Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Dissection of an irrational fear

Last week I travelled to Sydney for a work conference, which meant I had to fly. As I mentioned before, I have a fear of flying. I know my fear is completely irrational and even though the flight to Sydney is only about 1hr 20mins, it feels like forever when your heartbeat is high and your blood pressure sky rocketing.

This particular journey and my reaction to the heavy turbulence on approach really proved to me how stupid my fear of flying really is. You see, my nervousness usually starts the day before the flight and lasts right up until the pilot instructs people to return to their seats as the plane has started its descent. Once the plane is on approach, I relax completely and am no longer a nervous wreck, even though we’re still thousands of feet off the ground.

Tuesday night in Sydney was very rainy thanks to some monster cloud cover and our 20min descent to land was extremely bumpy. We bumped up and down and were buffeted left to right; the runway was drenched and we didn’t clear the clouds and see the runway until we were almost on the ground.

Some of my fellow passengers were looking out the windows, while others looked a little uncomfortable. What was I doing? I was packing up my reading material, putting on my lipstick and just generally having a good time, completely relaxed.

It is ridiculous that I can be nervous during a smooth take off and flight, but am totally calm during landing, even the bumpy ones. I can’t find a logical reason for this and am finding that realising my fear is stupid and nonsensical is helping me to slowly change my attitude to flying.

There is hope for me yet and maybe soon I can move on to tackling my fear of spiders, heights, or pantihose with ladders.

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