A Panic Away Success Story: Fear of Flying

Anxiety prevented John from flying. Even the thoughts of getting on a plane scared him to death. He felt angry, frustrated and scared before getting anywhere near an airport. John now flies regularly and even enjoys the flight! Wow! Continue reading to find out how he made this big change in his life. 

“First off, welcome to the PA family. I’ve been here since January, and it has helped me tremendously.

Believe it or not, I’ve been where you are. My first panic attack occurred in October 2008 when I was flying hometo California from D.C.. I just remember saying the following words to myself, “I’m going to be in a tube for 6 hours?” It was the worse thing I had ever felt. Fortunately, I stayed the night at my friends home, and his wife gave me a valium so that I could fly home the next day. HOWEVER, I couldn’t fly for a while. I avoided it all-together. 

And then, I had to go to Vegas for my best friends wedding, and then fly to Denver for another friends wedding. I know what it feels like to book a flight online and feeling very panicky. I remember saying “why am I freaking out when I’m no where near  a plane yet!” It angered, frustrated, and scared me to death. No matter what I did, I felt like crap just thinking about booking a flight. It was crazy!

What did I do? Honestly, I just thought about the end result. I thought about what was awaiting me in the end. I will say that I do have Clonazepam pills in case I do have panicky moments before or during the flight. Easy way out? Sure is, but knowing that the pills are there just in case has helped a lot. Like I have said in other forums, I’m not a fan of medication whatsoever. BUT, if it can get me through the rough patches, then I will do it as long as it helps me out.

Just this past year, I flew to D.C. where it all started. A straight 6-hour flight without an issue. I enjoyed the flight and just let it be, just like old times. On the way back, I did have moment of “oh boy”, but I just flowed with the feeling and let it be. And then I flew to New Orleans to see my friend retire from the Navy (and where I was the guest speaker, which is another story.) Next month, headed up north to see my cousin, whom I haven’t seen in a few years. The common thought for all: I will not let anxiety, fear, or panic ruin quality time with family and friends. We, as anxiety sufferers, cannot let anxiety ruin our lives period.We will get over this. Put one foot in front of the other and enjoy life. It might be really bumpy (like a turbulent flight), but it will pass. Think about the end result and be happy. You have a honeymoon coming up, and I’m sure you want to enjoy it. Think about the good times you’re going to have, and not about the flight itself.

I no longer have the anticipatory thoughts like I use to. Some still linger, but I just give it the middle finger and move on. You can do the same, you just need to believe in the positive thoughts, and not give credibility to the negative ones. Easier said than done but you can do it. It took me a while but I did it.

Thank you so much for sharing this post John. You should be very proud of yourself.  Two things really stood out to me in this post:

– “I will not let anxiety, fear, or panic ruin quality time with family and friends” 

– “Put one foot in front of the other and enjoy life. It might be really bumpy (like a turbulent flight), but it will pass”

John’s comparison between life and a turbulent flight is very true, what an eloquent use of words! We all experience turbulence at some point in our lives, what is important is that we don’t let the bad times control us.