Post # 1
I have received a job offer up in the Northern Territory. It is very remote and can pretty much only be accessed by plane or train- and the train is more of a luxury type thing, like a cruise. However, SO has an extreme fear of flying. He cannot rationalise it and truly believes he will die, even though he knows statistically it is not true. Last time we were on a short flight, he cried silently the whole time 🙁
The flight to get there will be 4.5 hours- way longer than anything he has ever done before. He thought he’d be okay with it until it got closer and now he is starting to freak out. He is also worried that he’ll get ‘stuck’ in this remote location. We were ok going up there as I get 6 weeks paid holidays each year, so we figured we can come down and visit family reasonably often- But that won’t happen with this phobia. He is almost considering staying behind and it is killing him. He feels like he is letting me down 🙁
Have any bees had a phobia like this and still flown? What did you do to handle it? What meds did you take? We are thinking of going to the doctors tomorrow but not sure what will be strong enough. He has had valium in the past for anxiety and it doesn’t do much to help.
Post # 3
me me me me me! super fear of flying and fear of planes over here.
I have however flown from the UK so spain, greece, tenerife, lapland, south africa, italy etc etc.
Only in the last year have i decided that i cannot do this anymore and even gave my ticket for our last holiday to my brother in law!
Diazapam valium was great for a long haul flight for me. I slept the entire 11 hours and was super chilled out. I was a shivering wreak for months before though.
I joined a fear of flying forum which is run my a british airways pilot and got the flying without fear book which really helped at the time. It was my bible. i read through the relevent chapters on the flight and listened to the audio tape of plane noises and their meanings for weeks prior to travel.Try to establish the cause of fear. claustrophobia, heights, general anxiety, fear of not being in control etc etc and work on that first.
Try to be as understanding as possible. Do you have any fears that srike that feeling in you?
other meds i take are rescue remedy, Kalms, and sitting with my palms facing up on my lap help ease anxiety. CBT may help or even hypnosis.
Post # 4
@ChocolateLime: He used to have GAD so I am pretty used to him having anxiety. He does CBT now and has improved to the point that he now only has phobias about spcific things (such as flying) rather than generalised. It is interesting you say the valium put you to sleep for 11 hours! That is kind of amazing. He has had it before. He describes it as making his body feel heavy but mentally he is still awake so he is fully alert, experiencing anxiety but can’t talk to me.
I am super interested in the audio tape though. I wonder if it would help or just make it worse. Anxiety seems to make you hyper-aware- he was telling me stuff about our last flight that I didn’t even notice. He mentioned that every time a light came on, he thought it meant something bad. Same with noises, bumps etc. Maybe knowing which noises are normal will make him feel better. Thanks for that 😀
His anxiety typically stems from a lack of control. Unfortunately, we can’t really do too much since we have to move in about a week. He was ‘fine’ with it up until today when he started thinking about it more. So CBT or something really won’t help at this stage. I think his only option will be meds or something. Do you happen to know the name of the forum?
Thanks so much btw 🙂
Post # 5
Sometimes you can ask the flight attendents if you can talk to the pilot during the flight, if you’re feeling afraid. They are used to it and if they have the time, they can be really good about calming you down and telling you why there is turbulance, why the plane is shaking, etc. If your SO thinks logically like that, it could help!
Also, ask your doctor for a different medication than Valium. I know ativan works well for me and puts me right to sleep, but valium doesn’t. And maybe this is common sense, but make sure he doesn’t use the anti-anxiety medication much before he flies, or he will build up a tolerance and it won’t be as effective when it comes time to actually take the flight.
Post # 6
@FatherTed: Oh my goodness. I had no idea you could talk to the pilot haha. I will ask him if he thinks that would make it better or worse. He is usually the most rational, logical guy I know, which is why he gets so upset about having this phobia. He just cannot reason with it. He has looked at statistics and it helps a bit beforehand, but once he is on the plane, all bets are off and he just cannot rationalise with it. I have tried explaining they would be pretty used to it though. He just told me he’s worried he’ll freak out and they will ban him from ever flying with them again :/ Clearly not rational but there you go.
Also, thanks for your suggestion with the meds. He has had anxiety since pretty much always so I think perhaps he has been on stuff before and not remembered it or something as most don’t seem to have an effect on him. We will be flying in a week though so probably won’t have a chance to build up tolerance to whatever he gets at the GP tomorrow 😉
Post # 7
I used to be SOOOOO scared of flying, like panic attack, tears, wanting to get off the plane, the works. Then I started a job where I had to fly for work, even booking the flight made me cry. In the end, my first flight I had to do with my brand new boss, I just told myself that I was going to be fine and I needed to get a grip as didn’t want to show myself up in front of my boss. After doing a few more of these flights on my own I got better and better each time and two summers ago I flew from the UK to Canada on my own, across Canada an even did a sea plane tour. I just told my self I wasn’t going to let my fear stop my from doing what I wanted to do.
I know you can’t just tell him to get a grip, like I told myself to, but maybe understanding it is something you CAN overcome may help. I think speaking to the doctor is also a good idea. My Mum hates flying and I know she has had tablets before. Either way, good luck to him x
Post # 8
@outofideas: Flying Without Fear is a great book.
