Fear of flying question
Dear Mental Healthy,
I’ve just come back from Spain after a little break with my wife. The flight out was fine but I found myself worrying all the time I was away about the flight back. I started to panic on the plane and now that I am home I feel I never want to fly again. We are due to go to America later this year and I don’t know how to tell my wife that I don’t think I can go. Is there anything I can do or tablets I can take to help?
Charles from Hereford
Our psychologist's reply
It sounds like, for some reason, you have developed a phobia to flying. Your initial worrying could be because of all sorts of reasons such as an increase in your general levels of stress. The focus of your worry, however, was on flying and it seems that you worked yourself up into a panic on the flight home. When we panic over something, we tend to want to avoid similar situations. This becomes a problem if it is an everyday situation you are scared of. The best way to tackle your fear is to fly again but prepare yourself by thinking about what it is about flying that scares you and finding ways of challenging your fears. For example, if you are scared of crashing, remind yourself that this very rarely happens. If you are frightened of noises on board, find out what these noises mean beforehand. Virgin airlines run a fear of flying course and publish a book called “The Fear of Flying”. They also have an iPhone application that addresses most fears. With regards to medication, you should talk to your GP. He or she will advise what is appropriate.