Is It Fear Of Flying Or Fear Of Dying?

Fear of Flying

So after years of flying, why am I still nervous? If you have a fear of flying, you're not alone, but do we have fear flying or dying?

I think for me, it's the dying part, "How" I die that scares me.
How much pain, suffering, both mentally and physically I might endure.
The torturous S L O W death. 
I have come to realize that it is the dying scenario that I am afraid of, and it's not just flying. 

Crashing in a plane is still number #1, If you're going down in a plane, it would agonizing imagining the end result, even if it just minutes. 
There are two others ways of dying that make me cringe just thinking about them.

Okay, I'll share.
They are:  Burning up like a campfire marshmallow......
Stop and watch a moment. Uggh. 

Mallows on Fire

.....and drowning, in deep-deep water, clawing at nothing-ness until your eyes bulge out like a Bass out of water, then you die-die. 

My Eyes!

I'll work on those nightmares, let's get back to Fear of Flying.............

"So, what are the other factors that make many of us (nearly 1 in 3 Americans) so scared of flying?" 

According to this study, of those afraid of flying:

  • 73% were fearful of mechanical problems during flight
  • 62% were afraid of being on a flight during bad weather
  • 36% were afraid of mechanical problems on the ground
  • 36% were afraid about flying at night
  • 33% feared flying over a body of water

(Source: “Fear of Flying: Impact on the U.S. Air Travel Industry.” Robert D. Dean, Kerry M. Whitaker. Study sponsored by Boeing Commercial Airplane Company.)

Got it, we're a bunch of scared "pansy's".  Now what do we do?
Here are some suggestions from the experts- they did not work for me, but they may help you.

Read the books on how a plane actually flies OR talk to pilots......they say. 
REALLY?  All I know is mechanical "stuff" fails and mechanics get tired like everyone else--mistakes happen and if they do, this pressurized metal tube is going down.

Yeah Yeah, they can glide, maybe even 20 to 30 minutes, then where ya gonna land? Hopefully not in someones back yard....

Throwing a Model Airplane

Getting to know a pilot, okay I tried this too.  

We had a good friend, a pilot, take me up in a small plane a few years ago.
A Small- two seater with some cargo space in back.
I didn't want to go, but it was my husband's business party and the pressure was on.
I only had one drink, this was not fair. 

Smiling and Cocksure of himself, he gave me the run down on the instrument panel, explained the safety checks and gave me the "Dynamics of Flight" lecture- as we went Up Up and Away...
I was numb, until we hit our first air pocket. Was this suppose to make me stronger? fearless? 
Smaller metal tubes flying into BIG turbulent air pockets are worse! I was losing it.

Come On, That Can't Be Normal!

As he continued to talk, I started to count backwards from 1000.  This method helps me sleep, hoping it would help, and we would be on the ground by the time I reached 444.
Also, don't tell me it's the safest way to travel OR give me the percentages of death by car; by bike or gun accidents and especially drowning, it doesn't help. 

All I know at this point is, NOW I am afraid of flying in SMALL planes too!

So What's It Going To Take?

Shocked Staring Dog

Here are some ways that have helped others (including me) get through a flight and other scary "stuff".

  •  DRINK or Medicate?  Okay, I am not going to advocate getting sloshed before or during a flight, I'm just say-in, it helps some people- not me.  I may have a drink, but its not worth the amount of money I would have to spend to truly calm me down. Personally, I don't want to take a med, but I have friends that take low mg's of Diazepam or Xanax and it works for them. Their advice is take it at least an hour ahead of the flight.  
  •  Watch A Movie or Listen to Tunes. This has helped me get my mind off the strange mechanical noises throughout the flight AND not look at my watch so often. 
  •  Get A Window Seat, Or NOT?  Here's where it's divided for a lot of people. For me, it is always a window seat, especially over the wing. I felt better being able to watch the wing/engine area, and if it isn't on fire- GOOD, I feel better.  For many people, an aisle seat is better, less restricting, better for a quick escape! 
  •  FIND OUT what makes this flying capsule stay up; go down and NOT break in half when hitting turbulence. This is a popular book and it may help you! "CockPit Confidential".  Everything you need to know about air travel written by an airline pilot. 
  •  Laugh, Giggle, Smile, Breathe Deep or Pray. Yup, laughing quietly has worked- for me. I'm not much into prayer but giggling and smiling, I'm into that, so I laugh at movies, people's conversations, (while I'm looking into a book), memories, you get it. Yeah, I get looks, but its better than sobbing!
  •  Make A Nest And Sleep. If you fly often, you've probably seen the nest builders. Might as well get comfy. They have their PJ's (or are those lounge pants?), their pillow from home (YUK!), a blanket and headphones.  Go for it!  If it takes you away from the anxiety, do it! 

So, in conclusion, everyone really has to find what works for them. It's personal.

For me, there are two other changes that have eased my anxiety.

First,  I finally feel my family will be taken care of.  I'm sure you know the feeling. 
 "What would mom do?",  "My children?"  "My Pets?"  "Who will my husband hook up with?"--Okay, maybe I'll just forget about that one.
There are plans in place now, and it's a good feeling.

Second,  As I mentioned above, I'm not particular religious, however at some point I decided that God (or nature) has a plan. It's already "In The Cards". 

I mean, I can be the Queen Of Common Sense, and still be hit by a bus from a crazy driver. 
I Can Eat Right (whatever that really is), avoid self-destructive vices, exercise, and still "CROAK" from a massive heart attack or whatever!  
I just can't worry about the WAY I'm going to die anymore.  
This has calmed me down

I've Decided My Love For Travel Is Just More Important, And Fear Is Not Going To Kick My Butt!  

Hope you travel-on and............

Be Fearless In The Pursuit Of What Sets Your Soul On Fire
-Jeniffer Lee

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How Have Handled Your Fears? Do You Have Any Fears? Let know and please comment below. 


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