Scared S&%#less!

I know that most of you are normal, well-adjusted folks who have no use for the information in this post but for those rare few of us (approximately 1 in 5) who would rather poke our own eyes out than get on an airplane, I've put together some helpful tips. These things have worked for me (and saved the sanity of many a flight attendant) so who knows, they might work for you too. Just thought I'd share :)

I can't even look at this without sweating.
There are different levels of aviophobia; there are those nervous flyers that might just need a little nip before they take off and those that need something a little stronger (like Xanax)... and then of course, there's me. You can give me enough of both to put out an Angus bull and I will still scream all the way home. I've had flights where it took two grown men to sit on me to hold me down. I once assaulted a flight attendant who ignored my request to open the hatch and let me out when I had a last-minute change of heart (not my proudest moment) although I was in such a panic that I don't really remember much of it. It was similar to how you might respond if someone was trying to hold your head under water and drown you... to the rational mind it's an absurd reaction to something as safe and common as a commercial flight however there is nothing rational going on in the mind of someone with an extreme case of aviophobia. Trust me!

So what does work for me? Well, I'm not sure if it can be pinned down to one specific remedy but when I use a combination of the following I am miraculously able to fly with minimal issues.

1) EFT - Emotional Freedom Technique was developed by Gary Craig and is similar to acupuncture only without needles. It's very simple, can be learned quickly and used just about anywhere you find yourself in a panic. (It has many other applications like pain relief, curbing cravings etc. but we'll stick to one issue per visit here.) A quick Google search will present a plethora of informative articles and "how-to" YouTube videos.

 "EFT involves techniques that combine exposure, cognitive restructuring, waking hypnosis, and physical relaxation while tapping on a sequence of pressure points and repeating key phrases out loud. The mechanism of action is unknown; but one suggestion is that physical stimulation of certain pressure points during exposure to an emotional trauma may send deactivating signals directly to the amygdala, or the "fear center" of your brain, resulting a rapid reduction of maladaptive fear." Dr. Anthony Tranguch, MD PHD

Another very valid theory is that EFT induces a placebo effect through distracting the mind of the user and that may well be the case I have no idea but I do know that it works for me almost instantly and there is an overwhelmingly similar response from most people who use this tool properly.

2) Reiki - Discovered and fine-tuned by Mikao Usui in 1922, this non-denominational (somewhat) spiritual practice uses the body's subtle energy system to promote relaxation & stress reduction. It usually involves the laying on of hands however it can also be practiced from a distance or on one's self.

3) Bach Flower Remedies - (As seen on Dr. Oz) "A system of 38 Flower Remedies that corrects emotional imbalances where negative emotions are replaced with positive. They are safe for everyone, including children, pregnant women, pets, the elderly and even plants."
*For most, a few drops of Rescue Remedy would likely suffice but with my extreme fear I take Rock Rose as directed for two weeks before flying.

4) NLP/Hypnosis - Fears are controlled by your subconscious mind and hypnotherapy targets your subconscious mind to re-program negative thoughts. There are many options available however I prefer the soothing voice of Steve G. Jones. He has a great audio session that can be purchased on CD or in mp3 format. Listening to this for a minimum of 3 weeks before your flight is recommended for best results.

5) Mindfulness and Visualization/Meditation - As long as I am not in full-blown panic mode I am able to stay calm by keeping myself in the present moment. After all, it is only when our minds jump ahead and anticipate things that have not yet occurred that we experience anxiety & fear. If I fail at this and begin to stray from the present I will then turn to very deliberate visualization of things like landing safely or resuming my regular daily activities after the flight.

6) *Drugs & Alcohol - Although I now pass on the heavy prescription drugs (because I absolutely hate the way they make me feel and they aren't really effective anyway), the new & improved formula for me involves Dramamine about 30 min before takeoff (the kind that only causes half the drowsiness, found in most airport gift shops) and of course Bloody Mary's for breakfast leading up to a few straight vodka shots just before boarding.

My "in air, don't care" testament to the above remedies.

Interesting Facts:

The fear of flying may have one or more technical names, including aerophobia, aviatophobia, aviophobia, or pteromerhanophobia.

Different reports show that on average, 1 in 5 people are afraid to fly and as many as 50% have experienced some level of fear while flying.

Most people who are afraid to fly are very imaginative.

It is more difficult to treat than some simple phobias because it includes many fears such as: panic attacks, weather, closed in spaces, heights, turbulence, crowds, takeoffs/landings, flying over water, making an ass of yourself (I do not have this fear), being trapped, trusting pilots, being out of control, crashing, trusting the integrity of the plane/technology and death itself.

There is an iphone app for aviophobia.

Even though your chances of being shot by a random act of violence is about 350.7 x greater than any type of aviation occurrence, if you live with aviophobia you don't give a shit when that plane fires up her engines and lifts off the ground, leaving you suspended in mid-air with nothing solid to hold on to. It's a 50-50 shot at life over death as far as you're concerned, even 20-80 at some moments, no make that certain death... ok, ok I'll stop!

I am a Level IV Reiki Master/Teacher.

*I am not advising anyone to use #6 above to treat their own aviophobia. There are therapists out there with real cures to address the root of your fears. I am simply stating what helps me. Please check with your doctor if you are planning to travel and you experience any irrational fear of flying.
3 Responses
  1. Laura Olson Says:

    LOL this is a awesome post and I will indeed look into that eft thing as for the rest besides reiki I do and have done for years , I went from a happy carefree passenger on everything to getting left ear nerve damage which created extreme vertigo which makes flying feel like falling the whole stinking time. I work nonstop so travel has been limited to funerals so if im visiting you it usually means your no longer of this world. cant wait to try the eft techniques im seeing on youtube.

    How do you like belize ? we have set a lets all move site unseen of by end of this year belize , dominican republic and or a few other tropical places are on our short list

    either way again thanks for the cool post !

    Peter O

  2. Ms. X Says:

    Oh that really sucks with the vertigo, jeesh you're brave! I wouldn't be able to do it, nope. See, I don't want you to be taking time away from your work to visit me lol... I want to remain of this world for as long as possible thank you :)
    On a more serious note, I'm glad to hear you are checking out the EFT, it really helps me with so many things and you've gotta love easy, portable and drug free options.
    As you may read in these pages, Belize has it's good and bad sides, probably just like anywhere else only English is the official language which for us, makes life so much easier until we get to our next destination where we will learn Spanish. I wish you all the best in your travels and hope to one day be reading about them!

  3. Tushar Kona Says:

    Psychiatrists are sometimes confused with psychologists, and while there are many similarities between the two professions, there are also many important differences..... psychiatry , Aerophobia

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