Saturday, January 24, 2009

Fear of Flying

I have a fear of flying.

I haven't always had this fear. In fact, I used to like flying. Actually, I still do. I enjoy the adventure, hanging out in airports (I suppose that's not technically "flying"), and airline food.

But I still have a fear.

Growing up in NYC and originally from Indiana, I was used to flying from a young age, to see my grandparents for summers. I flew alone several times when I was a kid.

Sadly, as I've gotten older I've become more aware. Of crashes and accidents and disasters. And after September 11th my fears expanded to include those of not just crashing, but flying into a building.

I don't let this fear stop me from flying, of course. If I didn't fly I'd never travel to all the great places I've traveled to. And yes, I know that my chances of getting into a car accident are way more likely than being in a plane crash.

But, I'm still freaked out.

In recent years I've taken to swallowing some prescribed anti-anxiety pills before take off. These are pretty great for knocking me out for a couple hours. Of course, this sometimes backfires, such as the time when we boarded the plane, took our seats, I fell asleep and woke up to find that we were delayed and hadn't even taken off yet. Great.

I also enjoy drinking on flights. This came in handy particularly when I was flying from France with E., and we basically drank ourselves into a stupor because she was so freaked out and tense from flying and it rubbed off on me. I try to continue the tradition of drinking a couple glasses of wine, and airlines that don't charge for alcohol are fabulous in my book.

Now I think about our impending flight next Sunday. We have a quick flight to Frankfurt and then, 2 hours later, a flight to NYC. This basically means I can't take my magic pills for the first flight.

After the recent landing of that plane in the Hudson I saw a little video headline from some morning show about how to deal with fears of flying. The "expert" said that it's a learned behavior and can totally be undone with therapy. That's great, but doesn't help me right now for next week's flight.

So, after some more internet research on how to quell the fears and anxiety, I found a free online course, made by an American pilot who assures us he is no expert, but wants to inform people to help them chill out.

I'm 3 lessons into it (there are 5) and it's GREAT! He interviews retired and current pilots, flight attendants and all kinds of people. The lesson I just finished was all about TURBULANCE and that rocked my socks because I feel way more calm now. I won't explain why (there's too much to say), but you can click here and educate yourself.

I don't know if this will help me from freaking out on the flight, but the way I see it is:
pills + wine + being educated = calm(er) allyn.

No comments:

Post a Comment