- 3 years ago
- Wedding: June 2013
So you have those who are afraid of heights, afraid of planes crashing, terrorists, enclosed spaces with no escape for X amount of hours…
well how about this one?
I have a fear of high elevation, no, not being high up in a building, nor on a rollercoaster, nor being 10’s of thousands of feet from the ground.
What goes down when you go up? Air Pressure. I have a fear of any elevation above 2,000 feet.
I have anxiety, but not all the time, mine is more health related but this one is one I CAN’T shake and I’ve had it for the last 2 years.
As some of you may know, when you fly, the cabin you are in on a plane pressurizes as you gain altitude – because if it didn’t you would die. Most planes don’t pressurize to the equivilant to sea level because it costs too much in fuel. To make passengers more comfortable, they average at 5,000-8,000′ (max FAA regulated for commercial flights)
At this altitude, one can experience altitude sickness, or AMS (acute mountain sickness) and being mildly to severly hypoxic depending on your genetic makeup (doesn’t matter how fit, young, or old you are..it’s pretty random unless you have health issues like lung or heart diseases)
Well, I have flown 10 times, and out of those 10 I have had 8 experiences where I felt like I was literally going to die, the last 4 i’ve been on were specifically because of my thought that my o2 sat level (the amount of oxygen in your blood) was under 95% or under a healthy amount I should say (average is anything above 95% but usually 98-99)
If you’ve read this far thank you, because this is something I need to shake off soon, because I will be flying again on Saturday morning for a vacation to Florida.
(I do not and will not take anxiety meds, also plan to TTC soon so I want to be as natural as possible ((YES I SEE A THERAPIST!)) )
My symptoms when this happens is as follows:
- Anxious and feeling like I need to #2 on car ride to airport (sorry tmi)
- Spaced out and obsessive thinking and hyper awareness of my surroundings at airport, specifically at check-in and security
- If there is a wait in waiting area it’s worse, so intense anticipatory anxiety and dread.
- Boarding plane I’m ok because i’m too busy to think, but upon sitting, I get fidgety and can’t concentrate.
- Panic starts as I hear engines gear up and plane taxi-ing
- intense fear and heart races about 200bpm (no joke) when plane is taking off
- I get dizzy, light headed, short of breath, heart races, hot flashes, then heart pounds out of chest, I can’t talk because I’m winded, and I feel the need to lay down so I lay as far back in my chair with my legs out almost in asile, and under front passenger sear (I like the asile)
- I get naturally thrown off when plane banks (makes turns) and I have to stare out window or I feel sick and off-balance.
- I then start to get the thoughts as we climb towards cruising altitude that I am now hypoxic, and that I will sure enough faint because my heart is racing (knowing that it was before, because of my panic).
- Wondering if I will faint or black out and no one will be able to help me.
- Constantly checking the jet blue map to see how high we are and guestimate what the cabin pressure is and what if my stats are low.
- Sudden calm, (probably my adrenaline gave out and is exhausted) so i’m able to concentrate on a movie, and play with my phone.
- irrational fear creeps back and I get nervous again, shove free terra blue chips and popcorners down my throat and chug water and gingerale like mad (I LOVE JET BLUE!!)
- Have to pee because of said water consumption, which leads to me having to stand up after panicking for that long, which makes me again think I will faint, so I feel discombobulated (sp?) while walking to restroom, sit down to pee, i’m ok, but claustrophobic in that small space (not normally though).
- Stand up and panic trying to hurry out of lavatory and head back, feel pressure in head and light headed and weird, gripping each seat as I walk back to mine but smile along the way because I don’t want to look stupid.
- Calm myself down, finish movie, drink more
- Landing makes my anxiety go back up…but NOT because of anything happening to the plane, and you would think my anxiety would lessen because the pressure would be going back UP, it does sorta, but it’s replaced by the bad feeling I get when the plane drops every few 1,000 feet to prepare for landing, it makes my stomach churn, and makes me dizzy and I feel like I’ll pass out from G force (makes no sense I know)
- Been on a plane 10 times, most flight time was 4 hours to turks and caicos for my honeymoom, going there was worst flight of my life, returning I was able to talk myself out of it because I had already experienced it the weekend prior and knew nothing happened.
- I’ve only been going to therapy for 4 times now, specifically my fears about pregnancy complications and this. I am able to function like any normal person and have no other issues, I work full time, my husband is aware of everything but i’m able to cope.
- Anxiety since I was in early teens.
- I have no health issues.