Sudden Onset Fear of Flying
March 29, 2012 4:20 PM Subscribe
Why am I suddenly afraid of flying, and how can I make it stop?
posted by charmcityblues to health & fitness (19 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I have a weird history with flying: I flew infrequently as a very small child, and then not at all until I was in college. I started flying fairly frequently in my early twenties (now mid-twenties) without issue. This past year has been the heaviest—I’ve probably racked up 50,000 miles or so.
I've run into big fear and anxiety issues during my last two trips. I’m not overly anxious before the flight, but when I board. I’m just hit with this incredible sense of dread and physical anxiety after I see the door of the plane. My palms get sweaty, my heart rate increases, and I feel physically fairly wobbly. This gets increasingly worse until the plane reaches cruising altitude, and then waxes and wanes throughout the flight. Landing doesn’t really bother me that much. I haven’t had any traumatic flying experiences. I completely understand that driving is statistically riskier, I have a pretty solid understanding of how airplanes work, and I know the source of the sounds and tones at liftoff and landing.
I’d like to understand why this is suddenly happening, and try to fix it without drugs*. I want to nip this in the bud before it becomes an even bigger issue that threatens to prevent me from flying at all. I travel frequently for work (a minimum of 4-6 weeks of international travel a year), and I need to fly for personal reasons as well.
I've looked at the past questions but they don't really get at the why, which is a big part of what's bothering me. Did this happen to you? How did you deal / did you ever figure out why suddenly?