Plane Old Anxiety

Rumor has it I was on a plane when I was a baby.  I don’t remember it.

When I was nine I went on the first plane ride that I remember.  We went to California. I believe at the time I suffered from my typical travel anxiety, but not much more.  We flew from Washington, DC to Denver and then from Denver to Los Angeles.  As we were getting off the plane in LA, a boy about my age was in the aisle right behind me.  He proceeded to vomit in the aisle while his dad stood next to him holding onto an airsick bag.  I remember thinking “why didn’t he give the bag to his son?” I was ahead of him, so I was fairly free and clear.  I did feel bad for all the people behind them, because, really now they have to maneuver around it.  Good times.

I remember being nervous about getting back on the plane to come home.  That may be my most vivid recollection of how young I was when my emetophobia began. 

Since then, I have been on a plane for two more trips.  Another California trip and then a weekend trip to Detroit & Chicago for baseball games.  And there were no incidents. The latter of the plane rides was a good 15 years ago. 

I’m getting on a plane on Thursday.  My best friend is getting married in the Bahamas this weekend and when I found out she was engaged, there was no question: I am going to her wedding.  She has been engaged since January 2007 and that is when my crusade to kick emetophobia began.  I’ve read a lot of articles and online forums; I’ve been in hynotherapy; and now I’m doing the therapy that I have reported about.  I have come quite a ways a LONG way.

So why am I so darn anxious about this trip?  I’ve been running through a check list and trying to get it all under control. 

The one thing I can say I am 100% NOT worried about is the plane crashing or malfunctioning (knock on wood).  That is the very least of my worries.

This is what I’ve come up with…step inside my brain for a moment:

– I’m afraid someone will throw up on the plane.
– I’m afraid I’ll throw up on the plane.
– If either of the above happen, I’ll not be able to get off the plane.  I’ll be trapped.
– I’m going to be sitting in a giant pill capsule with a bunch of strangers in very close proximity.  (claustrophobia, too?? Come on!!)
– Perhaps I am over my emetophobia and I really just have a fear of flying! (aerophobia??  No, not more!!!)
– What if I have a panic attack? 
– What if someone else has a panic attack (why should I care??)
– The smell of plans is gross… at least it was 15 years ago.
– What if I get to the Bahamas and am so terrified of flying that I can’t get on the plan to come home!

This is just a sampling.  This is what is going on in my head.  This is why I’m yelling, “shut up! shut up! shut up!” over and over again in my brain (not out loud…that would be weird!).

I’ve got my Xanax.  I’ve got my Bonine.  I’ve got my rock.  Wade.  He told me himself.  He told me that he wished he could share some of his calm with me.  I love him and I need him to be my rock.

Just get me there so I can don my sunhat and enjoy the crystal blue water and my best girl’s wedding!



~ by zuzu on July 1, 2008.

6 Responses to “Plane Old Anxiety”

  1. GOOD LUCK!!!! it is great to have a rock by your side!

  2. I feel for ya, but don’t also want to be too oh-poor-you about it cuz I bet it will be just fine. (does that make sense?) Tap into Wade’s sense of calm – you’ll have a fun trip. That’s my wish for you.

  3. I am no head shrinker, but I think trying to talk yourself out of your anxiety only makes it worse. Maybe let yourself be worried for the next 24 hours, then at least you don’t need to be worried about being worried.

    Also, tell the stewardess as soon as you get on the plane that you are a little anxious, it is nice to have them cheering you on and you might even get extra peanuts! Hang in there, thinking happy wedding thoughts the whole way.

  4. Xanax is amazing! Take some scented oil – or a scented relaxation eye pillow or something. Even if you don’t put it on your eyes, you can sniff it when the plane stink gets overwhelming. Focus on the fun time you’ll have at the wedding. And the sand, sun and water.

  5. Yes, let the crew know you are anxious, I have issues at the dentist and it goes a long way to let them know it is tough for me.

    Good luck! We are rooting for you!

    And…thanks for the guest post! 🙂

  6. A video on the cause and the cure — there really is one — of fear of flying is available at

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