When I was younger, I used to love flying. Traveling to new places, wondering what awaited me at the other end. Living in England, I loved how flights would consist of meals and free drinks and snacks as almost all flights would be international.
The journey to the airport and the rituals of checking in and waiting at the gate excited me. Seeing the people waiting for the flight, wondering where they were going. Curious to see who would be on my flight and whether I’d be stuck next to a nice person or a grumpy one.
In fact, I had even learnt to fly a little when I was younger, once piloting a small plane and laughing at how tight my parachute was wedged up my but crack, smashing my private parts.
But probably since 9/11 or sometime after that, my love of flying diminished and turned into fear.
Nowadays, thoughts appear in the days leading up to a flight.
Just worrying because I know the fear will be there.
These get worse on day of flight, and I find myself sinking back into my skin and not wanting to talk.
Thoughts of take off and something like a bird strike or missile shooting the plane down while climbing start to enter my mind.
I no longer look around wondering where people are going. I find myself questioning people’s reasons for being at the airport instead. Negativity.
Then I actually get into the plane. Claustrophobia kicks in. During take off the engine sound worries me and I think we are going to drop. Especially when it weans and wanes.
Until we level off, I think many thoughts and scenarios in my mind. Will the plane drop straight, nosedive, glide down – are we above water or ground. What about my family. Ugh.
Engine noises throughout flights disrupt me so I try to drown it out with music or noise canceling headphones. This is probably causing the people next to me to think I’m just some rude guy with loud music.
All the while my brain races with thoughts as to who is on the plane and what may happen to it.
Are we above water or land, will it be a hard landing, how do I get to my family in the time the plane falls. Will I pass out from lack of oxygen or will I feel the impact.
With 30 minutes left in the flight my mind begins to relax.
Then it all begins again, knowing I need to get home.