My boyfriend of 13 years has a VERY severe fear of flying, he hasn't flown since 1999. We live in San Diego but I have family in Seattle and he would rather take a 22 hour drive than a 3 hour flight up there. In the past he has left me at the airport many times, but the last flight I remember him actually goin on with me, he was a wreck. Pale face, sweaty palms, wide eyed, heart racing... I felt really bad for him, I'm sure it was 3 hours of torture, I thought he was going to break my hand when we were landing. Since then, he has not flown. Even being close to an airport gives him an upset stomach. I fly up to WA all the time so see my family and he gets so nervous for when I fly, he freaks out if I forget to call him when I land to tell him that I'm ok.
Here's the problem-
I have a holiday work function that is very important that I go to, and he is really trying to be supportive and come with me. He has committed to coming and flying but now that it in in less than 2 weeks, the flight is really starting to make him nervous. He is constantly looking up flight statistics and how and why they crash. He sent me a statistic that said if the same person boarded a random plane once a day, the statistics show it would take 22,000 flights before one was likely to have a problem. To me that seems like a very good statistic, I doubt I will fly 22,000 times in my lifetime, but to him that stated that there was THAT chance for it to crash. He looks at it complete irrationally. I tell him that he is more likely to crash in a car than in a plane, but he says "at least it's already on the ground and you don't go plumeting to the ground in a firey explosion."
So for our (hopeful) flight he got a prescription of Xanex, hopefully that helps but he says that he's taken meds before a flight before and the fear cut right through it. What I need advice on is how can I be supportive? Does he need to hear me repeat the positive statistics for all his negative ones? Should I display my confidence in planes and hopefully it will calm him? Do I ignore his phobia so he sees that it is irrational? HELP!
We have spent many family holidays and occasions apart for this reason.
Hi SD, I also have a fear of flying BUT I fly almost every week for my job. I gave up on therapy for this and take xanax now too, that's the only time I take it. I take anywhere from .5 to 1.0 depending on how long the flights that day are (2 one hour flights, I take .5 (one time), cross country I take 1.0). I used to take much more but I've been in therapy for depression and I think this is helping my fear of flying too.
If he's never taken xanax before, have him try it at home to make sure he's okay with the drug and has no sever effects. I totally sympathize with him, I used to hold on to the armrests every minute and would never relax. I've also been told that you have a 1 in 67 chance of dying in a car crash in your life and a 1 in 5 million chance of dying in a plane crash, but it doesn't matter to those with this irrational fear.
While it is irrational fear, it is real to those who suffer from anxiety, so do not 'ignore' it, but do be supportive as it does help. My anxiety manifests itself as a sort of a claustraphobic feeling, job interviews, flying, etc., situations in which I feel I can't escape from. Although I never had fear of the plane crashing. The Xanax will help, while his brain will still be fearful, the Xanax takes the edge off the racing heart and other physical conditions. I had really bad anxiety but have learned to control it for the most part. Knowing what you're dealing with and overcoming it takes practice. If he knows he's suffering from anxiety, that's the first step, he has to work on overcoming his irrational thoughts, that takes time.
I'm not trying to be funny or anything or suggest mixing drugs and alcohol, perhaps you should read up on Xanax for your own good, but perhaps a couple of drinks along with the Xanax before he gets on the plane? For myself, I have no problems with a few drinks first when I fly. My goal while getting on the plane is to fall asleep ASAP. While Xanax certainly takes the edge off, alcohol pretty much knocks out any onset of anxiety for me. If during the flight he gets fearful, placing like a half pill of Xanax under the tongue allows it to be absorbed more quickly, this is how I take it anymore for the most part. Just taking it this way, knowing it's absorbed more quickly, is calming for me even though I know that it hasn't kicked in yet. Good luck!
Oh I did forget to mention that he should take it about an hour before the flight so it's working before the flight takes off, I've never tried placing it under the tongue. And I'd be afraid of mixing drugs and alcohol... I'd recommend using one or the other.
start with .5 xanax about an hour before the flight. If once you get on the plane, he is visibly freaking, have him take another .5. He should then just be able to fall asleep on the flight.
I have a tremendous fear of flying as well, but this worked for me. My best friend's family is in TX and she is in NJ. Last time she went out there, she completely psyched herself out and ended up driving home. Look up and see if you can get a fear of flying book from Amazom that he can peruse before you guys go-it mught help. If this doesn't, then I suggest after your trip, whether he goes or not, that we finds someone to talk to about his anxiety.
We are back from our trip with great success! Taking .25 at a time of Xanex he had one the morning of the flight, one on the way to the airport, one as we boarded and one about 1/2 way through the 3 hour flight. Oh yeah, he also had a couple Jack and Coke's while in the air. That seemed like a good recipe to ease his anxiety. Honestly, I was prepared for him to leave me at the airport like he has done before, but after 8 years of not flying, he actually did it! I am so proud of him, not to say we had a GREAT time too! Totally worth it.