Conquering My Fear

Years ago, when I was an eighth grade student in middle school, I was given the opportunity to be a part of a trip that would go to Spain. After raising the required funds, I immediately signed up for the trip. There was a one-year period between the time I made the payment to the time I left for Spain. I hadn’t even thought about the flight until one of my uncles made the comment about how long it would be and the probable flight path. I began to worry more and more about what the flight would entail, but I tried to push the thoughts away. I probably have OCD, so I overanalyze everything and worry beyond comprehension.

When I expressed my concerns about flying with my parents, they reminded me that I’d flown before; once to Cozumel and once to New York City. Still, those were extremely quick flights as compared to the one I was going to be on. The flight from Dallas to Cozumel is on average two hours and five minutes, while the flight from Dallas to New York is on average two hours and 45 minutes. Not to mention, the flight paths for the two were not over the Atlantic Ocean, which we would be over for the majority of the time in the air. I was also a young child when I took those trips, so I hardly remembered them.

I began to become more and more nervous as the trip approached. It may sound ridiculous, but I legitimately thought the plane was going to go down. I finally convinced my parents to take me to see my doctor. He asked, “What do you expect to do?” I said, “Could you give me a prescription to calm my nerves for the flight?” He said, “Hell no. You’re 13 years old and that would be irresponsible on my part.” After that, my anxiety shot through the roof.

It was too late to cancel my trip as I would have lost more than $2000. I decided I was going to have to suck it up. In the weeks leading up to my departure, I constantly prayed. The night before the trip I did not sleep at all. My flight left at noon the next day and we would have a five-hour layover at Newark International Airport. I got to DFW at about 8:45 that morning just to make sure I would have plenty of time before I left. My friends who were going on the trip thought I was schizoid because of how worked up I was over flying. They didn’t understand that I was scared out of my mind. I looked up Continental’s safety record while waiting in the airport. According to the FAA, there is not a proper way to base the ranking of airlines. This did not help calm my fears!

When we boarded the plane I was a basket case. The flight eventually took off and we ascended safely. Because of an enormous amount of turbulence, the flight from Dallas to Newark took almost four hours. I was miserable the entire time. I was thankful once we finally landed. At the airport, we ate dinner and waited at our gate until it was time to board the plane for the seven and a half hour flight to Madrid.

We finally got on the plane, and I was shaking. My friends probably thought there was something wrong with me. The plane took off and to my amazement it was an incredibly smooth flight; I was asleep after one hour in the air. When I awoke we were already approaching the coast of Portugal.

Once we were on the ground, I thought about how overly dramatic I had been in the months preceding the trip. I had made it just fine and enjoyed seeing the historical parts of Spain. When I boarded the flight to head back to America, I was much more comfortable. As we taxied from the gate, I thought how much of a moron I'd been earlier. It seems that facing my fears, even though I wasn’t ready, was for the best! Since this trip, I have flown to several different places without any discomfort, so it goes to show that a fear of flying may prove to be temporary.

Category: Airplanes

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