How To Overcome My Fear of Flying

As I am researching flights for N.Y., I feel some unwanted butterflies stirring in my stomach. The bad kind of butterflies, not the good kind. Maybe I should call them moths;) I remember that I hate flying. Anxiety always hits me the night before a flight, continues during the drive to the airport, stays through the whole flight and doesn’t go away until the wheels have touched the ground. What am I thinking! How am I going to handle a 5+ hour flight and be in charge and in control of my daughter without freaking out or having her freak out because I’m freaking out? Being drugged is not an option either, you know, with me being in charge and all.

As I start to think about the panic I’m going to endure with the flight, I start to wonder how am I going to handle finding my way out of the airport and to our hotel? And then around New York. And then back to the airport on another dreadful flight for home. What if I miss my flight? What if I get lost in New York? What if my hotel sucks? And on and on.

Well, I have to tell myself that this is supposed to be an adventure. It will be fun, exciting, and not perfect. I’ll be more than capable of handling any situation.

AND the most important thing to remember is…..don’t drink any coffee!

Till next time.

Kim.

(Kim has already accomplished her first big dream by traveling to New York with her teenage daughter June of 2009. She lost 20 pounds and overcame her intense dislike (do we say fear?) of flying to accomplish that dream. She rotated off the blog in February 2010, but still hangs out with 8 Women Dream.  You can find her in the comments section)

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  • Kim

    Cathy, I doubt it!

    Wendy, good tips on the night mask and ear plugs. I bet it can get noisy in N.Y.

    Nancy, I’m glad to hear that you liked the NBC tour. I thought that it sounded interesting. I think we’ll try it, it’s only around $20 a person. We can’t see the view because you need to be 16 or something, all that “sex” talk;) and yeah, we get to visit Ground Zero.

    Danelle, great advice! I actually think the best part about flying is taking off, (because I love roller coasters!) I hate hearing all the “bumps” thought, pretty nerve wracking. But like you said, one step at a time!

  • Hi Kim! You’ll do great on your vacation! I also hate to fly and get very, very anxious. I used to love it and actually grew up flying with my Dad in small planes. But a. . . ummmm . . . I’ll call it a “bad flight experience” ruined it for me and now I border on terrified (though I get better each time I fly). Since “the bad flight”, I’ve flown with my kids and alone. I found that I’m actually much less anxious (or at least I control it better) when I’m with my children because I have to be fine for them. And, their joy over flying and going on a trip rubs off on me.

    Some specific advice from what I’ve found works: For the flight – when I sit down, I always count the number of rows to the nearest emergency exit. That way, if something were to happen, I know exactly where I need to go. When the plane takes off, I talk myself through each little thing that I know is going to happen. For example, pretty quick after you take off, there’s a slight bump as the landing gear retracts. I listen for it and therefore am expecting that “bump” so it doesn’t scare me. There might be a few turns as you depart. No big deal. When you reach your cruising altitude, the plane is going to level off and then the engines are going to throttle back. That’s the hardest one for me based on the “bad flight” but again, if I’m expecting it, I know what’s happening and its easier.

    One other thought – as I was telling my “bad flight” story to someone the other day – it suddenly occurred to me that, as terrifying as it was, we made it back to the ground safely. So, now I try to focus on that, which is the positive aspect, rather than the negative memories of it. Same for you – you’ve flown before (I assume) and everything was fine. Focus on that.

    As for the trip – I’d suggest breaking it down into little tiny pieces. For example: First, you’re going to drive to the airport. Then, you’re going to get through security and find your gate. Etc. That way, you can check mark off each success and your confidence will grow!

    Danelle

  • Hey Kim!

    What an interesting blog! I have no doubt that you all will reach your dreams – the key to achieving is to believe that you will; then follow the steps and it will happen.

    And as far as your travel jitters go, try to visualize looking back on your trip and wondering why you were so worried. You have the Powah! Millions of people play tourist in NY all the time – there’s no reason you can’t squelch any blip you may encounter — and chances are you won’t encounter any. And I second earplugs and night masks!

    By the way, I remember when I went to NYC – all I’d ever heard about the people there is that they’re rude. On the contrary! People treat you the way you treat them, and we found the people to be incredibly friendly and nice! I loved NY – we saw Broadway plays almost every night for 1/2 price. Sadly, the highlight for me was going to the top of the World Trade Center – you will experience that in a much different way… Oh, and I loved the NBC Tour! Any chance you could see “The View?”

    Nancy

  • Wendy

    Hi Kim,
    I am sorry you are feeling stressed.You are going to do great and have a memory of a lifetime with your daughter. I also like to travel and have some of those same fears. I always remind myself it’s way safer in the air then driving. Find out if your hotel has a shuttle to and from the airport before you go. Pack for comfort but not too much stuff to lug around and remember to have a money pouch to keep hidden. I went to France about four years ago with my best friend for two weeks. Essentials for traveling included earplugs (Good for sleep on flight and in a noisy hotel), night mask, very comfortable shoes, camera, and maps.

  • Catherine, the writer and motivator

    HEY! That resembles me in the morning!