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Fear of Flying? Anyone else?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Kimka83, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. Kimka83

    Kimka83 SDN Donor
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    Hey guys,
    So I have a few interviews lined up this month, and of course I have to fly. The bad news . . . I hate flying. I know that it is the safest form of travel, I know the odds, but when I am up there in the air, my heart just won't stop pounding. I cry, and shake, and worry about every little sound and sinking feeling. But of course, I have to fly. And I do fly, but I am miserable. Does anyone else have this problem? What works for you guys to calm the flying worries? Thanks, and happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!
     
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  3. tacrum43

    tacrum43 Behold the mighty echidna
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    Hey Kim,

    Flying is not my favorite form of transportation either. I used to fear every little movement or noise in a plane too, but after learning more about how planes fly (see the thread below, where I previously posted a link to a site I found helpful), it helped me to understand what was happening and now I'm not so nervous.

    By the way, you will definitely be acquiring the frequent flyer miles from the looks of your app.

    Check out this thread:

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=101740
     
  4. MrBurns10

    MrBurns10 Excellent, Smithers
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    I'm right there with you on this one; in fact, I considered starting a thread about this when interviews began, but alas, never did. My nerves are always worse the night before and the day of the flight...once we've been in the air for five or ten minutes, then I tend to relax a bit more. Here are some things that have really helped me:

    -strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you; I fly Southwest a lot, so I get to pick my seat; I really don't care where I sit (aisle, middle, or window), so I honestly pick my seat based on whether I think the person already sitting there looks friendly and willing to have a conversation. This helps a lot, and when you bring humor into the situation (like, admitting to them you don't like flying and then laughing about it) it can really help
    -bring interesting stuff to do...not homework, not applications, but stuff you think you'll enjoy. A good book or a laptop to watch a movie on help a lot. And music too, so if you opt for a book bring along an mp3 or cd player
    -when you start feeling nervous while you're in the air, look around you. I freak out at the smallest of strange noises or smells and the lighest amount of turbulence. So when you freak out, just take a look around you, at the flight attendants and at the other passengers. If they're all cool and calm, then most likely it's not anything to be concerned about. This is especially helpful before the flight takes off and you smell gas or hear some roaring sound...I freak out initially, but looking at the flight attendants and knowing they're not freaking out too tells me it's probably normal (but okay, that doesn't always help as much as it should :)).
    -and finally, if you start to freak out just take deep breaths and tell yourself over and over again that you can handle the anxiety, that it's okay to feel that way, and that by flying you're getting over your fear one step at a time.

    It was pretty tough at first, but after a few plane flights it got much easier. I still get really nervous and I still don't like flying, but I'm handling it better than I used to. You'll be fine!!! Just keep reminding yourself why you're going. Best of luck to you. I know it can be really difficult, but you'll do great :)
     
  5. Indryd

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    Ok, my interview at Hopkins was my first time flying...ever! So I was sooo freaked out. I have a wife and daughter and I kept having flashes of what their life would be like if I died in a plane crash, etc.

    My suggestion: Valium. I took 50 mg about an hour before takeoff, while I waited in the terminal. If you are absolutely freaked out about flying (I was having a full-fledged panic attack, sweats, tunnelvision, shakes, palp, hyperventilating, etc) a good dose of valium before the flight can never hurt, as long as you ONLY take it for flying and as long as you have a good 12 hours between your dose and your interview, you'll be flyin' high.

    However, after I didn't die from my first flight, I was fine. Also, try JetBlue, the little tvs in the back of the chairs with 36 channels of directtv were awesome. If there is no one next to you (I had 3 seats to myself!) you can multi-task, switching your headphones to whatever tv has no commercials. I wathced 3 shows at once and was having so much fun watching the video for one show with audio from another and such that I hardly noticed the time fly by.
     
