My husband has a problem with his ears popping when we fly, so the doctor suggested he take mucinex (sp?) to relieve the pressure in his ears. It also makes him drowsy, so he just sleeps the whole way day. Maybe that would help. Me, I just read and have a cocktail or 2...or 3...well, you get the point!
When you get to your destination take off your socks and shoes and make fists with your toes in the carpet, or the sand, your choice. Yippee-ki-yea..... (Random Die Hard reference, if you did not recognize it....) I never have trouble with the flight there, just the flight coming home, if you know what I mean. Really what I do is a task. I count seats, or how many times the stewardess passes, or how many times my sweetie squeezes my hand and asks if I am excited, (or sad on the trip home), you get the point. The more you keep your mind occupied on tasks, the less time you have to think about the flight. It will be fun to figure out how many tasks you can come up with. Have a safe trip...
I hate it so much. It only gets worse every time. I understand logically we will probably be fine, but it's hard. Years ago coming home from cn I had a super scary flight. Flight attendant running, captain only saying "buckle up", people screaming... You get the point. I went fetal in tears. Obviously I'm fine, but I always remember that feeling.
Now I just embrace that the captaiN and crew want to live, life is short, and Jamaica is worth it.
Hang in there, it is hard!
The more you keep your mind occupied on tasks, the less time you have to think about the flight. It will be fun to figure out how many tasks you can come up with. Have a safe trip...
This is really close to the technique employed by the SOAR fear of flying app I put on my phone. They suggest this "5-4-3-2-1 technique" that's really designed to do just what you described...keep ones mind really busy doing other tasks so anxiety doesn't build up in the noggin.
It's so cool and weird to think of anxiety as an electrical impulse that can build up or be kept at bay in the brain. It is also for this reason that the makers of my App strongly advise AGAINST my "Airplane pills" because it dulls your sharp senses and hampers your own level of control.
Your bit about toe fists...I'm really loving that. Totally doing that, man. Also good idea in case anyone needs a foot-punch, I'll be ready!
The old "Toe-Knuckle Sandwich"
(I'm grossing myself out now)
Two things that helped me a lot (other than xanax....)
1. Breathing. When we become scared, we tend to hold our breath. Which increases our anxiety. When I start to freak out on the plane, I take long, slow, deep breaths.
2. I have a friend who is a pilot. One thing that he told me is that turbulence in the air is just like driving on a bumpy road at home. You pay a little more attention, and maybe drive a bit slower, but inherently, it's not more dangerous. Pilots do the same thing. They pay better attention and might actually slow down a bit, but it's not more dangerous... Just bumpy. So when we hit turbulence, I just tell myself "bumpy road, bumpy road." and that helps too.
Oh, and did I mention xanax?? Good luck.
I like the bumpy road exercise... but I'll just be thinking... On a bumpy road I can slow down and avoid the pot holes, and if I crash doing 20 mph I'll be fine. I'm terrified of flying (I really like living, but so do the pilots), but I've done it several times, and will continue to do so. I did take xanax once, ended up taking 1mg. I was still a nervous wreck in the air, but when we landed I passed out. I don't take meds anymore. Reading a book helps me. Granted, it needs to be a really good book. I did really good on my last flight, but it was only 40 minutes long.... well.. ok.. I didn't do very well, but I only did poorly for 40 minutes!
Do it drug free. You will make it. You can think of worse way to end up in the big Jamaica in the sky. The more far fetched the better. Make that you task. I bet you find yourself giggling your head off.
Die Hard was just on television so I thought of you and looked for this post. Have you traveled yet or is it almost time? tried to figure it in my head, but I started daydreaming and being jealous cause I have 131 days left..... Hope the flights are good and wish you Gods speed in your travels. Let me know how they went.
Ask you doc for it. I'm a terrible flier too. Mostly because I'm a control freak. These little magic pills, especially when combined with a cocktail, would make me go "oh look...cool" as the plane went down in a ball of flames.
I am in the Air Force. I am not a pilot but actually an aircraft mechanic. I have done quite a bit of flying during my time in the military. Believe me, nothing is as bad as a combat landing or take off. On one of those the plane instantly becomes a "vomit commit". The most important thing to remember is that the most stress on a plane occurs during take off. After that its smooth sailing. The landing is nothing more than a controlled fall. Just relax and enjoy the view. Chances of mechanical failure on a commercial airplane are minute. Hope this helps some of you white knucklers.
OK, so I'm in the business, but regardless, here are some tips and information to think about and hopefully help calm your nerves.
