I’ve planned the trip down to every last detail and finally feel like it’s time to get excited. Unfortunately, I feel like I can’t allow myself to look forward to the upcoming adventure. At the forefront of my brain all I can think about is having to step into that metal tube of death that we call an airplane.
Now don’t start trying to tell me all the statistics, I already know I have a greater chance of dying on my way to the airport than in the plane. I know all of this, but it doesn’t help me. Ever since my late teens, I remember disliking flying. But throughout the years my irrational fear has gotten significantly worse. I experienced my first panic attack while in flight years ago, and ever since, have not been able to calm myself down at even the thought of sitting in that tiny seat and letting a pilot navigate me through the sky.
I have had almost every person in my life hand me unwanted suggestions when they find out I hate flying- try sleeping pills, read an article, drink alcohol, try Gravol, seek therapy, mix alcohol and sleeping pills, yadda yadda yadda. Not only have I already tried every single thing on that list and more, but it has either made the experience worse or not improved it in any way. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have Googled “overcome fear of flying,” tried out their 8 steps, and failed miserably. And let me tell you, DO NOT mix sleeping pills and alcohol, it was a terrible decision.
In the past, this is what my routine looked like:
- Excited about seeing a new country for weeks ahead of time while simultaneously being scared for my life knowing I have to fly
- Arrive at the airport, go through check in and security, get to gate
- Sit down at the gate and begin to feel anxiety levels rise to astronomical levels (getting sweaty, chills, rapid heart rate, shaky, can’t concentrate on anything but flying, on the verge of tears, genuinely convinced I’m on my death bed)
- Board plane, get into my seat, proceed to have full on panic attack (may I add this whole experience is quite embarrassing as i’m usually sitting beside a stranger)
- Hit any kind of turbulence and have another panic attack while also cutting the person next to me in half with my nails because I need to hold on for dear life
- Not sleeping a wink, even if it’s an overnight flight, therefore being on the verge of an emotional breakdown because i’m so overly drowsy for the upcoming 2 days
As you can see, this isn’t fun. I’m talking about this on a lighter note with you guys, but let me tell you, even thinking about flying to write this post has me nervous. It is a terrible thing to go through. And the fact that I love travel more than anything else, and I need to go through this every time to get to the places I dream of seeing, is a nightmare.
So last month I took matters into my own hands. I was tired of dealing with all of this. I went and got myself some anti-anxiety medication prescribed by my doctor, good ol’ Ativan. I’m going to do a test run before the flight to make sure it doesn’t cause any crazy reaction and to confirm that my body can handle it. But for the first time in my life, I feel a sense of calm about going away, because I have these pills to help, and it makes me so happy. I am also looking forward to following up in another post with you guys to let you know how it all goes. Wheels up in 2 weeks, fingers crossed it all goes smoothly.