I’m a nervous flyer.
I haven’t always been.
In fact, in the beginning, when I was a child and teenager I loved it.
I’m not sure when exactly the change began to happen since its been kind of gradual.
I’m not sure why either.
I suppose I’ve been on some truly rough flights over the years. One of those being kind of traumatizing.
Or perhaps it’s because the older I get the more I think about mortality.
Death causes me great anxiety.
The past year or so I’ve been having mini panic attacks about it, sometimes frequently. I attribute the beginning of those attacks to following the Brittany Maynard story. I believe in someone’s right to die with dignity, I just can’t imagine choosing it.
Ever since she ended her life, and my anxiety about death began, my fear of flying has become significantly worst. Every time I get on a plane I’m struggling more and more to hold it together.
The entire time I’m on a plane I’m evaluating the sounds of the engines, my fingers are griping the seat every time the plane moves. If it gains or loses altitude I panic and wonder what’s wrong. And if there is turbulence I’m a wreck. It’s basically a flight long panic attack.
Last Tuesday Jeff decided to drive the 22 hours to Labrador City to spend a week with his family. A day later Jeffs family invited me to join them for the weekend. They booked me a flight for Friday after work (thanks Mark). I’d never been to Lab City before, and I love Jeffs family, so I was excited. But that nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach grew. Id have to get on a plane. Alone. With no one to distract me or hold my hand.
I wasn’t sure how I would survive the two flights to get there. So, I acquired some Ativan, just in case I needed it.
I hadn’t planned to take a pill. Unless I got on the plan and the panic consumed me and I had no other alternative. But, work was super busy, I was stressed the entire day. I never left work on time, and was convinced I would miss my flight. By the time I made it through security (after being randomly selected for a wand scan and a trip through the full body scanner) I was just a little on edge. And no amount of breaths could make it go away.
So I stuck the little pill under my tongue and prayed it worked and that I wouldn’t have any terrible side effects.
I’m writing this from the plane. So the verdict is still out until my second flight lands. But so far so good. The thoughts about why the plane is bouncing around, or losing or gaining altitude are still there, but no feelings of my stomach in my throat.
In the past I would never have been able to sit here and concentrate on writing this. And I never would have been able to take a minute to enjoy watching as we flew over Cow Head and Shallow Bay.
Look at those sandy beaches, too bad the water is never warm.
Update: Landing in Goose Bay was a piece of cake. Taking off out of there wasn’t too bad either. I had a few nervous moments, but they were mild compared to what they would have been. I made it the entire way to Wabush without any real moments of anxiety and it was such a relief.