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Thread: Anything help?

  1. #1

    Default Anything help?

    I've done everything. Bought books, CDs, online programs, seen therapists, hypnotherapists, taken drugs, ect. NOTHING has worked and I can honestly say that it's getting worse with every flight. My last flight was 4 hours of pure misery each way. Very rough, non-stop turbulence for the ENTIRE flight, it was really unbearable. I am flying cross country next week and have several flights over the next couple months, all of which I am dreading. I really want to travel and attend all of the things I'm scheduled for, but I'm terrified about getting on another plane. I don't know where else to turn, I'm desperate! What should I try next? Has anyone done anything that has made them a better flyer?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    DCA
    Posts
    14

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    Hello Elektrobank,

    You can read some of my other posts here on the forums to get an idea of my experiences and how I've coped. There's not really any secret that I've discovered, although perhaps others have. What you describe sounds quite familiar - having a really bad experience and reaching your limit for tolerance and sanity. There have been times when I've started getting sick a week before flying, having nightmares, thinking about canceling the trip at the last minute, practically crying and bracing myself when stepping onto the plane., etc.. Then during times of bad turbulence I've screamed when the plane suddenly drops or grabbed a stranger's arm or called the flight attendant just to ask how long the turbulence will last. Sometimes I've stared at my watch the entire flight and only a few seconds ever seem to pass and the flight seems to last forever. A lot of my flights are 10 - 14 hour long-haul flights, too! But it's strange because when I was younger I never thought twice about flying. And there are many times these days when it's the same. Sometimes I might fly six or seven times in two weeks and there's no problem and then suddenly fly once in six months and it's terrible. There is very little rationale for why it's like this! The only explanation is that one really bad experience will ruin the next few flights.

    How do you act when you're flying? Are you sitting there quietly just feeling terrified inside, or do you actually get sick or show signs of tension? Do you experience panic or anxiety attacks? How did you cope with the four hours of non-stop turbulence on your last flight? Perhaps you coped very well and just didn't give yourself credit for it. Or maybe you didn't cope well and feel traumatized from how awful it was.

    There are several things that have helped me in general. One time many years ago I was on an international flight and the stewardess saw I was upset and let me go to the cockpit and sit with the pilots. They explained everything they were doing and I was able to learn a lot and I felt much more confident. I also listen to the air traffic control tower radio channel when flying on United and it's helpful to hear the pilots talk to each other and discuss turbulence before it starts happening. In addition, this website has helped a lot in understanding flying and weather and knowing what to expect for each flight. Nevertheless, all that knowledge doesn't help all the time. I still don't like flying at night, over the ocean, or during bad weather and it takes much more effort to stay calm under those conditions. It's also more stressful when the plane is extremely crowded.

    For your case, it seems it would be ok to take a break from flying for awhile once your schedule is less busy. For the next few flights, maybe try getting on the plane and ignoring how you feel. Force yourself to believe that flying is completely safe and that turbulence is just wind. Memorize a few statements that you can repeat to yourself during turbulence, such as "it's only wind" or "I'm safer here than anywhere else" and try to concentrate as you say them. Also try to think positively - not all flights are non-stop four hours of turbulence. Chances are, your next flight will be much better.

    Maybe it will help just to realize that a lot of other people feel the same way you feel. Maybe you could also talk to the steward or stewardess on your next flight right before it takes off and ask them to check on you and warn you about any turbulence before it starts. Maybe you can just drag yourself on to the plane and just focus on surviving so you can reach your destination, and promise yourself to take a break from flying after the next few flights.

    Maybe someone else will have better suggestions! If you can, please post here and let us know how your next flight goes. Maybe you'll discover something from which we can learn. Good luck and don't forget to commend yourself for your perseverence!

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks for your response. Overall if the flight is smooth, then I'm usually just fine. Maybe for the first bit I will feel nervous in anticipation of turbulence, but if there isn't any for an hour or so into the flight I relax and feel fine, especially if it's sunny and clear out. On flights that have no turbulence at all, I am usually very relaxed and think to myself "if all flights were like this I'd have no problem flying". Of course, those flights are very rare. On flights where there is on and off turbulence for a small portion of the flight, I am not able to completely relax because I am always anticipating more turbulence, but I am not in panic mode the whole time and when the turbulence does come I am able to cope with it because I know it will pass soon. On flights that are pretty much non-stop turbulence, which seem to be the majority these days, I am sweating and scared the whole time. I am usually staring at the flight map on the TV and/or my clock to see how much more of this I have to endure. Flights like these seem to last forever, they are horrible. I don't really show any visible signs that I'm scared. I am usually perfectly still, just trying to meditate and relax as much as I can. If I do experience anxiety it's usually at the start of the flight when I realize I'm stuck in this for the next X amount of hours. If I can control it quickly then I usually don't have any anxiety for the rest of the flight, but if not it may last an hour or two.

    Usually when I'm afraid of something, I do that think in excess in order to desensitize myself to it, and that usually works. But not for flying, it's the opposite. The more I do it, the worse it gets. I don't have any rational fears, like I'm going to die or something. It's the natural reaction that my body has to feeling the speed of going 600+MPH, which I can feel when there is turbulence, and the fear that at any moment the plane could drop. Even though I know if it does it's only a couple feet or so, but it's terrifying when it happens. Also the older I get the worse it is. I remember the days when I used to be able to sleep on flights, but not anymore.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    139

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    Hi, I don't like turbulence either and have had some nasty flights. But I think the answer to your problem is in your post. And that is that your survived four hours of non-stop turbulence!! That is a truly awful flight and the chance of a repeat is pretty small. The past week, I flew across the country twice from the new york area to seattle and back. First flight, I was lucky. 6 hours with nothing but a few light bumps . The return was makred by delays in the airport and on the plane. It was turbulent in the beginning, again over the Greak Lakes and a really harsh descent/landing during thunderstorms in new york. That was a half hour of non-stop chop. I pick my feel off the floor (tip learned on this forum), put my head down and keep the sound coming through my headphones whether it's music or a rv show. Basically i'm drowning out my other senses. Then i silently chant my mantra "it's just a bumpy road, a bumpy road, a bumpy ..." Good Luck to you!

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