I Swore To Myself I Would Never Fly Again

Pre Honeymoon

Ten years ago, almost exactly, was the last time I was on an airplane.

At that time I had had a few panic attacks, but mostly in passing, and I was able to kind of drown them out with ice water (so I thought).

That flight was scary enough, however, that I swore to myself I would never fly again. Made me sad, but I accepted it.

At that time I didn’t know what anxiety was, and thought it was physically dangerous.

So I thought if I flew again, it might become a medical emergency. Years passed, my anxiety grew worse, I collapsed, and was housebound not that long ago.

Some of you know that story  ?

Well, in that time, I found Barry and the DARE method. I’ve been slowly climbing back to my full life.

I work full time, I have gotten married, I go to restaurants, movies, etc.,

I regularly do speeches and presentations in front of up to a few hundred people, and I even travel quite a bit.

The traveling, however, has been mostly close-ish by, and always by car.

A couple weeks ago some of you may have seen my photos of my 14 hour drive to see my brother, go mountain hiking, etc. that was huge for me, because it was sort of “practice” for yesterday.

In a couple weeks my wife and I are going on our overdue honeymoon.

It will be the first time in my life I’ve been out of the country (going to Canada, and can’t wait to see the rest of the beautiful world).

We are flying. Connecting flights. The thing I swore I would never do and the most anxiety producing thing I have been able to imagine over the last few years.

Yesterday, I arranged a practice for that  ? we went on a flight! This was only an hour.

We flew to the destination, stayed there for 2 hours, and flew back.

I will preface that by saying I did have moments of fairly high anxiety, and even twice where I wish I had handled it a bit better, and had less of a sort of “fear reaction.”

But it was all new to me obviously.

Well we did it, anyway  ? and I was absolutely fine when we first landed, less afraid of the second flight, and then absolutely fine when we got back.

In two weeks we fly to Canada, which includes slightly longer connecting flights, but I was successful in not backing out of literally the one thing that has scared me more than anything else since my last flight a decade ago.

Much love everyone! Thank you Barry, DARE and the whole DARE team and group!

The Honeymoon!

I first want to thank everyone who has helped me over the past 2-3 years in this group.

I have made enormous strides in getting my life back, but the one thing that was always holding me back, and frankly terrifying me, was my inability to get on an airplane.

Anyway, on April 12th, my wife and began our much needed honeymoon to the Vancouver, BC area.

We flew first to Denver. Not only did we fly, but the first half hour of the flight was in darkness which has always greatly amplified my anxiety level.

That flight was a bit tough as expected, but I made and was immediately calm on the other end.

We then had the longer flight to Vancouver which also was a little high anxiety for the first half hour or so. But then it calmed, I watched some Netflix, and we landed.

We then spent two weeks around Vancouver and Vancouver Island, really taking in and enjoying every moment.

Hiking, boating, ferry rides, SMALL ferry rides, trees, mountains, the ocean, buses, trains, and lots and lots of amazing food  ?

All and all, we walked 110 miles over the course of 13 open days.

I got to see a huge amount of Vancouver and parts of the Island on foot, and I am greatly appreciative for that!  ?

It’s unbelievable for me to think of how recently I would go to the grocery store near me, and not actually walk inside for fear of panic.

The plane flights were obviously not comfortable but, c’mon, it’s a plane, are they ever actually comfortable??  ?

When we were in the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet, I saw the ocean around a bend and just broke down weeping, so overwhelmed with joy.

I used to travel to the ocean every summer but lost that, when I lost so much of my life, before I found DARE.

There are pictures that my wife took of me literally collapsed on my knees staring out at the waves for the first time in 7 years.

The flights back were much smoother, though I actually wish I had gotten to like a 8/10 or 9/10 on the anxiety scale, so I could practice even more  ?

The times in got to like a 6-7 I just told myself to act like my ass was glued to that chair, and just observe, demand more, and it passed.

I wish I could describe everything we actually did there, but I will just attach a picture of the beauty that I saw!

14 replies on “I Swore To Myself I Would Never Fly Again

  • Ann Hashbarger

    Absolutely wonderful story and parts were much like my own life so I completely related to yours! Even got a little misty reading about you seeing the ocean again! This system works and there are lots of us working it. I found after the 1st successes the anxiety reduces even more. Congratulations!

  • Jennifer weaver

    Thank you so much for this story. I too had he same thing happen on a plane. I suffer from travel and health anxiety ocd. I’m working hard though!!! I pray and have faith that I will overcome! It’s slowly but surely getting better!! And the off days don’t set me back as much anymore!!! Stories like yours help in so many ways. I actually took a photo of where you said the part about your ass being glued haha.
    Much peace and love! Jennifer

  • Sofia

    So happy to read your success story Daniel!!!! I have been following your Dareing on the Dare Facebook. You have really worked your butt off. You are a true inspiration.

  • Serena Duff

    This fills my heart with such joy… I also had similar experiences. Had stopped flying for nearly 20yrs!!! Then 3yrs ago managed with the help and support from Dare, got on a flight to Cyprus from UK. 5hr flight, which I could never have imagined doing.
    One bit of advise, keep doing it, and practising, its too easy to do it once, then settle back into your comfort zone, which is what I did. So so pleased and overjoyed for you and your wife. Keep up the good work. ?

  • Jane

    Thanks for sharing this! My daughter and I both have trouble with airplane flights. We used to medicate ourselves but last month, I used Dare and it worked! I am so glad you got to see the ocean again! I can only imagine how you felt. It’s my favorite place!

  • Suzy

    Hi i haven’t flown for over 10 years, I have been ready Dare and doing relaxing excerises. I am flying from Uk to Dublin on 19th May I hope this is the beginning of my life getting back to happy

  • Donna

    Congratulations, Daniel. I’m SO happy for you… you give me hope that maybe I can overcome my anxiety about flying (it developed less than a year ago when I had my first panic attack) and knowing that others can do it with DARE, that I can DARE to try it again one day. It sure would beat a 30-hour bus ride to take a 4-hour flight. 🙂 Blessings & joy to you and your wife! Keep the honeymoon going forever!

  • Renuka

    I am waiting to use thDare approach for my flying anxiety. I haven’t flown in years!!! Renuka

  • J

    I fly a lot, usually more than 5 times a year and it’s not usually part of my panic attack spectrum (doing things along–including flying–is a different story). The last time I was on a flight was last November and my anxiety got so bad that I medicated back and forth and told myself I’d be so scared of flying again. I told myself I would get on a flight no matter what this year and next month I am finally going again! This will be only for a little less than 2 hours so I hope and pray that I will DARE through it all.

  • Andy

    Wow! Great job buddy!

    I know I do not know you but your story is motivating and inspiring to me. By sharing, you have helped others! Thanks Daniel.

    Thanks for sharing your story. Flying is a challenge for me and because of DARE, I took a flight a few months ago. I have two more scheduled in the next month. I am a bit nervous but whenever I anticipate the flight and feel anxious, I remember the DARE response–“whatever” is my new response to the anxiety.

    I used to terrorize myself by saying that men should not feel anxious about flying–even little old ladies do it. Well, I now know that it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is good to know that other men struggle with flight anxiety too.


  • Jay

    Last got on a plane in 1997, I’ve let my fear control me for the last 20 years! It’s not the flying that scares me, it’s the thought of having a panic attack and being trapped on the plane, like I’m going to suffocate or something. Tried many methods over the years but noticed that my world has got smaller and smaller and I’ve become a shadow of my former self. As a man I’ve always felt weak to admit my problems, so I think it’s time to try this DARE. It seems to have helped many of you and that gives me the encouragement to try it also.
    Wish me luck!

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