1. It's all about the "$400 hammer". It's a $5 hammer with $395 worth of testing, analysis, paperwork, certification and other manufacturing and inspection controls to ensure it's a prefect "$5 hammer" - and not a $2 hammer. The real reason for the FAA is that the flying public do not like falling out of the sky. The net result is that being in a commercial airplane anywhere other than at the gate is just about the safest place you can possibly be in your entire life.... and that includes your bed at home. The chances of death or injury when flying are probably less than the airport roof falling in on you! However to put things in perspective, one of the most dangerous places you can be in normal life is in your car!!!!! We never think twice about jumping in the car do we? You are many many many more time likely to die on your way to the airport. The reason flying scares us so much emotionally is that there are a lot of people in one vehicle and in the RARE event when one does go down, the media has to have a field day with it (sells advertizing - all that BS in between the little bursts of new program.). Blame them. The difference emotionally beween plane crashes and train or bus crashes where many people are involved in one event is that planes are "up there" with no "visible means " of support - it's a long way down. Plus many train and bus crashes never get into the media - they don't sell advertizing as well. Ship sinkings- in the middle emotionally - are at zero altitude (literally - sea level) but it is a lot of deep water and we are afraid of drowning or sharks or such things. In fact very few plane crashes originate from events at altitude. I was on one of the first Beoing 767's back in the early '80s. There was a previously unknown problem with the new P&W engines and they flamed out in freak atmopshereic conditions. Both engines quit a 41,ooo ft. The got one restarted and we landed safely in Detriot to change planes. But I was not worried at all, as the pilot said when we were sitting in the terminal waiting for the new plane, they can hang it all (flaps. etc.) out and glide 140 miles with no engines from 41,ooo feet, they have an auiliary power unit for electrical energy and a ram air turbine generator as a second backup. And they practice relentlessly in simulators for every possible type of emergency so that they know exaclty what to do as second nature. Things are also way safer today than even in the '80's - so much better equipment and techology.
2. Turbulence. An airpane flys in a mass of fluid - the atmospere. So if that mass of fluid moves the plane tends to move with it. So if the plane seems to "drop" suddenly - well imagine you have a model airplane in a box and you move the box up and down. The plane goes with it - it doesn't fall through the bottom of the box. Simplistic explaination - but illustrates the point.
3. On approach to Sangster International Mo'Bay (same actually applies to Kingston). Don't look aout of the window. It is a sporty approach. At least it looks like it if you have never done it before. The runway threshold is about 100' from the water line. (The strobe lights are in the sea.) So you will be approaching over water at very low atlitude. There is nothing wrong with this, it is no different from approaching over land and buildings - in fact probalbly safer. It just feels strange. The pilot is flying a normal 3 degree glideslope approach to touchdown at the touchdown zone which is a lot further up the runway. I just recommend you do not look out the windows if you are a bit twitchy about flying - especially landing. One plus to this type of over sea approach - it's usually pretty smooth.
4. Don't drink too much alcohol before or while flying. Contray to popular belief it doesn't help - at all. In fact it can make the whole experience worse.
I don't suppose this will help with the emotional fears but hopefully it will give you some logical things to think about. That being said go fly and enjoy - remember where you are heading!!! and that you are more likely to win the lottery jackpot 3 times than be in a plane crash.
A well known newsperson who traveled alot once said- Traveling by plane is like being in a speedboat- sometimes everything is smooth and sometimes there are waves and it is a bit bumpy. When there is a little turbulance I remember this. I travel a lot for business but would prefer driving although they say that is more dangerous. I suggest having some drinks, listen to Bob Marley, and feel the sun on your way down. On the way back...stop at the MoBay Lounge- have some drinks, listen to Bob on the plane and plan your vacation to Couples next year.
I have a different view on flying as my father is a pilot and some of my best childhood experiences is going flying with him to Chicago, DC, etc instead of going to school.
My wife is anxious of flying because of the unknown and one thing that I keep reminding her when turbulence or wiggling occurs is that to imagine my father up in the cockpit and that is in total control. That he loves us very much and that him and the other pilots are trained for every occurnace and that they have the controls and switches all set for us to get home safely. The majority of the fear I would assume is that you can't look forward and see how clear the sky is and that is just a bit of turbulence.
I hope this helps but in case you need it just imagine 'Poppa Wayne' up in front flying you home safe and sound. Airplane's now have such amazing technology that you can fly a plane with the cabin windows painted black or blindfolded. I've seen it once with my father that it was such bad snow that viability was zero and that I saw the landing strip, and runway lights after we touched down. Total blizzard conditions and he was calm as can be.
Thank you again everyone so much for all the good advice. And thank you Sandalsbutcurious for the wonderful technical info. The APP I'm working with by SOAR for anxious fliers is helping quite a bit as well. I'd surely recommend it for anyone. Our plane leaves early in the morning in about two weeks. (4/27) and yes...we do layover so it's going to be 2 flights each way. But I'm feeling confident. I'm gonna make toe fists, use my iPod for music and pics, squeeze suntan oil on me for smell, and look to the crew for reassurance. In addition, I've studied and learned quite a LOT about the technology behind flights and planes. That will help as well. I know about my sub-cortex, my anxiety responses in the noggin, and even a lot about the way the brain functions and how to curb anxiety. I am going to do it all organic without meds or drinks to keep myself sharp and in charge. I am going to do great this time. I know it.
The ironic thing is that my all-time favorite movie is Top Gun! I wanted to actually BE a Naval Aviator growing up but I had medical stuff which kept the Navy from accepting me, but that's a different story.
So...two weeks and counting.... And I just feel the need...the need for speed! (That and Red Stripe)
SO Much Love, Everyone. Thanks again!
Asheville NC, don't forget your tasks. And my haiku... Please check with watersports for me and see if Shrek will still be there in Aug. I have a gift for him. Tell my chair hello, and I will see it soon. Have safe travels. Gods speed, Camille