Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fight or Flight

I've traveled for years. My first flight was when I was just a toddler and I can still remember the excitement of choosing what candy I could pack in my knapsack and the Delta wings pin I would earn at the end of a flight. Hundreds of times I've flown and have loved every minute of it.
About 2 years ago I gathered my book, bottled water, 1 carry on and went to board one of my most common flights, leaving my family beach house in Pawley's Island, SC. I had a panic attack. A HUGE attack. I didn't board...instead I rented a car last minute and drove 9 hrs home that night. From that day on, I've had enormous anxiety about flying. Hypnosis, drugs, relaxation music, etc could not stop the panic that I have when walking down the terminal.
I recently had to fly to Seattle and after crying hysterically as my husband waved goodbye, I knew I had to relax and try and board without backing out. As I was walking down the terminal, I followed a small little 4 year old boy that skipped down the aisle with Bob the Builder backpack bouncing freely on his back. To his credit, this hyper little boy was the only distraction I had prior to needing a brown bag and xanex. He turns around, jumps in the air, lands with his legs spread out and arms wide open yelling as loud as he can at me, "I'M SO EXCITED, I'M SO EXCITED...THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE! I GET TO FLYYYYY!!!!"
My anxiety was miraculously gone. It never returned. With so many high stress situations I'm put in on a daily basis with my career, I now think of the excitement and pure joy of such an innocent little human being. As we get older, life's circumstances create fear, uncertainty and doubt. I'm learning to take on each impossible situation like my first day of flying...fearless.

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