Imagine doing the thing that scares you the most, the thing that gives you palpitations and makes you instantly break out in a sweat and think ‘NO WAY WILL I EVER DO THAT, IT’S JUST TOO SCARY’. Well, that’s what getting on a plane and flying on my own is like to me. Except being in a long distance relationship with someone who lives almost 2000 miles away has meant going on a journey to overcome my biggest fear in life.
I’ve been putting off writing this post for a while now, but I think that sometimes putting pen to paper (or fingers to a keyboard) can do wonders – so here goes…
I’ve been in a long distance relationship for just under 4 years now, something that I haven’t really mentioned on my blog before. And whilst we are currently in the process of talking things through and sorting something out in order to finally live in the same place, the fact is that seeing each other means getting on a plane and flying almost 2000 miles away.
I’ve always been an anxious flyer. It’s not really a fear of the flying itself, it’s more a fear of getting a panic attack whilst I’m flying and being unable to reach or contact anyone I know for a few hours. So although I’m quite calm when flying with my family or friends and I absolutely loving going abroad and exploring new places, flying alone is a thought that I just couldn’t face and I managed to avoid this for most of my life. It was the one thing which I always thought “Nope, no way am I ever going to do that.
Fast forward to 2013 when I met my boyfriend and we decided to give this long distance relationship thing a go. For practically the first 2 years I managed to somehow avoid having to fly on my own, but then it came to a time when I knew I had to face my biggest fear if I wanted our relationship to stand any chance.
This was scary.
I knew I would need to get some sort of help in order to even consider being able to fly on my own so I went to a few sessions of CBT over 6 months and I finally booked my first flight alone in February 2015. It was scary at first, but not as scary as I thought it would be and armed with the skills I learnt during my CBT sessions, it was do-able and once the flight took off, it actually wasn’t that much of a big deal any more and I managed to control any anxiety that I felt. I distracted myself throughout the flight by listening to music and watching videos. Since then I flew alone another 4 times, the last time being February last year. Since then, I managed to avoid flying alone, which I’m sure hasn’t helped, as this month I will once again be flying alone and since it’s been so long since I last did it, the thought of doing it again terrifies me.
A very small part of me is excited about doing this again, but a big part of me is nervous. Very nervous. However, I know that I need to push myself to overcome this fear as not only will it limit me in life, but it will also have a negative effect on my otherwise amazing relationship with my (very patient) boyfriend. I can’t imagine how disappointed in myself I would be, if I let my fear ruin my relationship – and that is exactly what pushes me to try my best to overcome it.
So, in spite of feeling really anxious about my upcoming flight this month, I’m trying my best to think positively about it and plan what I will be doing on the flight – which TV series I’d like to watch, what music I will listen to, and what food I might eat. I’ve also found two things particularly helpful when I’ve flown alone – asking my family/boyfriend to write little notes that I can read while I’m on the flight, and asking them to prepare short video messages I can watch. I’ve found that these really help to keep me calm so it’s something I will probably ask for my next flight.
Knowing that I am capable of doing what once seemed impossible is great. However, I still haven’t got to where I want to be in terms of feeling calm about flying on my own, and trusting that I can deal with the situation. I guess that I’m probably braver and more capable of doing this than I think I am. I really hope that I can continue to work on overcoming my fear and that one day I will be able to get on a plane on my own feeling confident and proud about overcoming my fear.
Any tips or helpful advice would be greatly appreciated.
Please be nice 🙂