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Old 03-30-2010, 01:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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terrified of flying. Tips?

I'm 29 and never been on a plane before. Just talking about it gets me worked up into panic mode. I basically need something to calm me down and no, i don't have access to meds like valiums or percs. I also don't want to take a sleeping pill because they hit me really really hard (1/4-1/2 a unisom usually knocks me out for 12 hours) and i don't want to be drowsy all day.

I tend to get panicky whenever i travel. I took an 18 hour train to chicago last october and there were multiple times where my brain wanders and i get horrific images of crashing/being involved in a terrible accident. It's even to the point where if i'm not already distracted by a book or my ipod, a 10 minute ride thorugh the tunnel to nyc gives me internal panic attacks (what if theres an accident, what if there's a leak and we all drown, etc.etc.)

I know these are irrational fears, i know i know, flying is safer than driving, blah blah blah but that's the point. they're irrational. So. How do i get rid of them? My big thing is, once im on that plane, i'm on that plane. There's no changing your mind. At least on a train, we made station stops and i could walk out and breathe. On a plane it's not like i can crack a window.
Also, i'm scared of heights and i get motion sickness very easily. (i hear take offs can be shaky?)
I originally wanted to take a test run flight, say to boston or somewhere very nearby but now i'm stuck flying across the country to CA. I've already chosen jetblue (i hear its the most comfortable airline). I assumed that a nonstop would be best, get on get off and its over but now i'm wodering if stopping might be better. Then again, I'd have to deal with getting back on and taking off all over again.
Help!
And I know people will say "get drunk!" but im not totally sure this might work in my favor depending on if im worked up about it already (which i probably will be.)
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Old 03-30-2010, 01:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm not as nervous as you, but I usually stay up all night the night before, drink as little caffeine as possible unless I can time the crash to coincide with take-off and sleep as much as possible, then there's books and ipod and crafts and movies. Also I think that jet blue might have an internet connection, so you can bring a lap top.
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Old 03-30-2010, 01:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If you have a regular doctor (physician or shrink), you should tell him/her about this. They may be able to tell you some ways of relaxing better than regular people, but more importantly, they may prescribe you a xanax or two. Anxiety medications are meant for exactly these types of situations.

Also, dramamene (sp?) is readily available over the counter for motion sickness. I usually pop one and have a bloody mary at the airport bar right before I board, and I'm good to go.

Good luck!!
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Old 03-30-2010, 01:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Don't stop midway as you will most likely be most nervous at take-off and landing.

Bring distractions, try to sleep and if at all possible bring somebody you trust that can talk you through it/hold you hand or if that is not possible let the flight attendants know that you might be scared they may be able to help by talking to you as well. If you can afford an upgrade that might me good because you will be more comfortable.
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Old 03-30-2010, 01:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Oh, also I use a meditation technique I read in a taoist book when I was a teenager. Unlike other meditation, it doesn't leave a lot of room for the mind to wander, which is good for an anxious thinker like me. You visualize your torso as a giant water-wheel, and the oxygen rich breath coming into your lungs are the wheel wells filled with water, while the exhale is the empty wells coming back around to be filled up again. The idea is that the water wheel is never entirely one or the other, nothing is ever totally empty or totally full, it is always emptying and filling at the same time, which is why it takes so much focus (for me at least) to match the visualization of the water wheel with the reality of the in and out motion of breath.

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Old 03-30-2010, 02:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by punk'n View Post
If you have a regular doctor (physician or shrink), you should tell him/her about this. They may be able to tell you some ways of relaxing better than regular people, but more importantly, they may prescribe you a xanax or two. Anxiety medications are meant for exactly these types of situations.
This is correct, lots of doctors would be more than willing to give you some xanax or valium for the flight. Print out your confirmation and take it with you to the doctor, I've done this.

or just drink, they have bars in airports and drinks on planes for a reason.
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Old 03-30-2010, 03:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marina View Post
I'm not as nervous as you, but I usually stay up all night the night before, drink as little caffeine as possible unless I can time the crash to coincide with take-off and sleep as much as possible, then there's books and ipod and crafts and movies. Also I think that jet blue might have an internet connection, so you can bring a lap top.
Did you have to use this word? :P

My friend knew I was freaked out of planes so she made me a package of stuff to read to distract me during take off. One of the things was a list Jack Handy quotes which included:

"I bet the main reason the police keep people away from a plane crash is they don't want anybody walking in and lying down in the crash stuff, then, when somebody comes up, act like they just woke up and go, "What was THAT?!""

I happened to read it just as we took off.
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Old 03-30-2010, 03:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Read up on this. It will explain how flight is possible and relieve all your fears.

Bernoulli's principle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 03-30-2010, 03:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Businessman: You don't like flying, do you?
John McClane: What gives you that idea?
Businessman: You wanna know the secret to surviving air travel? After you get where you're going, take off your shoes and your socks then walk around on the rug bare foot and make fists with your toes.
John McClane: Fists with your toes?
Businessman: I know, I know, it sounds crazy. Trust me, I've been doing it for nine years. Yes sir, better than a shower and a hot cup of coffee.
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Old 03-30-2010, 04:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Bake pot cookies, eat one about an hour before take off. Take some with you as a snack, and take some cheetos too.
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