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Just wanted to share my pride

Just wanted to share my pride, perhaps as a motivation for others. I attended Keith’s course in September after suffering badly on flights (two or three return trips a year) with anxiety for 25 years.

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I did a few short haul trips to put into practice what I’d learnt and went for it bigtime over Easter with a Heathrow – Los Angeles and return (yesterday lunchtime). Two 10+ hour flights and on the outward, my anxiety level at the airport and then on the plane before departure was very low, so I was already in good shape. The outward flight was pretty smooth except for a bit of turbulence over the desert in Nevada but this didn’t concern me. The great bit though was that I was able to enjoy an amazing holiday in California without having the return flight worry hanging over me the whole time like it had in the past. What a relief! I had with me a crib sheet I’d prepared with bullet points of the most important statements for me about flying and fear with a picture of a Virgin Atlantic 747 for good measure and then I had an music player with the four Flying without Fear CDs.

Listening to the section about the nature of fear was SO useful as it made perfect sense. I’d liked to have prepared better for the return flight as we drove up to Los Angeles that morning from San Diego and got delayed in traffic, so a mental note to never leave a potential situation like this on the day of any flight. We made it fine though and did the overnight flight to Heathrow. To be fair is was quite a bumpy flight in parts but the skills I’ve got now to deal with this were amazing and where in the old days I’d have been at a heightened state of anxiety, I focussed on the statements on my crib sheet and ignored any physical symptoms so as not to let them start affecting my mental well-being.

This worked perfectly. On both flights, I wrote down how I was finding it at different times in the flight, so that I can refer to it in future as encouraging evidence of how I was doing actually sat there. I know I’ve rambled on a bit, but I’m so chuffed about doing this that I wanted to share it. I’d been using Valium for flights of even one hour as a (ill conceived) coping mechanism so to be sat here (in the middle of the night due to jet lag!) enthusing about my flight experiences is a great feeling.

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