Claustrophobic flyer

Old Jun 25, 18, 1:38 pm
  #31  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 1
Flying in October from US to UK

Wow, I am amazed how many have the same issue as I. My worst experience was being on the tarmac in August for 2 1/2 hours with no air conditioning around 2004 or so. I managed it well due to a child and his mother on their first flight sitting next to me. Outwardly, I was super positive. Inwardly, I thought that I was going to die. One other flight to Phoenix for business, I thought that I was having a heart attack mid-flight. I suddenly couldnít breathe and was super hot. I started thinking about my business presentation that I was making the next day and realized two minutes later that I was just anxious.
On a very positive note, I now fly Southwest domestically whenever possible, tell them in advance about my issue, and get a pre-boarding pass. They assure me that this is a true issue. I always sit near the front in an aisle seat on the side where I cannot see the door open or close. It really helps. On my past two flights, I decided to just do a regular board and was fine. I even managed to not freak out when the doors didnít open for a few minutes with everyone standing. I do have to admit that my pulse rate went up a bit, but not like the past.
I am going on my first overseas flight to Scotland in October. I am going to most likely fly Southwest to the location that I board internationally. Does anyone suggest international airlines that handle claustrophobia better. I even have been looking at the Queen Mary 2 but realized that I am being ridiculous. One final note, my doctor told me to reach out acweekmbefore my flight for meds.
Koolkurtz is offline  
Old Aug 5, 18, 6:41 am
  #32  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 1
Similar

Firstly I cannot believe there are other people who experience what I do too. Itís incredibly disabling and really interferes with my life, however I still fly but hate it. I try to feel the fear to prevent a panic attack but sometimes even feeling the fear is impossible. Has anyone had any luck with changing their diet to increase their panic threshold? Like I said, sometimes I can feel the fear and fly but a week later on a return flight I can barely board the plane and then have to take diazepam which then makes me feel weird and off. So I can get through a flight but feel so incredibly uncomfortable and dread it terribly. Anything longer than 5 hours at the moment is an issue and living in Australia this makes any international travel pretty tough.

Luisa88 is offline  
Old Dec 5, 18, 9:33 am
  #33  
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 1
Hi everyone. I'm so excited finding this chat. I struggle with severe claustrophobia as well. In the past, I flew a few times and years later I have experienced some claustrophobic panic attacks on the grounds whick have disabled me from flying for years... Last time I flew was 2002 and it was a total disaster that caused me serious health problem. I went through psychotherapy and was pretty sure I can fly again... In 2004 I got off the plane in a terrible panic attack. I gave up. This year I have started thinking that I could possibly try once again. I got an incredible job offer and this position will require to travel few times a year. So I have started looking for tips and advises for phobic fliers. I have bought myself and my husband a short 1 hour flight in a couple of weeks. I am reading all of stories and want to thank you for sharing. Despite all terrible panic attacks, you are all alive still, that means I have chance to survive too. Fingers crossed, mates. I'll come back with a story of succes or a fail anyway.
Ren.be is offline  
Old Jul 8, 19, 5:17 am
  #34  
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 1
I am travelling soon, within next few weeks and i have claustrophobia so i have been reading up online on how to combat it.

I have gone through the comments here and it's uncanny how most of us had it after a certain age and/or experience. I traveled alot more as a kid and never had this issue even though ever since a kid i have had symptoms of claustrophobia by avoiding narrow spaces, high necks or even closed necklines, etc. But few years back i was travelling alone and i had the panic attack at the last 25 mins before reaching destination after a 14.2 hours flight. It was just there for a mins and took another 5 mins to get back to normal. Then just 2 years ago, again on my flight back to home i had panic attack, this time just at the start. I was lucky that a kind gentleman who was there to do inspection of the flight, he saw i was not feeling ok so he moved me to the front seats with room and i felt better. I am thinking both times i was coming back from a vacation, after spending time with family, so could mine be triggered by emotions?. I also had a panic attack while on the ride Riptide at Wonderland and i asked to be taken off.

I really want to look into Cognitive behavior therapy or any other kind that can help with this condition because it can be restricting to how you live your life. I did discuss this with my GP and he gave me Citanew 5mg and Busron 5 mg to take for a month continuously. I am a bit wary because i avoid meds and i think there has to be a better solution to this issue then to just suppress these fears. Let me know what you think, should i take these meds?
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Maham is offline  
Old Jul 9, 19, 3:29 pm
  #35  
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Programs: DL
Posts: 150
Drugs just for flying?

I've been suffering from mild claustrophobia since childhood, but could always calm myself with breathing, trying to think rationally, picturing being released from the enclosed space, etc. Tight spaces with lots of people bother me much more than just tight spaces. I would prepare for a flight by picking a window seat (I can zone out/mentally remove myself from the situation better in a window seat than in the aisle), planning on watching movies, eating, reading, hopefully napping, etc. to keep myself occupied, and it has always been bearable. Until a couple of years ago, when a large, heavily breathing guy that smelled like BO and cigarette smoke plopped himself next to me on a commuter bus. The onset of the claustrophobia was so sudden and unexpected, I felt totally unprepared and panicked about how to get through the next 45 minutes until the next stop! I've been scared of a repeat since. My doctor recommended medication, but I would have to try it out before flying, to know it's effects, and then it might still be different on the plane. I'm usually staying away from meds, as I always seem to suffer the side effects, and honestly don't like the feeling of being lethargically drugged up, when I have to function. A friend told me to "just pop a valium" before getting on the plane, but I'm afraid that there might be delays, diversions, unexpected events where I would like to have full use of my wits, rather then be a total zombie. Changing time zones, lack of proper sleep, and eating airplane food seems to be enough of a strain on my body, I can't imagine doing drugs on top of it.

What other, non-medication methods have you tried? Deep breathing helps, but can't really do that for eight to ten hours straight...

What can be done about the sudden onset of the panic, when I'm not expecting it, and I feel unprepared to handle it?

Right after the incident on the bus, I had to fly for work and couldn't book a specific seat, so I told the FA about my fear. While this seems to help some people, just picturing the panic, and having to talk about it, raised my anxiety level, and what if scenarios (a stinky COS next to me, a middle seat, being in the back of the plane, sitting on the tarmac, etc.) made it even worse, so I never notified them since.
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