  6. jackets5

    jackets5 Senior Member
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    while i have no issues with flying my grandmother does. Her doctor gives her some valium or something like that to really calm her down and take away the anxiety. Ask your doctor about it if you really get that anxious about flying

     
  7. FictionalGirl

    FictionalGirl Senior Member
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    Oh, I had the same problem. *HUG* I'm such a bad flyer that as soon as I book a flight, even a month before i have nightmares, i get ill, i'm just overcome with fear its really awful. Its gotten worse and worse since I was a kid, but i had to fly to new york for interviews (I live in Az). So I started reading an article by a united pilot who talks about flying, and I got a prescrip for Xanax to take the edge off the day of the flight. I took a half a pill before the flight and it helped a little. but what really helped... it didn't fix it granted, but before i couldn't even call an airline for a ticket without almost throwing up ... was Hypnosis. It really helps and if you go to someone who makes a session recording , listen to it every day before the flight. I still have the fear but its better and i'm going to go in for another session before my next interview. Give it a chance. Good luck!

    www.flyingfearless.com

    will get you to the website that talks about flying safety, the united pilot marilyn tells you about the different things to expect while flying and you can buy a book that tells you about it too from her... SO helpful. everything from why it feels like the plane drops a little after takeoff, to why its okay to be hit by lightening (happened to me once in a plane, not a single problem), and all the other stuff.
     
  8. Jon Davis

    Jon Davis I killed the bank.
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    Smoke some bud, you'll chill out for sure. :D

    Seriously, do something that will distract you from focusing on your fears. Bring music, read a book, try sleeping. I'm sure with time you will find that your fear is baseless and it will subside. Just go on the plane and tough it out. It will work out with time. In addition, resorting to medication, I think, is unnecessary. Medicating your fears away aren't going to get rid of them. You have to attack them at the root and destroy them entirely. The best way is to deal with it head on. Otherwise, you will become a slave to meds when you fly.

    Just my 2 cents. Now with inflation, its worth 1.5 cents.
     
  9. emsa5804

    emsa5804 Junior Member
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  10. lynn42

    lynn42 Senior Member
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    I feel for you!!!! I get the same way. I feel so sorry for the poor folks that sit next to me. . . I always reach for their arms when the plane starts to enter rough air. :laugh: I'm sure my neighbor buddies LOVE me. Any way, I had the pleasure of sitting next to a Delta piolot. I told him of my fears and asked him how likely it would be for us to crash (My fears are of crashing. . . not sure about yours). He assured me it is VERY difficult for the piolot to lose control of the jet because most of it is automatic. If a problem occurs, the system on the plane automatically fixes it. The piolot basically only does the landing and take-off. Also the autopiolot system has a ton of back-up. Let's say for example an engine blows. Well, what do you know, there is another one to take its place! :thumbup: Also, turbulence is not a problem at all. Although it is a little scary to be in, it is PERFECTLY safe!!! ;) The wings aren't rigid, they are flexible and move with the wind. You need to tell yourself that flying is perfectly safe and there is NOTHING to worry about. Fear is a psychological phenomina. Tell yourself you are getting over that fear! Meditate if you have to. Well, I'll tell you what, hearing this from the piolot of 747's made me feel a lot better about flying. I hope it does the same for you!

    FYI-- You need to do whatever it takes to calm yourself down. I would put in earplugs to mask the sound of the engines (a constant reminder of being in a plane). I would also put on an eye mask so you can't see the rows of people in front of you (another reminder you are thousands of feet above the land). Then try to relax and sleep through the trip. Drink herbal tea that calms the mind. NO CAFFEINE!!!!! Don't drink any soda or "pop" (call it what you like) or any coffee for that matter 48 hrs before your flight. You don't want to contribute to your anxiety. I sometimes take Nyquil to sleep if my interview is NOT the next morning after the flight. You need to keep your mind occupied so you don't focus on your fear. Read a book, listen to music, prepare for your interview, talk to your neighbor, or even eat. Oh ya, DO NOT SIT BY THE WINDOW!! First of all, it is freezing over there and you get to see the belovid ground way below you. Scary. If the plane turns, you really get to see the ground. I always try to sit next to the aisle. :thumbup: Those are all the tactics I use to calm myself before and during a flight. I hope it calms your fears about flying. I wish you the best of luck with interviews and remember, the flights will be worth it in the end!!! :oops:
     
