Anxiety Attack

Now that I’m registered for Blogher 06, I need to start planning the remainder of the details. I looked at the hotel’s website to reserve my room, and I noticed they want to know when the plane arrives so they can be sure to pick me up. So, the room has been put on hold until I have picked out my flight.

I pulled up Expedia to look at flights to San Jose from Columbus, and slowly started to feel my chest getting tight, my palms sweat, and my head feel light. I closed the browser window, recognizing this sensation.

Today’s confession: I have a fear of flying. It’s not so great a fear that I refuse to fly, but I do have some pretty strict guidelines when it comes to choosing my travel.

First, I won’t fly anywhere that I can reasonably drive to. Chicago: 6 hour drive. New York: 8 hour drive. Virginia Beach: 10 hour drive. Florida: 16 hour drive. I’ve done them all versus flying. They are mostly single day drives (we even did the Florida drive in one day once), so I see no reason not to drive. Besides, I enjoy the process of getting there.

There have been places I couldn’t drive to, like when I spent a summer in England. Even then I said that if they’d just build a road to get there, I’d drive it. Obviously, driving out to San Jose in order to spend 4 days there is not reasonable. It would take that many days just to drive there. Plus I’m still taking classes, and I doubt I could take that much time off from my classes. So flying is clearly the logical answer.

Second rule of flying for me is only large jets. I’ve been on one of those damn turbo-props, or as my family calls them, turbo-plops. It was an unfun, nauseating, up and down experience. The larger the jet, the less likely I am to feel every little bump of air, and the more secure I feel.

In order to fly, I must mentally prepare myself weeks in advance. Meditation, relaxation exercises, going over the details in my head, etc. When I went to England, it took me two tries to finally walk down the hallway to board the plane. I walked up to the doorway, handed them my ticket, then asked for it back and walked right back to my mom for one more hug. Deep breath, then I turned around and was successful on the second try.

I also dislike flying due to an inner-ear problem I have. We discovered it when we flew to Florida when I was nine. My ears have a lot of trouble with pressure equalization. Going up isn’t so bad, but going down is painful. The pressure won’t release, and I usually spend several hours after the flight with diminished hearing and one hell of an earache. Nothing a little lot of ibuprofen can’t fix, but still annoying.

I know it’s crazy to be so scared of flying. You can recite the statistics, but I already know them. Yes, more people die in car crashes every year than in plane crashes. It’s not a rational fear. If my car stops working, I can get out and walk. If I’m on a boat and it sinks, I can swim for at least a little while. If the plane stops working, I can’t fly on my own. I guess I’d be less scared if they didn’t travel so far away from the ground.

No worries, this issue will not stop me from going to Blogher. My fear of flying is strong, but not strong enough to keep me from the things I really want to do. I’m just glad that, unlike my trip to England, I’m now (well) over 21, and can beg for alcohol to help me relax just a little bit during the flight.

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  1. This could be a really good thing for you, Christina.

    Who knows, maybe this particular time will help you overcome your fear!

    Happy thoughts (and jealous thoughts) and hugs from here 🙂

  2. Fear of flying is not an irrational fear. Fear of chickens, that’s irrational (unless you’ve been attacked by chickens.) And it’s perfectly appropriate to deal with such fears with some wine and a trashy magazine. Although maybe with all the ibuprofen that could get a bit dodgy… or maybe happier. (Not advocating substance misuse! OK, maybe a little.) Whatever it takes.

  3. I have a close friend that won’t fly and there is nothing I can say to convince her to get on a plane.

    I wish I knew what the magic words were to make you guys feel better.

    Uh…maybe Xanax or Valium?

    Just make sure you get there, k????

  4. I’ve only flown a few times, and at first I was fine with it, but with each flight I seem to get more worried. It’s been quite a while since I’ve flown now, and to be honest, the thought just terrifies me – so I know how you feel. At least you know that once you get there, you’ll have a great time!

  5. A lot of people share your fear. I’m sitting on a plane right now waiting for them to fix it. Always great for the nerves.

    Get some xanax. I hear it does wonders… 🙂

  6. Gotta love alcohol..I’m ok with flying, but totally understand where the fear comes from….and what a great reason to be doing it!! I’m so jealous…

  7. Just remember why you’re going (sisterhood) and it will help you get through it. However, if you decide to imbibe on the plane to numb the fear make sure you don’t over do it. There’s nothing worse than a fear of flying combined with a fear of airline jail.

  8. A few shots at the airport bar works for my sister. Are you getting excited about the conference?

  9. Um, since when is it crazy to be afraid of flying? No way, it’s not crazy, it’s one of the most common fears there is!!! My suggestion, just like everyone else said … Um, alcohol? Xannex? I once took Klonipin (sp?) which is an anxiety drug, which didn’t make me feel all loopy but it helped. I know, very, very healthy and all about tackling the problem head on but hey, you do what you can to get through it, huh?

  10. Ok, here is what you must think the whole way-

    “But I’m going to get stupid drunk with Sarah and Erin.”

    Repeat that. Over and over again.

    As an added bonus, my husband and children will be holed up in the hotel room (we might let them out to go the pool, we’ll see ) while we “learn” things and then whoop it up. Which means we get to pester the Kaiser.

  11. I feel for you. The only time I flew was when I was 6 and I don’t remember it at all. My husband and I are going to Las Vegas in June. Since we are only going to be gone for 4 days, it only makes sense to fly. I’m already having to psyche myself up for it. I don’t know how I’m going to handle it, but I’m sure I’ll have one of my anxiety attacks!

    Good luck! At least BlogHer is worth the flight, huh?

  12. I’ve only flew a few times and I have terrible inner ear issue sort of like yours. I get carsick even when I’m the driver sometimes. And, I refuse to do the little jet thing too. The first plane ride I ever took was from B’ham Alabama to Atl GA in the midst of a thunderstorm. I was going to Hawaii and I kept telling my then husband, “when we get to Atlanta, I’m calling someone to come get me and they can go with you to hawaii, I am not getting on another plane” but, it wasn’t that big of a deal after I puked and ate some motion sickness meds

    either way, you’ll have a drunken blast at if I can just get up enough nerve to go and meet people…that would be my hang-up right now

  13. Oh no. Now I feel horrible about my post today. Sorry.

    I know lots of people that are afraid of flying. Maybe this trip will be the one that turns things around. Or a few stiff drinks – that could work 🙂

    But BlogHer will be so so so worth it! I am jealous.

  14. Ah, nothing like friends advising me to take prescription drugs for a flight! I love you all!

    Erin – I will be repeating that mantra, you can guarantee it.

    Jerri Ann – Go for it! I think half of the women going to Blogher are the shy ones. It’ll be a crowded shy corner – come join us!

    Sandra – Oh no, don’t feel bad about your post! My scariest experience was flying back from England, when the captain told us, “We can’t seem to get one of the engines to work, but we’re going ahead with the flight anyway.” Eek.

  15. Yeah, I have to get Mr. Stapler fairly sauced before he will fly. I carry with me 3 airplane bottles of Jack Daniels and 3 of Baileys Double Shots, so I can medicate him according to his preference.

    Which made it all the more embarrassing when they were dumping out my 40-gallon purse to find my Swiss Army knife at security.