Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fear of Flying

Have you ever been to a place and felt like you lived there in a past life? Like the minute you step foot into town you are home? That's how I feel about NYC. I visited in 2008 and loved it and have wanted to go back ever since. I have a very good friend who lives there and she suggested that I and two of our other friends should meet up and have a girl's weekend. Hell, yeah, count me in! I bought my airplane ticket, changed my ringtone on my iPhone to "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z to get in the spirit and waited for the time to come. So, why am I writing instead of getting ready to board that plane? Well, after a long sleepless, tearfilled night, I realized I cannot get on that airplane. I have aviatophobia- the fear of flying- and it sucks.

I am the person who you see at the gate sitting in the corner, wringing their hands and sobbing before a flight, despite having taken a Xanax. I am the person who actually has a panic attack when I drive by the airport and the planes fly over my head. I can't visit my father at work because he is the General Manager of one of those satellite airport parking lots and planes fly over his office constantly.  I know all the rational reasons why you shouldn't be afraid to fly. I know that I am safer on a plane than I am driving to the airport. I know that the noises the airplane makes are normal, we can't get sucked out and the plane can't break in half. I even know the science behind flight- my husband took great pains to show me, through the old hand out the car window trick, how a plane stays in the air. I have never had a particularly bad flight that I can pinpoint as the starting point of my fear. From the first flight I ever took, I was terrified. It isn't as bad if I can fly with someone but it still takes every single ounce of courage I have to board that plane. I've tried relaxation techniques, biofeedback, music and even medication and nothing works. I know this is something I am going to have to overcome because it is really limiting my life. One of my dreams is to go to London but that isn't going to happen if I can't take a 2 hour flight to NYC.

Last night I sobbed in my husband's arms because I was so terrified and disappointed and angry. I am angry that I lost the money on the ticket. I am so sad that I don't get to see my friends and have a wonderful weekend in an amazing city. Mainly, I am so disappointed in myself that I can't overcome this issue. Sometimes I really hate my brain and wish that I could just be a normal person and not have a crippling fear.

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