Live by "Oh Well" instead of "What If". Yes, I survived a 14 hour plane ride to Ireland
Taking this Saint Patrick's Day to reflect on a time I made it all the way to Dublin, Ireland from here in California - about a 14 hour trip. This was maybe 7 years ago and I hadn't gone through my worst panic attacks that rattled me badly yet, but I still dealt with moderate anxiety and fear of panic attacks (I've always felt claustrophobic on airplanes). Despite my plane anxiety, I DID IT! To be honest, I took drowsy Dramamine for motion sickness and slept for maybe 8 hours.. but it did help pass a majority of the time. Once I was there, I had a blast.
I haven't been on a long flight since, the most being a couple of hours, and part of the reason is definitely because I've avoided long-distance trips.
The brain is a funny thing.
Here is proof that I am very capable to sit on a plane for a long time; I flew 14 hours there and 14 hours back, but yet my fear of long plane rides has grown now that I know what a "bad" panic attack is. One of my goals in therapy is to persevere through this fear and prove to myself yet again that I can do anything. Unfortunately, COVID has put a halt on traveling, but I have hope I will be able to sometime this year or next. Until then, I will keep practicing with long car rides and weekend trips.
If you've experienced something similar, I highly recommend downloading the DARE app. It has daily exercises and a section designated solely for fear of flying! A late Youtuber I used to watch, Corey La Barrie, said he would rather live by saying "Oh Well" instead of "What If". That really hit home with me and I aspire to live my life that way. I'm not there yet, but I get better and better each day.
Here's all of the beauty and the "what if"'s I would have missed had I not gotten on that plane: