Flying home and I am terrified

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by tinamarie1, Dec 15, 2007.

  1. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    I am usually a pro at traveling by airplane. Until this summer when the kids and I went to see husband graduate from officer school in Rhode Island. It was the kids first plane trip. First, we sat on the runway from 3 PM until 8PM ...yes on the runway! All because it was drizzling outside and the company that fuels the plane refuses to fuel it when it is raining, for fear they will get struck by lightening. We arrive in Detroit for our connection and it is now midnight. The airport literally is CLOSED and no other flights are leaving. So at our own expense, we had to get a hotel, sleep in our underwear and eat food from the hotel bar that night. Chicken wings for $30.
    K, on the way back from Rhode Island, we are landing back in Louisiana...and we start to touch down, and the plane goes back up into the air. It flys a good ways away from the airport and circles back to the airport, starts to touch down again and goes back up into the air again. It does this a total of 3 times. The pilot and crew are not saying a word. People on the plane start to freak out. I was literally saying the Lords Prayer outloud. Finally the stewardess comes on the microphone and explains that they are getting a signal on the plane that we have NO landing gear. So, they are doing fly by's to the tower so that they can double check this. When we do get prepared to land, they had us get in an crash landing position and had us close our window shades. husband said that the guy across from him didn't close his but half way and he could see allllll sorts of fire trucks and ambulances waiting for us. There was a huge net on the runway to catch the plane even. It was a rough landing, but we did have some landing gear to help out. I had my first REAL panic attack. I pushed past everyone on the plane and got to the bathroom where I threw up several times. My mother in law was waiting to pick us up and she had to help me to the car. I started hyperventilating when I sat down in the car.
    Soooooooooooooooooooo....I really really really wanted to go home and see my family at Christmas. And its a 22 hour drive from here, one way and my kids only get 10 days out of school for Christmas, 4 of which we would have spent driving in God knows what kind of icy, yucky weather. So, yes we are flying again. I asked my doctor the other day if he could give me something "just in case" and he gave me a few Ativan. husband being a nurse, tells me that if I get on that plane and take an Ativan I won't be able to walk off the plane, they will have to carry me.
    Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can control my anxiety during the flights?
  2. Star*

    Star* call 911


    Gosh good to see you again. Atavan is pretty good for anxiety, but if you aren't used to taking any kind of relaxer - benadryl is an antihistamine and can help too - it does tend to make people drowsy , but I've never heard of anyone not walking after taking it.

    Sounds like you've had a couple of really bad scares in the air. A few suggestions for travel would be -

    Ask the ticket agent if you can have the FIRST row seat and an aisle seat. The first row has a little more space for stretching out -it may make you feel like you have more breathing room, and you can't see a thing in front of you. No one else's head turning or looking that may also be afraid to fly. In your mind these things matter, (subconsciously) also my brain figures if I am THERE I am first to the door to get out. I always take the right, first row, seat. I can see the door and it's calming to me.

    Second take a walkman or portable DVD player with you and earbuds. If you read take a very good book and really pour yourself into it.

    Third - I always say a prayer before I get on, and after we land.
    You've landed twice = in one piece. Someone is watching out for you. I'm sure they will again.

    Fourth - aim that air thing-a-ma-bob directly at your face - aim them both there if you have to - I do.

    Fifth - You are safer in that plane than you are in a car, on icey roads, with kids - and it's quicker and it will be over in no time.

    I dunno if any of this will help you - but it helps me. Also if you are religious - you may want to get yourself a St. Christopher necklace. He's the patron St. of travel.

    Happy trip - Friendly skies - It's all good!
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Goodness! I can't say I blame you. But you know the old saying, get right back up on the horse is the best cure for falling off. Or some such lol, It's 2 am and my brain isn't at it's best.

    Would fam doctor give you something for the anxiety before your flight?

    Star has some great suggestions.

    I don't like to fly normally. I'm clostrophobic and have a horrid fear of heights. So I make sure I pick an isle seat so I can't see out the window (no scenery for me please!) and so I can dodge to the restroom if I feel like I'm losing control. Plus having people on either side of me makes me feel smothered.

  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Try an Ativan at home to see how you react. I don't know anyone
    who has been "knocked out" by one. If you should feel too sleepy
    after trying one, then use a pill cutter and chop one in half. I
    often take half a pill when I know I am facing major stress. DDD
  5. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    Do you know Yoga? How about 'fear of flying hypnosis'?

    I am fearful every time I fly. I have had a few bumpy rides. Nothing like what you had with that landing though.

    To me, once I have taken off I am fine. Then I get white knuckled when we begin to land. So, for about 10 minutes of the entire flight I am super nervous.

    I wish I had a magic answer.
    How are the kids doing with the idea of flying again?
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Well, heck, I'd have been a wreck, too!
    Too bad it's not a longer flight ... can you get the Ativan in tablet form and bite it in half?

    I was in a plane that was hit by lightning. I was resting my head against the window and had my eyes closed, and the lightning hit the lightning rod on the wing right next to me and I could see the flash through my closed eyelids. It sounded like an explosion and felt like one, too. I thought we'd lost an engine and was all set to take a crash position ... but the stewardess was sitting up front with-a very calm expression on her face.
    At first there was a full min. of total silence. No one moved, spoke, breathed.
    Then people started to get their wits about them (or lose them, as the case may be) and were all nervously peering over the seats to see what the stewardess was doing or saying.
    As I waited for the inevitable nosedive, it didn't happen, except difficult child screamed loudly, "We're all going to die!" I shushed him--he was very upset, understandably, because we still didn't know what was going on.
    Finally the stewardess got the loudspeaker to work, and after several attempts, said, comically, "Can you hear me now?"
    She went on to explain what had happened and that there is a small, vertical lightning rod on ea wing for such an occasion.
    The smell made me nervous ... sort of an electrical burning.
    I needed a really strong glass of wine after I got off that plane!
    I take scrip medications for motion sickness and they make me sleepy, which achieves the same purpose as an anti-anxiety medication.

    Your chances of crummy landing gear two times in a row are pretty slim. Your chances of sitting on the runway and waiting for takeoff are pretty high, given that it's Christmastime. Sigh.
    Good luck.
  7. Star*

    Star* call 911

    :future: YOU WILL BE FINNNNNNNNNnnnnnnnnnnnnneeeeeeee
  8. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Practice your Lamazze breathing. Try an ativan at home prior to flying and see how your body reacts. You will know to either take MORE or LESS for the fligt. Personally, I prefer xanax as my anxiety drug. I take 1 .25mg tablet and that's just enough to take the edge off my anxiety. I do realize that dosage depends on size, but you can ask your DR or pharmacist what dose is correct for your weight. Tell him/her your desired level of calmness and he/she can suggest the correct dose. I hate when DR's prescribe a drug like that and never discuss with you whether you prefer to be knocked out or just calmed. Depending on the mg prescribed and the dose your dr suggested, yes, you could be knocked out. That's why you should try it at home first.

    Also, the lamazze breathing really helps me when I'm freaking out. You will be fine!
  9. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I can totally relate. I grew up flying as my dad worked for an airlines-used to love it.

    Then flying back from my grandpa's funeral we were about to touch down and had to go back in the air because there was a plane on the runway-apparently routine but scared me!

    Then flying out to San Francisco for a friend's wedding we had to taxi back to the gate because they arrested a guy who said he had a gun. He didn't but it still freaked me out. On the flight back we hit the worst turbulence I had ever experienced.

    Then on the way back from Florida (from adopting difficult child) we had another experience of going in for a landing but then having to go back up due to a plane on the runway.

    I'm terrified of flying but refuse not to. I tell myself that it is safer than driving. I thought about getting a Valium but instead I have a glass or two of wine. I know it might not be the best advice, for me though it definitely helps to calm me down.
  10. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    Thanks for your suggestions. I actually picked out a book "90 minutes in Heaven" at Barnes and Noble the other day, and came home and wrapped it up and put it under our tree..(husband had not bought me the first gift yet, he procrastinates) I am taking that book with- me on the plane. I will also have an ipod to listen to. I wish I had a dvd player, that would be a perfect distraction.
    My kids...well easy child told me the other day she is pretty nervous about flying again and difficult child told me he is not scared, he is excited and loves flying. The last time, he had to sit across from us, next to a stranger. I looked over at one point and difficult child had given this man his PSP to play in exchange for a huge bag of candy. never take candy from strangers? lol...i guess he figured he was pretty safe on the airplane. He loves to talk to and meet new people.
    My ativan is only 1 milligram, but my sister who works for an obgyn told me thats what they give patients before a biopsy. that makes me think it might make me pretty loopy. im trying to think of a good time of day to test the ativan when i am awake. im kind of afraid that difficult children teacher may call or i may have to go pick them up from school (we are having icy roads)..i guess i could try it on a weekend.
    for some reason when i do lamaze breathing, it quickly turns into hyperventilating and that is not a pretty picture for me.
    so much for "it can't happen twice" thanks for blowing that theory out of the water Sharon! lol
    We are flying on Christmas Day, and I am hoping and praying that it will be a good experience since alot of people dont fly on that day? I talked to a friend that flew on Thanksgiving day and she said it was like a ghost town at the airport.

    thanks for your suggestions guys!
  11. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    OK, instead of LaMaze, try slow, deliberate breathing.

    In through your nose, out through your mouth. Picture every muscle in your body relaxing, starting with your toes, working your way up.

    I do this when I am having a hard time falling asleep.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    You sound better already! :smile:

    I looked over at one point and difficult child had given this man his PSP to play in exchange for a huge bag of candy. never take candy from strangers? lol...


    My ativan is only 1 milligram, but my sister who works for an obgyn told me thats what they give patients before a biopsy.

    Huh? I was never offered anything when I got my biopsy last spring! Hmphf.

    We are flying on Christmas Day, and I am hoping and praying that it will be a good experience since alot of people dont fly on that day? I talked to a friend that flew on Thanksgiving day and she said it was like a ghost town at the airport.

    Hmm... I don't know, but if it's at night, I hope you have a clear night and can make a low approach over the suburbs to do some major league Christmas light viewing! I flew on the 4th of July once and the pilot tilted the plane so we could all look out the window at the fireworks in some town. Very cool. :smile: