19 Apr
Fear of Flying

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I’m a frequent flier for business, but I get panicked every time I fly. It seems to be getting worse as I get older.   With every shutter of the plane, I’m convinced I’m doomed. What is my problem? I know it’s the safest way to travel. How do I kick this problem?

Signed,

Amelia Airheart

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Dear Amelia,

Really? You’re afraid of the plane shuttering?  That’s weird.  Because I’m afraid of the plane plummeting and crashing.  Because unlike you, I’m not afraid of flying; I’m afraid that the plane will stop flying.  But I’m not here to judge, we all have our fears and eccentricities.

You say that you know that the plane is the safest way to travel, safer than cars, buses, trains and hot air balloons.  But did you know that  lying is also traditionally the only mode of travel where you can engage the stranger next to you in conversation, spill your guts, knowing that you’ll never see him again and that he has no choice but to listen to you, because good luck getting a restraining order at a comfortable cruising altitude?  If that’s not comfort, I don’t know what is.

But if despite these reassurances you still feel that your anxiety is overwhelming, you may need to seek help that comes with a prescription pad.  Because I have a few friends who have confronted their fear of flying therapeutically, and they swear that they board, take a nap, and viola, they are landing into the safety of terra firma.  Speak to your doctor, she may have some ideas.

And if all else fails, consider coming along on a car trip with my family.   I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say that after a 553 mile road trip, you will be applying for your pilot’s license in no time!

Wheels up,

Marinka, TMH

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12 Every so often, The Mouthy Housewives award their coveted Seal of Approval to a blog post that made us laugh. This week the honor goes to the wonderful Ann of Ann’s Rants for her hilarious post My Hair, A Memoir (Book Proposal). If you’ve ever had hair, you don’t want to miss it!

6 Responses to “Fear of Flying”

04.19.10#1

Comment by hokgardner.

My mother was terribly afraid to fly. At first she tried to self-medicate with booze, but then my dad had a drunk, panic-filled wife to deal with, and that didn’t work. So then she tried medications, and my dad had a very mellow, panic-filled with to handle, and that didn’t work either.

Finally, she went through hypnosis for her fears, and it worked beautifully.

Marinka Reply:

Hypnosis? Great idea! I’m getting sleepy already!

04.19.10#2

Comment by Cheryl.

Dear Frightened Frequent Flyer, may I call you that? Good.

I grew up in rural nowhere. When I got a job traveling all over creation by air, I had the same fear. I was lucky enough to fly frequently in the mid-Atlantic region serviced by the then Allegheny Air and US Air. Both often flew half-full. More often than not, there were several crew members deadheading home. I watched them like a hawk. They read the NY Times through turbulence I thought would bring the plane down. They chatted with each other laughing through updrafts and downdrafts. Never once did I see any uniformed passenger get wigged out by the bumping along. And these were small planes.

Over time I’d close my eyes, still white-knuckling the armrests, and just feel the motion. Y’know what I learned? It felt just like when someone heavy with flat feet walked by me on a bus. Today I don’t need that reminder it’s just muscle memory.

Besides, cnce that door’s closed, everything is out of my hands so why worry? I just sit back and enjoy the ride.

04.19.10#3

Comment by anonymouseducator.

Xanax might not work for everyone, but I now fly almost constantly. Or that’s what I tell my doctor.

04.19.10#4

Comment by Erin at Im Gonna Kill Him.

Amelia, you and I are suffering the same irrational fear. Nothing will make it better since you and I already know the crux of the problem: The sheer pandemonium and terror that will ensue when that plane hits the skids is always going to win out over any therapeutic techniques or drug/liquor-induced comas. It’s a control problem – I always say if they’d a) let me sit in the cockpit (they won’t) and b) give me my own parachute (they won’t), I’d feel a lot better. I suggest working on the array of things you can control that will help impart some calm. I have developed a host of techniques that could be found in the DSM Manual for Psychotic patients, like wearing flame-resistant all-cotton layers (so if your outer layers start to burn, you can remove them). Contact lenses over glasses so you are not rendered blind. Running shoes over heels. I also only sit in the window so that I can ‘observe’ the weather conditions and wing movement. Lastly, I also hit the ‘call’ button a lot to report people using their cell phones or children using handheld devices under 10,000 feet. Survival is not popularity contest, I say.

If you do find an airline that will allow you a ‘chute or access to the cockpit, please alert me. I’ll be their most loyal flyer.

Also, I’ve had to disembark a plane in Ireland when the pilot introduced himself as Sandra Bullock. Perhaps a reasonable male name in Ireland, but I could not rest easy thinking Mrs. Speed was behind the controls of my plane.

04.19.10#5

Comment by Sherri Frost.

This amusing look at fear of flying is enough to help anyone overcome it. Sometimes that’s all you need – a quick laugh to take your mind off things. Thanks for brightening my day. My husband is an international pilot and has posted behind the scenes cockpit views that you may find interesting.

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