  11. DrHuang

    DrHuang SDN Donor
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    yeah, i hate flying too...scared to death about it sometimes but i usually just try and sleep it out...either i dont sleep the day before so im really tired and knock out or just take some sleeping pills...man i hate flying!
     
  12. Herman Bloom

    Herman Bloom Member
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    Guys,

    Do you have any idea how safe you are in an airplane compared to driving around in your car, which you do EVERY DAY!? Sorry, but it really miffs me when I hear people (not you guys necessarily) cry about flying, then get in their cars and drive 90 MPH. Work in an ER for a bit and tell me how you feel.

    Worry about your car, not about flying in the safest system ever designed and implemented, in an airplane rigorously maintained by a TEAM of diligent mechanics, and crewed by two very capable and careful professional pilots.

    Drive safe, and don't worry about flying. At the bottom of it, the fear stems from a) unfamiliarity with the sounds, sights, and sensations of flying, b) the total relinquishing of control to two strangers in the cockpit, and, especially, c) the extreme sensationalism cultured by the media with regards to flying. I once saw a "breaking news" report inturrupt a simpsons episode (Simpsons!) telling of an airplane (a corporate jet, no less) that had cut a taxiway corner a bit too tight and sunk a wheel in the wet grass. Flying "disasters" like that are big business for the news organizations. Word to the wise: never give any credibility whatsoever to the reports you see on the news involving airplanes. They are inevitably rife with inaccuracies and downright exaggerations, even among the "experts" whose opinions they solicit.

    Rant over. Fly/Drive safe.
     
  13. fiddler

    fiddler Senior Member
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    I have fear of heights but I LOVE flying. If I had perfect vision I probably would have joined the USAF to fly jets.

    I just have problems looking down 3 floors, uggghhh!

    fiddler
     
  14. SuzieQ3417

    SuzieQ3417 Senior Member
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    I definitely have a greater fear of heights than of flying. My mom showed me a picture yesterday of this new walkway they are building over the Grand Canyon. Definitely wouldn't be able to step onto that thing.
    http://www.core77.com/corehome/2005/09/grand-canyon-walkway-project.html

    As for flying, I second the advice of not looking out the window if you are a nervous...it usually makes it worse. For me, it is completely about giving up control. If I start to get anxious because the plane is hitting turbulence or it felt like we just dropped suddenly, I remind myself of how much safer I am up in the air than on the ground, and how the people in the cockpit probably have decades of flying experience.
     
  15. gotgame83

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    I have never been in a plane before. Me and my trusty car have been on many road trips. I dont think i would have a problem flying i could actualy wear a parachute and bail out if something was wrong. I know thats not the case so i guess i just dont like not having any control, kind of like this damn application process! I think i am going to have to get over this fear though because flying is just so much faster...
     
  16. fiddler

    fiddler Senior Member
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    That has got to be the scariest looking thing I have ever seen. The thing is completely transparent!

    fiddler
     
  17. LT2

    LT2 Senior Member
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    sweaty palms, hyperventilating and holding a bottle of xanax is how i board every plane. i hate flying!!!! :scared:
     
  18. MoosePilot

    MoosePilot Y Bombardier
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    I'm a military airlift pilot with about 2900 logged hours in various military airplanes. We can't log time when we're passengers, which I've had a bunch of, too. That doesn't count sim time, either, which I've had enough of to grow sick of the fancy computer games we have to practice emergencies and such in... :laugh:

    Trust me, if you're flying a major airline your pilot has an incredible amount of training and experience. A lot of my peers want to fly for the airlines. This point in my military career is the first chance I'd have to get hired by a major airline and I could fly a big plane in my sleep. I've trained for every conceivable emergency and I'd be the newest pilot you'd fly with on an airline.

