Fear of Flying
Q: My anxiety is for air travel. What could cause me to be afraid of flying?
A: Fear of flying is mainly anticipatory anxiety – active worry about the future In our minds, we “ride the time machine”, boarding the airplane that will transport us to our destination; but then we become catastrophically afraid. We may become caught up with any or all of seven different anxieties:
- When the flight attendant turns that wheel and seals the plane, many people with this phobia feel trapped.
- The plane completes its leisurely taxiing tour of the airport and is cleared for takeoff. Suddenly, the huge jet engines are gunned and roaring at speeds of ninety miles an hour, and many people’s panicky feelings go right through the roof.
- While the plane is in flight, many fearful flyers become acutely anxious about squeezing through to the aisle and the long walk to the tiny bathroom. How often they plead with Mother Nature, “If only I can hold it til we land!”
- Glancing out the window and viewing the landscape below from seven miles up in the sky.
- The sharp, loud, mechanical thud of the emerging landing gear spikes a number of people’s anxiety.
- Finally, landing and feeling trapped by the crush of people between you – the really really frightened person – and the exit.