Right, I have been meaning to write this for a while but have been busy doing life. Here goes.
For years I have been terrified of flying. I’m not talking about being a little scared. I mean full on petrified. I was certain I would plunge to my death each time I boarded a big steel coffin. This irrational fear came out of nowhere. I had always flown, since being a little kid. Nothing bad had ever happened however from the age of 16 until recently I had been terrified.
I once took so much Lorazepam (a sedative) I slept from here to London. No exaggeration. Changing over midway was a massive issue. Once I arrived in London I thought great! Cured. I flew all that way so I must be fine. How wrong was I? A few weeks after that I attempted to fly to Paris unmedicated. It was horrific! White knuckled it the whole way. Fortunately it’s a quick trip. Alas back on the Lorazepam I went. Even flying domestically in New Zealand I would have to take some, despite Air New Zealand being rated the safest airline in the world.
Being evidence based of course I researched everything there was to know about aviation. I knew the odds where in my favour and it was highly unlikely I would die. This still didn’t stop me scanning planes for babies each time I boarded, because surely the big person upstairs wouldn’t take down a plane with babies on board. I would think all sorts of irrational things. Like of course they dim the lights so we can’t see what is happening. I would always look at other passengers faces to determine their state of calm. Did they hear that noise? Is it normal? Are they still relaxed? My favourite were business people, carry on luggage only. They clearly fly all the time so if they looked concerned that definitely meant something was up. My absolute favourite though was being in a seat which enabled me to watch the crews faces. If they looked bored I knew everything was okay.
The bit I hated the most was waiting for the pilot to do his spiel. The minutes felt like hours. I knew once he began yakking it meant all was okay. No danger of imminent death after take off
It sounds comical but it really was a source of major anxiety for me. I hated taking the sedatives, they made me feel horrendous for days. I looked into doing those “lose your fear of flying” courses. But couldn’t manage the cost.
After a few rounds of NIS I no longer have that irrational fear. My fear perception is back where it should be. The irrational, rapid thoughts have gone and I am able to rationalise the thoughts I do have quite easily. Granted I still don’t enjoy turbulence but who does?
When neurological confusion is cleared and your brain begins working as it should great things happen. Often unexpected things. Things we have learnt to live with and put down to being part of our personality. What a crazy thought though to think that fear is just part of us. It's healthy to have a little fear otherwise we would do insane things. But too much spells recipe for disaster and a lackluster life.
Here is me nailing my first unmedicated flight. The scariest bit was taking a selfie without being snapped haha!