I’m sitting at an airport gate waiting for my flight. I look around at my fellow passengers, and all I can think is, “these are the people I’m going to die with. Well, at least they all seem nice.”
Morbid, I know. But fear of flying is never rational. They say you are more likely to die in a car accident than in a plane crash. But statistics never mean much to the individual, and logic goes out the window when you’re sitting in a metal box 30,000 feet above the ground staring at an endless body of water (are there sharks down there?)
It’s hard to pinpoint when my fear of flying started. I’ve been on planes many times, and with each trip my foreboding only grows. The week before each flight, I’m anxious and make mental plans for “getting my affairs in order.” The day before, I’m a complete wreck and spend my time coming up with reasons to cancel the trip. During the flight, I imagine every way a plane could crash, clutching my neck pillow tightly and praying for dear life.
The fear of an actual plane crash is only one of many phobias associated with flying. Some people are claustrophobic and can’t stand the idea of being closed in a small space. Others dread the idea of giving up control and putting their lives in the hands of a stranger. Sometimes even the anticipation of a possible panic attack while flying is enough to keep someone from getting on a plane.
My fear has never stopped from flying, but it’s generally made life unpleasant and it’s stopped me from traveling to locations that require long flights. That, however, stops now. In three months I will be taking the longest plane ride of my life, flying to Rio De Janeiro for New Year’s Eve. This time, instead of spending the next several months dreading this trip, I will be trying a few options to manage my fear:
- Hypnotherapy: I know a few people who have tried hypnosis for other phobias and most had sustained results
- Take a class: There are several classes (both traditional and online) that claim to have successfully “cured” people of this phobia
- If all else fails, take drugs: This isn’t really a solution to the problem but it might help make the experience less memorable.
I’ll be testing these options in the next few months and reporting back on progress.