A fear of flying is very common, but I normally go on a few holidays per year and have never experienced any apprehension about the flight. However, since I hit rock bottom, basically everything has been challenging for me and I knew my next time flying would come drenched in anxiety. I was not wrong.
I had to get up at four in the morning, to travel to the airport and as soon as I woke up, I felt all the physical symptoms I experience rapidly take over my body. It was so overwhelming and I began to catastrophize – I pictured myself having a panic attack on the plane being desperate to get off. I understand that a panic attack will not kill me, it’ll be unpleasant and it will pass but the fear of it happening terrifies me which makes me forget these things. When I’m consumed with so much anxiety, I don’t think logically even though I recognise that I am being irrational.
Luckily my dad forced me to go to the airport and reiterated that I could always come back home – if I felt that I really couldn’t do it. It must have been divine intervention that the airport was Prestwick, a small and quiet airport, because it put me at ease. I kept chatting to my friends throughout security, waiting in the lounge and boarding – before I knew it I was on the dreaded plane. Distracting myself was the best thing I could’ve done.
Beforehand, I had pictured myself freaking out as the plane took off but instead I ate some sweets and chatted and I was fine. Throughout the flight, my amazing friend talked to me, kept me distracted with apps and gossip and before I knew it, the flight was over. I was immensely proud of myself for flying and I still am. It feels like a milestone in my recovery, as it was a goal that was set so high, that I felt that I would never be able to achieve it.
Throughout the holiday, I completely forgot about having to fly home, until the last night and the morning of, but I got through it quite easily. I was so close to not going on holiday because I felt so ill, but I am so glad that I did it. None of my irrational thoughts came into fruition and I proved to myself how strong I am. I made great progress in my recovery with this challenge and I’d like to thank my friends and family for their help.
It will probably take me a few flights to find flying normal again but I feel so much more confident about the next time. Facing your fears is never a comfortable experience, you might want to not attempt it, but it is essential for your recovery. Personally, I didn’t feel ready to face this fear and I did it anyway and it went so well. Set challenges and you might just surprise yourself! It is inevitable that you will feel uneasy about doing something you don’t want to do, but it won’t be as bad as you think nor will it harm you. To get your life back from the clutches of mental illness, you need to fight and push yourself! Recovery is possible and the achievement of flying has demonstrated to me that I can do anything.
NOTHING CHANGES IF NOTHING CHANGES