Title: Why you shouldn’t let anxiety stop you from flying alone
SEO title: How to combat travel anxiety when you fly alone for your holidays
Author: Abi Purvis
Publication type: Anxiety, Mental Health, Travel, and Lifestyle
//Strapline// “Would you guys like to come stay at my house in Jersey?”
“Yes, but I’ll swim there” didn’t seem like an appropriate answer.
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I was in my first year of uni and the ‘guys’ in question were my housemates to be (pre ‘it’s your turn to buy toilet roll’ fights).
Hiding a face of shear panic, I pressed the confirm button on my solo flight to Jersey in the hope I could conquer my flight anxiety.
When the dreaded day came, I played an intense game of ‘Snake’ weaving my way through the airport crowds. My chest felt as if the only air getting to it was coming from the other end of a 10-meter hose pipe.
Anxiety UK says: “The fear [of flying] is associated with external factors such as turbulence, bad weather or a fault with the airplane”, which is why people struggle to understand that I’m not scared of the actual flying.
It was amongst the silence in the middle of seemingly endless rows of my peers scribbling away at our year 10 exam, that I discovered my anxiety (that was fun).
Since then, I started getting panic attacks in situations where I had a loss of control and felt trapped — that meant airports, security queues, and planes too.
Just have to be difficult, don’t I?
In the security queue I listened to Headspace where a calm gentleman talked my anxiety down a notch with his soothing voice. If only my boyfriend could talk to me like him.
Before my anxiety had time to work itself up again, it was my turn to be security checked and that was that, I was through.
You’d think that the duty free and guilt free food in the airport lounge would grant me time to relax — I wish. Time gave my anxiety too long to overthink and get worked up again — of course it did.
After countless ‘nervous wees’, I sipped on some water (one of my calming methods) and wandered around the quieter shops.
I distracted myself by imagining the types of people who would use the products on their holiday. My favourite was the green hair dye in Boots for the bald 60-year-old man.
Oxymoron alert: The flight itself was actually the worst and best bit. It was my final hurdle. I just had to sit on the plane and wait my anxiety out. Tragically, it’s unlikely I was the only one feeling anxious as Nine million people in Britain suffer with flight anxiety.
After sipping lots of water over the duration of the flight, I was bursting for a ‘regular wee’. Like a lost sheep, I followed everyone off the plane until I spotted some toilets. When I came out, anxiety struck me again. I hadn’t anticipated on this; there was now yet another stage to add to the anxiety travel steps – excellent.
When I came out of the toilets there was nobody in sight and no sign to tell me where the exit was. I was lost.
One emergency call to my friends later, resulted in years of teasing: “Abi do you remember when you got lost in the smallest airport?”
Yes, flying alone is scary but that’s okay. I did survive and with only moderate embarrassment.
I hated it, but I have booked a flight to New Zealand in December. Wish me luck!
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Thanks for reading!
I hope you enjoyed a more honest post and a deeper insight into my anxiety.
Let me know in the comments if any of you struggle with flight anxiety or if any of this resonates with you x