I must have taken my first flight when I was 5-my first trip to Disneyworld. That was before the event that “started” my phobia, so I don’t remember how I handled the flight. I remember worrying about flying before my second trip to Disneyworld; I was in the 5th grade, and I was annoyed when my teacher blew off the concerns that I had journaled by telling me to bring gum to prevent ear popping.
i’ve never been particularly afraid of being in a plane crash. My fear of flying is actually just a fear of getting airsick.
I’ve never actually vomited on a plane ride. I have felt sick before. “Airsick bags,” and my mom’s story about vomiting into her purse when she discovered that there was none in the seat pocket in front of me, were enough for my to internalize “YOU MIGHT THROW UP ON A PLANE.”
For years, a combination of anti-emetics (scopolamine patches, then compazine, then Bonine) and my husband holding my hand on take off created sort of a security blanket. Things got better when I added Xanax to the mix, but I was never comfortable with flying.
I’ve had a difficult time with flying since we broke up, because I can’t Xanax anymore. Now I’m flying with a kid, so I’m in charge.
I flew out west to visit my family around the time of my first anniversary as a separated person, just a month after he left. I think my mom flew out here to bring me back, and then my sister came back with me. Last August, I flew out with her by myself, and it went fine. In December, I rescheduled my trip to February because I was sick, so I wouldn’t get to see my immunocompromised niece. In February, I canceled my trip the day before because I was panicking about flying.
I went out there last week–my mom came here the day before so she could fly us back west, then I flew home by myself. I didn’t start getting anxious about flying until the night before–which is a huge improvement. I did great on the flights (with regards to anxiety and nausea).
However, I’m still afraid of flying. Now my fear has just moved from fear of getting airsick to “fear of not being able to effectively parent while flying.”