Before I took my most recent flight I saw a little quote on Facebook that said, “those who live in the past experience depression, those who live in the future experience anxiety and those who live in the present experience happiness.” It really resonated with me as I prepared to board my flight. I kept repeating to myself over and over “In this moment I am safe, in this moment I am safe” and it really helped to reduce my anxiety. For me flying is a complete loss of control and the fear that we might get into an accident and die feels very real in the moment however if I constantly remind myself that all I really know for sure is the present and in the present everything is okay I can stay mindful and focus on my breathing. Personally, I would rather learn to cope with my anxiety than mask it with medication.
ETA: I let the flight attendant know that I was an anxious flyer on the most recent flight I took and I found it to be helpful. She brought me water before the beverage cart when around and explained what noises I would hear during take off and landing and told me that they were completely normal. She also reassured me that turbulence was expected and totally normal and frequently checked in with me to make sure I was okay. She didn’t make me feel embarrassed and she told me that they deal with this kind of thing all the time and are actually trained on how to make guests feel more comfortable if they’re experiencing flight anxiety. If they know what you’re going through they are more than willing and able to help.
Post # 9
I have a HUGE fear fo flying. All started when I watched some ridiculous film made in about the 70s of a plane that crashed in the middle of the ocean and sunk to the bottom with people still alive on it!! I never knew it had affected me until I was bawling my eyes out walking up the steps to the plane, (I was 16) and it’s stayed with me ever since.
I’ve found reading Fear of Flying books helps me. As in it takes the edge off a little so I can actually get on the plane. I try and read some form of fear of flying material each time I get on a plane. I also take Diazapam but it just chills me out until the plane starts whizzing down the runway then I am usually back to a crying jibbering wreck again. It’s NEVER helped me to sleep even if I take an extra one.
I am worse with turbulance. I can handle it when it’s smooth (don’t get me wrong, I’m still totally terrified, but I’m just not crying my eyes out) but when the seatbelt sign comes on then I’m in tears again knowing we’re going in for a bumpy ride.
Last time I flew (london to Cancun) I paid (gulp) $10 for a turbulance forcast report which you get the day before you fly. It kinda helped knowing in advance where we may have turbulance so then in my head when the turbulance occured, that I knew it was going to happen and it was all ok. But as it happens the 11 hour flight was generally quite smooth. I’ve no idea if this would help your SO?
Has he considered doing one of those fear of flying courses? They’re not cheap but I’ve heard lots of good things about them. Other than that, I would suggest reading and lots of it. There are some good websites out there with lots of material for nervous flyers (I’d post the links but I can’t remember what they are).
It’s horrible being utterly petrified. I totally feel for your SO. I hope he finds a way to make it less terrifying and distressing for himself.
Post # 10
I second that!!! I am having Dialectical Behavioural Therapy for mental illness (very similar to CBT) and one fo the first things the therapist taught me was during times of stress, to tell yourself “everything is, as it should be”.. and almost meditate to that. And when you think about it, it makes sense. So that was one of the things I was trying to do when I was in freak out mode on the plane with some controlled breathing. Not sure if it helped me but it’s worth a go. (it didn’t on the way back… nothing could help me – not even 3 diazapam and 3 vodkas! But then it was a night flight and that in itself freaks me out!!)
Post # 11
@MsBeer: Aw, congratulations on overcoming it. I know it takes a lot of work. He has overcome his general anxiety so I know it can be overcome. This might be more difficult though as he said he views it as a survival mechanism so it’s almost like he doesn’t want to overcome it. He realises it is circular :/
@ju5tdance: Have you ever done any mindfulness? If not, you may be interested in it. It is very much based on that premise so its aim is to focus you on the present. Perhaps do a little googling about it or youtube some mindfulness exercises, you may find them helpful 🙂 I know a few people who like it. It can feel a little hippy-dippy but it works!
bearsreddy We are in regional Australia so I don’t know if such courses are available here. He probably wouldn’t go to them anyway since he is a guy and he doesn’t like talking about it lol. Do you know if there is an online copy of the fear of flying book?
Thanks so much you guys <3 I think he likes knowing he is not the only one too.
Post # 12
Xanax and a glass of wine before I board the plane. lol.
Post # 13
I went through a period where I wept on every flight I was on for about two years. I fly fairly regularly and it just started up for no reason. The Fear of Flying book really helped me a lot, as did concentrating on breathing and trying to relax. It has eased up a bit. I wish I knew what brought it on… I have NO IDEA. I have never had an especially bad flight.
Post # 14
I always have fear of flying mp3s (Stacey Chance’s Fear of Flying audio course) and calming music, mindfulness exercises, etc. in a special playlist on my ipod or mobile if I’m doing any flying. I’ve really found it helpful.
Post # 15
@Bette_Noire: Thanks everyone 🙂 We went to the Dr today and he prescribed something. I’ve forgotten what it is but the Dr was really lovely. I am also buying SO a new game for his gameboy as he hopes it will distract him. Whatever works 🙂