Fear of Flying and Doing it Anyway

It must sound crazy to say that I am afraid of flying and severely dislike it when I fly for work 3-4 times a month. How did I get myself into this situation? I knowingly took a job that required me to fly often and travel away from my family. Ugh. What was I thinking? I spend almost the entire time I’m on the plane in fear and gripped with anxiety. I literally set a timer to track and countdown every minute that we are on the plane. I feel that tracking it helps me to manage the fear a little better because I have a defined period in which the fear can recede until I board the next plane. I think part of the reason I ended up in this situation is that I really wanted to escape my old job. I was miserable there because I was practically working 24 hours a day/7 days a week and had a very demanding boss. I felt like I wasn’t able to relax ever before the next task would be piled on top of me. I also was very intrigued by the new job offer even though it required travel since it was a perfect match to my skills and education. It offered a chance for a career pivot in my early 40’s that could mean more opportunity for my family. I think I was just hoping that I could hack it and the travel wouldn’t get me too down. I hoped that my employer was over estimating the amount of travel needed in a post-COVID world. I also was bored of sitting in the house for 2 plus years from the pandemic and remote work. The thought of learning about and seeing new places intrigued me. I always had a desire and a curiosity to travel even though a fear of flying and a tight budget held me back. I also can blame my mother for instilling a very irrational and outsized fear of flying into my psyche. She has only flown one time that I’m aware of (in the 1980’s) and always voices her fears every time my sisters or I mention an upcoming flight. My dad on the other hand has flown all over the United States and Europe for business and to return to his homeland in Italy. He doesn’t seem to have a fear. I’ve always tried to be more like him when it comes to travel and to embody his sense of adventure more. Every jostle and bump on the plane ride sends my anxiety and heart rate soaring. I look around and others seem calm. Will I ever adjust? Are there things I can do to feel better about flying? Or will I always be a white knuckle flyer? Should I see a doctor about anti-anxiety medicines to relieve my angst. Is boredom contributing to my fear of flying. Setting my phone on Airplane mode is kind of a drag. Perhaps I need to get my headphone situation set up and pay for WiFi in flight so I’m not as bored or focused on every little sound or jostle on the aircraft. I’ve also noticed for the first time that I feel a little nauseous from motion sickness on the plane. That never happened to me when I was younger but seems to be a trend now. Well anyway, I think writing all this down has helped me tremendously on today’s flight. Now only another 53 minutes until we land.

It’s always scary flying over Lake Michigan

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