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New Fear of Flying.

(11 Posts)
scratchet Mon 08-Jun-09 14:30:32

Hi everyone, I feel like i need some advice, reassurance and kind words!! I have always been abroad on holidays, usually twice a year and always by air. 2 years ago i had a pretty frightening flight from cyprus, lots turbulance etc was convinced the plane would break up in mid air. I managed to go to rhodes last year and to be honest i was pretty hysterical on both flights even though they were very smooth and straight forward. I have no problem with take off and landing i just hate cruising at altitude I really want to book turkey for next year but am already feeling anxious re the flights. I desperately want to resolve this for both mine and my families sake. Holidays are very important to us and i don't want my dc's to be affected by my fears. Thanks in advance x

blondissimo Mon 08-Jun-09 16:25:59

Hi there - I started having panic attacks on flights a couple of years ago, and I had been used to flying about 5 or 6 times a year. I was having a hard time in my relationship, had had a drink, and then got on a full flight and was sandwiched in at the window. I started to get really hot and my heart was racing and I thought I was going to pass out. (Well at the time I actually thought I was going to die, but it hindsight I can see I was being quite unreasonablesmile). After that, every flight I went on I felt the same, because I think I associated that feeling with flying. But after some distraction techniques from my dp, I have been ok the past few times, but have not flown alone since.
Perhaps it might be worth looking into hypnotherapy or cognitive therapy?
Also I found that rescue remedy was very calming, or lavender spray.
I'm sure you will be fine.

scratchet Mon 08-Jun-09 17:08:08

Thanks blondissimo, its a relief to know i'm not alone. Was thinking of therapy but am not sure how to go about arranging it. Have also been thinking about trying diazepam or similar to take the edge off. Does anyone have any experience of finding a way through this? I really appreciate any replies x

poshtottie Mon 08-Jun-09 17:47:56

I am the same after years of feeling ok I dread the thought of getting on a plane. I also had a similiar experience of a very bad flight over Brazil in turbulance and have a real panic now when the seat belt sign flashes up and have nearly been off loaded before take off blush

I would love to take ds on holiday when he is a bit older and hope I can conquer my fear.

I have resorted to drugs from the doctor but know it is in my head so hopefully one day will be able to fly again though have to confess I have to sit in Business/first class.

scratchet Mon 08-Jun-09 21:33:32

Do the medications work? I am willing to try pretty much anything! x

poshtottie Mon 08-Jun-09 22:00:59

I was given something called ativan by the flight attendants, slept all the way from Boston to Heathrow and normally never sleep on planes. Obviously couldn't do that with children.

You could be prescribed an anti anxiety drug such as a beta blocker which doesn't knock you out.

I also practice breathing exercises which is very helpful.

I find alcohol helpful on a short flight but not longhaul as once the alcohol wears off I feel more anxious.

BelleWatling Mon 08-Jun-09 22:20:25

Not really a solution you're looking for but have you thought about going by train? It's not a cheap solution but kids under 5 generally go free and it's an adventure in itself. It's not quick either but it can be a lot of fun. And it could cure you of your fear - after 2 days on a train, a 4 hour flight won't seem so bad!

Info here

Otherwise booze and yoga breathing generally help me

Maiakins Tue 09-Jun-09 10:05:18

Hi. I know just how you feel. I experienced really bad clear air turbulence over the Atlantic, which came out of nowhere. The plan dropped out the sky and the trolleys lifted off the floor, air stewardesses etc. After that experience, I've been really terrified of cruising at altitude (although statistically that is the safest part of the journey).

I did a Virgin fear of flying course, which was helpful, but it didn't actually involve a flight. I think the Aviatours one ends in a flight where the pilot explains every noise etc, so is probably better (but more expensive).

I also did several sessions of hypnotherapy, which I thought didn't really make much difference at the time, but actually probably has had the longest effect. He showed me how to visualise myself in a safe place during any stress. So for example, imagine yourself on the ground watching the plane or floating alongside the plane.

It also helped to think about what exactly you are afraid of (apart from the obvious of the plane crashing!) Some people might be a bit claustrophobic, others don't like the sensation of not being in control. I didn't like the idea of making a fool of myself. I felt like I was going to go crazy with fear, hyperventilate, be sick etc and have to be restrained.

As far as medication goes, I have been prescribed lots of types of medication including valium etc. I personally didn't find it worked, because although it made me physically calm ... I was still terrified inside and mentally felt like I was going to explode. It doesn't stop any of the feelings of terror, but all your co-passengers will think you're much better! My husband certainly thought it worked, but I didn't at all.

I really recommend Bach's Rescue Remedy - don't know how it works and my doctor said it was mumbo-jumbo. Somehow it does work. I put a few drops in a water bottle and sipped it before I went on the plane. And then when turbulence hits, I take LOADS!

Do tell them when you check in that you're a nervous flyer and again when they come around at the beginning of the flight. I find that air stewardesses can then give you reassuring smiles and look out for you.

Good luck!!!

blondissimo Tue 09-Jun-09 10:43:08

Also in addition to what Malakins said, I also have had good experience with rescue remedy. As well as the liquid in the dropper bottle, you can also buy a spray or pastilles, which I found handy on the plane as you can concentrate on sucking the pastille. Also. people will just think you are eating a sweet!

rosbif Tue 09-Jun-09 13:11:56

I had a really bad flight experience at a very stressful time in my life which no doubt caused my anxiety.I used to take temazapan before flights (pre children) The temazapan helped a lot though but with three children now I have to cope somehow without drugs! I am much calmer thanks to breathing techniques and reading a book called 'Take the Fear out of Flying'. Sorry can't remember who it is by but it helped immensely. Now I have to fly at least once a month and I think that because it is so routine this has helped me overcome the fear to a large degree. However, I am very anxious after the crash last week and have a 12 hour flight in August, ironically DH is a pilot and thinks I am being ridiculous! Good luck, try and take control of your fear if you can by reading and understanding what makes planes work and this might well help you.

scratchet Tue 09-Jun-09 15:57:51

Thanks so much everyone, it helps to know i'm not the only one with this problem. I plan on getting the book you suggested and to be honest i will also be trying medication after last years performance blush I can't bear for the children to see me so afraid. Wonder if they sell rescue remedy by the pint

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