    A pilot isn't going to just "lose control". A plane is very controlled. Turbulence is just like driving over bumpy road and not anything to be afraid of. Fasten your seat belt and you'll be fine (if you're easily airsick, you might get sick, but that's the worst that will happen to you).

    If you have any questions about flying, I'd be more than happy to answer them if it will make you feel better.
     
  19. LT2

    LT2 Senior Member
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    i'm not worried about the pilot being inexperienced, i'm worried about something in the plane malfunctioning or breaking in flight... :oops:
     
  20. Pretty POHA

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    I won't second the smoking business. Paranoia doesn't help much in these situations!! *wink*
     
  21. Pretty POHA

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    I love flying... and I'm deathly afraid of falling off the face of the earth. Irrational, I know.
    Anyway, the best way I calm any fears that I (used to) have before flying (and/or any "fear of death experience") is that I can look back on the things I've done and the things I'm doing and know that I'm putting my best foot forward at all times... it helps to really live your life this way-- living with no regrets... and it dramatically decreases your (or my) fears of dying... Know that you're doing the best you can --in the past-- now, and in your future... and be confident that you're doing what you need to do in order to be who you want to be. And flying is one of those independent steps necessary to going to the very best school out there for you. Worst case scenario: plane crashes, you die, and people remember you and respect you and know you were an awesome person. Best case scenario (and a million times more likely) is that you get where you want to go without the stress of driving, time constraints, gas prices, etc., and you find at the end of your travels a school that best suites your needs... (or if you're flying to a vacation, the end of your travels is an incredibly rewarding, well needed escape from the grind)... you get what I mean... I hope!
     
  22. indo

    indo Feed me a stray cat
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    If you flew as many hours as you drive you would've already been killed in a plane crash.
     
  23. Herman Bloom

    Herman Bloom Member
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    Source? So your contention would imply that most career airline pilots -- many of whom spend nearly equal amounts of time in the cockpit as they do driving a car -- will die in an airplane crash before it's all over?

    And even if that statistic was true, it is irrelevant. You need to compare miles traveled to determine which is safer. After all, if you're not going to fly a certain route, you're going to have to drive it.
     
  24. silas2642

    silas2642 silas2642
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    If I were you, I'd sedate myself. Take a couple Benadryl, or a valium, that is assuming you're flying in the day before the interview and not the day of. It's not like you don't have enough to worry about without fearing that your plane is going to crash into a large mountain.
     
  25. MoosePilot

    MoosePilot Y Bombardier
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    Ah. Well, you're seeing the mindset of pilots. An aircraft malfunction is just another chance for a pilot to use his superior training :laugh:

    Stuff that breaks isn't that big a deal. Maintenance on airlines is heavily regulated, which prevents most anything super catastrophic, like a wing falling off. Anything other than large important parts of the airplane falling off, we can handle.
     
  26. unfrozencaveman

    unfrozencaveman not a dude
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    Read Freakonomics- I think hour for hour, flying and driving are the same- very very very low.

    As for that Grand Canyon walkway- how did they even build that thing?? And why??!!
     
  27. dinesh

    dinesh Senior Member
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    It's the falling part I am scared of.
     
  28. MoosePilot

    MoosePilot Y Bombardier
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    Physics:

    Falling is counteracted by the normal force of the seat against your buttocks :laugh:
     
  29. mcnugget

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    Flying is alot of fun!!! But I do have many family members who refuse to get on a plane.

    About the malfunctions on airplanes: They actually occur more often than we know. A pilot can fly a twin engine plane for several hours even after BOTH engines have gone out. Small malfunctions occur often.
     

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