I've talked about flying on this blog before.
I have an update for you. A great one.
To summarize- my first flight as an adult had the young child seated a row ahead turned around to see what was wrong with the crying lady behind her. The next flight (which was for a work trip) led to the lovely experience of me crying in front of coworkers I barely knew. Next after that- anxiety meds.
I did a bunch of research online and found http://www.fearofflying.com/. The free resources helped, but things really changed when I bought the book, found on Amazon HERE.
Long story short, I read the book, and have flown to Utah for work twice since. And it was amazing.
I truly thought I'd never fly without being a psycho on the plane, but this book changed all that. For example, on previous flights I'd have to drink at least two drinks to make it through take-off without crying. Now, no crying at all. I'm slightly nervous because I am anxious about take-off the most, but drinks are not necessary.
Another example- before I could never look out the window without meds and cocktails. I'd keep my eyes closed and pray my seatmate by the window would close the shade so they could sleep so I wouldn't notice the sunlight shifting across the cabin as the plane turned. My last set of two connecting flights, flying by myself, I didn't need drinks, and I looked out the window and took pictures.
Now, I still like to have wine on the flight, because, wine is available and I feel like I should enjoy myself. :) But it's not required to maintain sanity and avoid panic attacks.
One other thing that helped is the SOAR app. I have it on my iPhone, and it has a G-Force meter. Basically, it will keep track of the G-Force you are experiencing (even in airplane mode) and confirm that even in turbulence, the plane is well within normal forces that it can safely withstand. After learning about turbulence in the book, it doesn't really bother me anymore. Compared to my first flight, during which I gripped the armrests with white knuckles (like those would save me), I now calmly check my app, view my water (or wine) not splashing out of my cup, and realize that we are hitting some sky potholes and go about my magazine reading.
I learned at my last work trip that they plan to fly us managers out once per quarter. Previously, this would incite anticipatory anxiety about trips that were months away. Now, I'm excited about the airline miles I can rack up.
I don't really have a bucket list- except for that trip to Europe (namely France) that I've wanted to take my whole life. For the past several years, I've worried I'd never get there because I'd be too afraid of the flight. Now, that dream can become a reality, because I've overcome the fear of flying. I still don't love it, and I'd rather be on the ground, but I understand what is happening and recognize the safety. And really look forward to making that dream come true.
Thank you, Soar book. You've changed my life.