and not being able to exit at my own free will that causes panic attacks. This is a very common type of fear of flying. None of the arguments about crossing the street or driving a car are relevent in this case.
 
Feb 17th, 2002, 01:57 PM
  #7  
r
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Of course, anon, is correct, but I gather that your fear is a neurotic phobia. Is that correct? A phobia is an irrational fear. Even though flying IS dangerous, not flying when you want to, in order to enjoy life, gets in the way. You need to be reconditioned, so to speak. There are programs, but you know that the best way to get over it is not around it, but through it. You will have to fly eventually--and again and again and again until you learn that you can survive your own fear. (I just re-read your post, and see that you have made it there 6 times, so you know it can be done) Confronting fear is the only way to get over it. I recommend a book with a bad title but with excellent information: "The Feeling Good Handbook" David Burns, MD. He's a behavioral science genius. Try the website: fearofflying.com ,too. There are many programs that you can read about on the web but my experience with phobia is to JUST DO IT. Sounds callous but believe me it's the only way through it.
 
Feb 17th, 2002, 02:01 PM
  #8  
Sheila
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Please excuse me; your question is entirely relevant for tose who suffer from a phobia about flying. I don't and have nothing helpful to respond to your question.

I should by now have learned to keep quiet but the anon's of this world tee me off.

I don't choose to invalidate his/her fears, but he/she need not involve the rest of us in them.

It doesn't help anyone to repeat this sort of pap.

Best wishes in getting over your problem
 
Feb 17th, 2002, 02:02 PM
  #9  
belinda
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I too am a fearful flyer. Actually, I suffer horrible panic attacks on planes (dry mouth, palpitations, sweaty palms, shortness of breath). I do warn those sitting next to me that I'm a terrible flyer, but not to worry, I'm fine. As I clutch my Bible. Really. Even watching a movie with an airplane interior scene makes my hands sweat. Anyway, the only thing I have found that works like a miracle drug is a little pill called Xanax. I take it in sufficient dosage to numb my fear, but not make me noncomposmentis (no idea how to spell that). At about 1.5 mg I can fly comfortably and still retrieve the correct luggage. Don't know if it will work for you, and it certainly isn't a cure, but it's all the advice I have. Talk to your doctor.
 
Feb 17th, 2002, 02:05 PM
  #10  
just curious
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Belinda; Just curious does it make you sleepy or groggy? Do you feel like "medicine head" when you take it? It has been recommended to me for fear of driving on freeways.
 
Feb 17th, 2002, 02:23 PM
  #11  
belinda
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JC - DO NOT TAKE XANAX AND DRIVE. Okay, I've done my civic duty. Yes, it makes me sleepy, which is a good thing on an airplane (I'm not the pilot). It leaves me with a little bit of a hangover, but not too bad. Prefer the hangover to not flying.
 
Feb 17th, 2002, 02:28 PM
  #12  
anon
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"r" you are correct, the panic attacks are not a phobia per se. It is not an irrational fear, it is more a reaction to a situation, or should I say, not being in full control of a situation. For many of us, these come and go, we just have to "put up" with them. The scariest part is stepping onto that plane when I know I will be trapped for 7 or 8 hours. I am usually the last one on the plane for that reason.
 
Feb 17th, 2002, 02:42 PM
  #13  
anon
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Belinda-- you sound defensive about taking medication. Of course, you are not the pilot!! I sensed from "just curious" that he/she was looking for some honest help and feedback about taking Xanax. Your "civic duty" is a rather over the top.
 
Feb 17th, 2002, 02:44 PM
  #14  
Me too
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Db -- We're with you. I'm with you. My fear has to do with a balance problem that means if I get motion sick, I stay disoriented for a long time. So my fear isn't about crashing (and sometimes I feel like barfing all over those wagging fingers about how safe planes are), it's about being trapped and shaken to bits by turbulence. Trouble is, that happens just often enough to keep the anxiety alive. Now I admit, I'm becoming also worried about catastrophe, even if the "odds" are with us.

I will second Belinda's belief in Xanax. I used it for years, in decreasing amounts, to help me break the pattern of fear. Let me tell you a few things:

1. The fear seems worst a few nights before the actual flight and then the morning of the flight, until I actually get on board and the plane takes off. Xanax is helpful particularly then.

