This account was written in 2010 and the writer has been flying frequently since.
Flying had always been like riding in a bus. Until I was 16 it was just something that you did every few months. Hop into a plane, fly somewhere, then back in the plane a few days or weeks later to fly home. Not a problem.
Then I didn’t fly anywhere for 8 years and when I did it was such a problem the stewards had to move me into first class away from the other passengers, and the entire flight a stewardess stayed with me in case I decided to jump out of the window. The return flight was well drugged but still somewhat of a problem.
Last year I decided that I wanted to take a year or two out to travel and see some of the world. The only problem being the flying. I put myself into “flying training” to try and figure out the problem. Some friends agreed to go up in a hot air balloon with me, which was no problem so that ruled out heights being the issue. I went into a precious gem mine which ruled out claustrophobia. A plane museum was harder, actually getting into a plane and walking around was tough even though I knew there was no way it would be taking off. I then tried a hypnotherapist, who did nothing at all to help. My doctor suggested a psychologist who specialised in flying phobias. He explained the mechanical aspect of flying and planes, was very interesting but still didn’t solve the problem.
At first I would be flying with a friend. The doctor gave me tranquillisers for the weeks leading up to the flight as well as pills that work within 15 seconds and could be taken every half hour. Getting on that plane was obviously harder then I thought it would be, all the extra drugs were gone and I completely lost about 4 days, from leaving to the airport until a few days after we’d been in Europe.
I managed to avoid flying by travelling on Eurostar, local trains, ferries and coach but the time was coming where I had a long haul flight coming up, all the way from London to Singapore. This time I was flying alone so couldn’t risk taking knock out drugs in case I ran into trouble. While in England, I was told about Jo and how she could help – I didn’t have much faith that anyone could help but it was worth a try.
We had one face-to-face session, then one over the phone. Afterwards, when I thought about flying I didn’t seem to get the physical panic reaction but my brain kept saying it can’t be this easy – flying is still going to be a problem.
Soon after working with Jo, another friend wanted me to fly with her to Germany for a couple of days and it seemed like a good test run. Normally, by a week before the flight I was already in trouble, in a complete state about flying. This time I was totally relaxed about it and even the night before, everything was cool and calm. I still warned the friend I was going with what could happen, and told her she must just be a bully, tell me to get in, sit down, shut up. We both waited with bated breath and nothing happened. The whole flight was great – very easy, relaxed, no drugs or stress. Coming back was even easier since I wasn’t expecting a problem. Even looked out of the window at the scenery.
The big test as far as I was concerned was flying to Singapore. This involved two flights, London – Dubai and Dubai – Singapore, as well as landing in Colombo. Landing and taking off were always the worst, and I was going to be travelling alone, without someone to be a bully or distraction.
The whole trip was so easy. No stress, caught the planes, taking off, flying and landing all straight forward. Even had a window seat for part of the trip and watched the world go by.
I can’t say just how amazed I am that something so simple and quick worked so well. It was such a massive problem and with my wanting to travel the world it had become something I couldn’t avoid any longer, so it became an even bigger problem in my eyes.
Jo has literally opened up a whole new world for me. Now that flying is so easy and totally drug free travel is simple again. I cannot thank or recommend her enough.
© Jo Cooper 2002-2017. All rights reserved