Monday, February 11

On flying to New York.

[Polaroid SX-70 Alpha 1 SE + PX70 Cool film]
As most of you know, we traveled to New York City at the end of last year. While I was very excited about the trip, I was absolutely terrified about flying again. It had been around four years since I had set foot on an airplane. And I had no idea what to expect. Part of me pictured it being a breeze, but another part of me pictured a lot of worst case scenarios.

It's hard for me to even say what I was so worried about since I'm not so afraid of actually being in the air. It's all the other bullshit that gets my anxiety level up. So many what ifs...

The day before we were scheduled to leave, I was okay but definitely nervous. My anxiety manifests very physically a lot of the time and I had that feeling of my blood coursing way too rapidly through my body. I met with my therapist and she asked me what some of my worst case scenarios were. I mentioned a few things and one of them was that I would be so nervous at the airport that I wouldn't be able to get on the plane. Her advice was just to make the decision to get on the plane. There. Done. Don't have to think about whether or not I am going to make it on the plane, because that decision has been made. And I have to admit that the advice really helped. I made the decision and that meant my brain could stop obsessing about that particular thing. Which was a pretty big thing.

This isn't to say that I was no longer anxious but having a calmer mind certainly brought some relief. That evening, my body took over. I spent a good part of the evening shaking which is not the most pleasant thing. It's like, hello, my head feels pretty calm but the body, not so much. I could barely eat dinner and then I threw up at bedtime. That's a new one for me. I had to take a pill to help me to sleep because of the body stuff so I did get some sleep. We had to be up at 4:30 or so and of course I woke up at 2:30, but that was no surprise. Crazy anxiety or no, I tend to wake well before my alarm when we are set to travel in the morning. 

I found that my head still felt surprisingly calm. There was no worry about whether or not I was going to make it to the airport. Make it on the airplane. That shit had already been decided. The shaking though, that was still going on and was not fun. I followed my usual morning routine. A glass of kefir. A cup of tea. The internet. I managed to choke down a piece of toast. The shaking still hadn't subsided so went ahead and took one of my pills and 40 minutes later, I was fine. Packed the last few things, loaded up the car and off we went. No panic. No tears. No stomach issues.

I have to add the the pills I take for such situations are a very low dose so I didn't feel ultra calm because I was high as a kite. It's just enough to take the edge off and make my body calm the fuck down. And I am totally okay with that. Some people like to get looped on pills, but I am not one of those people. It makes me too uncomfortable.

As boarding time approached, I got a little anxious again, but I made it on the plane. Right as they announced boarding, I went to the bathroom and was in there long enough that I ended up being in the last group getting on the plane. I had sent Will ahead with the suitcase so we'd be sure to get a spot for it. When I finally made it to our row, I asked him if he thought I had decided not to get on the plane. He laughed and said it hadn't really crossed his mind.

Since we were on the side with only two seats, I asked him if I could take the window seat. First time I've sat in a window seat in like a decade. (Even before I stopped flying, I had some anxiety and always took an aisle seat.) And I was actually excited. Excited to be on an airplane. And looking out the window. And whoa, I could even purchase WiFi so I could tweet and send email from way up high in the sky. I have to admit that kept me very entertained. 

We got lucky that day and had no delays or anything crazy happen. I was a little nervous about eating  during our layover, but I managed to get down half of a sandwich and survived. On our next flight, we ended up with a whole row to ourselves so Will stretched out over two of the seats and I was content with my window view. That's when I took the photo above. A total cliche, I know, but I can't tell you how much it meant to me to take that picture. I felt like a little kid all over again, so excited about flying and looking out the window. It was a nice feeling.

We flew into Newark and because I have to plan things out, I already knew how we were going to get to our rented apartment. Took the airport train to New Jersey Transit which took us right to Penn Station. It was so easy and it made me feel better about our return trip, knowing that getting back out to the airport wouldn't be a big hassel.

So yay, I survived flying across the country! And I know there are so many things that can go wrong and might go wrong if I fly again, but I am confident that I can probably manage okay for the most part. And that fact that I am flying again, well, it makes me feel like another world has opened for me. It's feels very liberating.

I apologize for such a long post with too many details, but I needed to do this for myself. I have a million places that I want to travel, but I don't know when all these travel dreams will come true so I need a reminder that flying isn't so bad after all. That I can do it.

Will, on the other hand, not such a fan of flying. When we were in the car, driving home from the airport, he said, "I'm never flying again."

[Note to self: reading a good book totally calms me down. Traveling with a Kindle saves a lot of space. BUT, hello, you have to turn the damn thing off once the airplane leaves the gate so next time take a real book with you or buy a magazine for take off and landing.]

1 comment:

  1. *hugs* I'm glad you made it to New York and made it on the plane. Anxiety is something that I struggle with too. I really like what your therapist said about just making the decision to do it. It's something I've been doing a lot of lately. :)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.