I’ve mentioned my fear of flying in the past. Earlier today, Steven Frank wrote about his battle with the same phobia — and from the sound of it, he was hit by it far harder than I was. If you’re phobic or know someone who is, this is well worth reading.

This part, in particular, sounded very familiar, describing perfectly what I’ve gone through every time I’ve gotten on an airplane in the past few years:

With no apparent rhyme or reason, my own brain conspired to make me absolutely terrified of flying. Not like those fakers who say they need a glass or two of wine to unwind before boarding. No, I’m talking clenched to the armrests, heart pounding, stomach doing pirouettes, and jumping in unconditional horror at any sudden noise or movement, with no rest or respite until back on solid ground.

I was also immune to statistics and facts. You could explain to me until blue in the face that I was 23,000 times more likely to die in a car accident on the way to the airport, or that there are better odds of being struck by lightning than being a fatality on a commercial airline. It wouldn’t make any difference. They call them irrational phobias for a very good reason.

Steven was eventually unable to fly for about five years, and has only now just made his first flight since the phobia hit its strongest point. As another person battling this same fear (as I mentioned briefly in the last paragraphs of this post), I can identify with his situation all too well — forcing yourself into confronting a phobia head-on is not an easy thing to do. Congratulations, Steven…and best of luck for the future.

iTunesFather Lucifer (Sylkscreen)” by Amos, Tori from the album Jackie’s Strength (1999, 4:32).

4 thoughts on “Phobic

  1. I wouldnt say I have an outright fear of flying, but I do have a fear of heights which sitting in an airplane doesnt help… It get so bad that I have really bad panic attacks (cold sweats, neausia (sp), hyperventilating etc) but I was prescribed Propranolol Hydrochloride which is a beta blocker that blocks adrenaline

    Fear causes the body to spiral into an ever-increasing loop: more adrenaline causes more fear, which causes more adrenaline, etc. Propranolol can help. Blocking adrenaline interrupts the fear spiral.

    That’s helped me significantly

    It was that or the ol’ Mr. T drug in the milk scenario

  2. I’m terrified of birds, and it takes an enormous amount of willpower to not stop moving whenever I’m confronted by a bunch of pigeons. The International District is especially hard for me to stroll through.

  3. I haven’t flown in three years because my fear is so intense. The next time I go my doctor said that she will prescribe me some valium because the Xanax she prescribed didn’t help, even when I added alcohol [bad combination anyways]. But I was willing to do anything to either make myself pass out or unaware enough to get through the flight. It never works because my anxiety makes everything crystal clear. Hyperventilating, hot and cold flashes, sweaty, cold hands, me rocking back and forth in my seat checking my watch every 15 minutes is the reality of flying for me.

  4. Mine was so bad I had to see a Dr and took a Halcion (or two) before each flight. It had gotten so bad that each flight was spent with me sobbing the entire flight. And the worst part was because of my job I flew every two weeks year-round. And that’s year round in remote locations in Alaska. Winter storms, heavy iceing, Heavy snowfall, below zero temp, and all of this in near total darkness! I swear some times I WANTED to crash just to end the panic attack.

    Now that i haven’t flown for a while (years) flights still bother me but at least I can go in the bar and have a couple drinks and if they don’t knock me out at least they make me too tired to care.

    If I never fly again thats ok with me but I’m planning a trip to Hawaii next year and I know I’ll be on a plane.

    Thank God for Margritas

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