2. For me -- and NO TWO PEOPLE ARE THE SAME -- the effect is to make me drowsy but much calmer, more resigned. But the side effects include: a headache when it wears off, and constipation (anything that relaxes muscles relaxes THAT muscle). So I make sure I take Advil with the Xanax and right through until it clears my system, and ... well, you can deal with the constipation however you want.

But no, don't dare drive with Xanax. And if you get a prescription for it, I'd recommend trying it out before you fly. For some people, it isn't until the 2nd dose that they get the benefit; for others starting with the full dose is just too much -- they get snowed and dopey. I usually took about 1/2 the normal dose the night before and another 1/2 the next morning IF I needed it. Sometimes there's a lethargy as a kind of hangover, and so be prepared for that.

Now, I take about 1/4 the normal dose when I'm really in trouble, and it usually does the trick.

There are other drugs some people prefer to Xanax -- obviously, you've got to talk to a doctor about all of this.

BUT -- don't let the fear stop you from going, because that will make it a lot, lot worse the next time you try to get on a plane. The bad news about these kinds of fears is that you have to keep fighting them back. Every victory and good experience makes you calmer the next time you have to fly. Every time you cave, the next time is that much harder.

Good luck. And take distractions (comedy audio tapes, a great book, chocolate, love letters, crossword puzzles, a teddy-bear, whatever.....). Promise yourself a big reward for getting there.
 
Feb 17th, 2002, 02:49 PM
  #15  
to anon
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I have problems with confined space, as well; so I completely understand you, anon. For years I took tapes of all sorts and a walkman on the plane; herbal calming remedies, books, evian spray, no morning coffee, spoke to the person next to me no matter what just to distract myself, you name it,I did it. Eventually, the obvious manifestation of the fear has gone away. I am aware of it inside, the stray nasty thoughts,etc, but I redirect because I know there is no point in going there...I want the freedom of flying whenever I want and wherever I want. It is very hard work to redirect but it's worth it.
 
Feb 17th, 2002, 05:48 PM
  #16  
Capo
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I'm a *bit* of a fearful flyer. Not as much anxious about being enclosed in a small space for so long as I am about crashing, even though I realize, statistically, that flying is FAR safer than traveling by car. The crashing thing has loomed a little larger for me ever since the Swissair crash off New York in 1998 since I personally knew a woman on that flight.

Anyway, every once in a while, while flying, I think "Hey, I'm hurtling through the air at 600 mph at 35,000 inside a metal tube!" but then I forget about it and go back to reading.

Db, this isn't a "program", per se, but I found the website below which mentions a doctor (who's also a pilot) at NYU who counsels fearful business flyers.

If it's any consolation, I think a lot of people are afraid to even fly at all. I saw a show a while back where an airline executive (I think) said they have a large potential market of flyers who simply won't fly because they're too afraid to even get on a plane.

Fearful flyer NYU doctor:
http://wcbs880.com/smbus/StoryFolder...219827286_html
 
Feb 17th, 2002, 05:52 PM
  #17  
Db
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Sheila, i'm not trying to "involve anyone in my problem" . All I did was ask a simple question. This is a travel advice board isn't it? If you don't want to get involved why waste your precious time responding, just ignore me.

Thank you to those who gave worthwhile info. I would appreciate any info on programs in NYC. I have always been afraid but I always get on the plane and deal with the misery off 8 hours of panic. i'm just trying to see if these programs help...I lov e to travel and am just trying to enjoy it more. That's all.
Belinda and Me too. I have taken xanax before with no relief. i only took0.5 mg, perhaps I should increase the dose. I am a nurse so I know not to drive. Thanks again.
 
Feb 17th, 2002, 05:58 PM
  #18  
Phobic-Chick
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I too had a problem with driving on highways for about 15 years. I took baby steps with a trusted friend and I now zip around without a problem. I do not have a fear of flying but the person who responded about "just doing it" is correct but counselling and medications will probably speed the process up. Good luck and I hope you get better soon!
 
Feb 17th, 2002, 06:01 PM
  #19  
Db
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Thanks Capo, I'll look in to that.
 
Feb 17th, 2002, 06:04 PM
  #20  
jahoulih
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Db, I think Sheila indicated that she wasn't responding to your perfectly valid question at all. She was responding to anon's comment--"I think almost EVERYONE is terrified of flying these days"--which is, as she put it, nonsense, and an attempt to involve the rest of us in his/her fears (by claiming that almost everyone shares them). A rather keen insight on Sheila's part, but with reference to anon, not Db.
 

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