Fatigue of Fear of Flying

I don't want to feel that happening.

I don’t want to feel that happening.

I may have told you this before, but I’m terrified of flying. So much so that I specifically avoid traveling and even the thought OF traveling gives me anxiety. I’m also terrible with elevators. Having active symptoms of my disease certainly doesn’t help the situation, but this anxiety is much larger than just my disease–it’s something I’ve really avoided coping with.

the tunnel of NOPE

the tunnel of NOPE

That’s not to say that I haven’t flown. I think the anxiety of flying started when I was fourteen and I’ve flown out of state and back twice since then. Once to New York and once to Texas (for the treatment center.) People can sometimes get the impression that just because I have a fear of something doesn’t mean I don’t do it.

I’m afraid of a lot of things. I still do them.

I just really don’t enjoy them. Both times literally felt like torture to me. Which is why I’ve associated the idea of traveling with something painful and uncomfortable. I really feel no pleasure at all in the thought of traveling and I’ve totally lost any desire I might have once had to go on out of state vacations. I really don’t even think positively about the idea of going away on my honeymoon. That’s how bad it is. That’s where I’m at.

And frankly, I’ve had enough.

It’s EXHAUSTING being this scared of something so stupid. It’s gotten to the point where it’s making me nervous just in GENERAL because I know it’s something that I’ll have to do in the future and probably regularly if I want to move forward in my career–and in my relationships. R.J doesn’t have a fear of flying, so he’s pretty into the idea of traveling and it makes me feel like a crap fiancĂ© to ask him to go without me. I really need to get over this.

The way I handled flying to Texas was to load myself up on as many Xanax as I possibly could, and then do bio-feedback on my laptop on my way home. The ride home was better, but the ride there was filled with turbulence and I was miserable, exhausted and completely dreading every second of the adventure. Plus the next two days were spent detoxing from the Xanax and feeling awful from it.

And that’s really where I’ve hit my limit. The dread, the misery– nothing in my life should be so miserable. And taking a handful of Xanax while I’m standing at the terminal is not good enough anymore. It really disempowers me to feel so scared of flying. And now I’m at the point where every moment I’m not working on dealing with it–is a moment where I feel bad about myself–and depressed.

PA-thetic.

PA-thetic.

So I’m actively taking steps to fix this. I know it’s not going to happen overnight but I’m ready to at least start. So I started seeing a therapist last week and am going to try to learn some new coping techniques. Not a bad idea in general for all the stress my disease puts me through–but I’m hoping that it’ll be situationally useful the next time I make travel plans.

If anyone has advice for getting over their fear of flying, or just general anecdotal advice about their own travel anxiety–I’ll take it. Link me. Tell me. Educate me. (Help me!)

In before: (1) I don’t have anxiety that the plane is going to crash, I’m claustrophobic and have anxiety about just being (sitting, standing) in a small space filled with other people where I can not leave. (2) Just breathe and relax is not a coping mechanism. It’s (breathing) something you do 24/7 and also (relax) a word. If that cured all anxiety, believe me I would be sky diving.

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