Question below

Hi, my son of 25 has suffered with anxiety/panic attacks/depression since age 17. He copes slightly better than he used to but obviously stressful situations bring on attacks . He takes beta-blockers when he feels an attack coming. Since travelling to America over three years ago he has developed a fear of flying which really restricts him, he booked a weekend to Berlin last year but couldn't go right up till the last minute, which really affected him . He has now arranged a four day trip to The South of France which is a fairly short flight in 5 days time and now his anxiety levels are rising the closer it gets . I so hope can go,but I am fearful his anxiety will get the better of him once again. I would be grateful for any help or advice on this very frustrating matter.

6 Replies

  • I feel so sorry for you both and can really understand how he feels as I have backed out a few times in the past so I don't set myself too many arrangements ahead. My Doctor does let me have a few diazepam each month and I save those for such an occasion, one or two 2mg is enough to boost the conficence even if its in my head. I hope having your support will help, its no fun having this sort of anxiety, he is not alone and we all understand.. hugs from cotonroad.

  • I would take charge and tell him the trip is off. He's putting unecessary pressure on himself (and you). Why is it important he goes?

  • Thank you for your response, unfortunately I cannot tell him what to do, only advise him. I believe he must try and overcome this fear by facing up to getting on a plane, only then will he have conquered the irrational fears he has. At the time of booking the trip the idea and prospect of going do not present any fear or stress, it's only as the trip gets newer does the stress rise. I feel it is important to tackle this problem sooner rather than later As the longer it goes on the harder it will be to overcome .

  • Hi Janann9,

    I can entirely sympathise with your situation. I have had similar "anxiety states" as the GPs call it, for approx the last 35 years, on and off. Latterly these have been triggered by travelling abroad on hoildays with my wife and friends. We have travelled together without problem up to 3 or 4 times a year, since 1988, but inexplicably, starting about 3 years ago, my anxiety now builds up as the holiday departure date looms. My anxiety causes insomnia, aches and pains, stomach churning, tension, sweats, rapid heart beat, loss of appetite - you name it, I have experienced it at some time or other (thankfully not all simultaneously)!! However, as soon as we are on the way to the airport, everything settles down and we generally have a great time. Knowing everything was ok last time we went away does not seem to change anything for the next time. I can't explain it and I don't look too deeply for reasons or explanations of why I feel this way. The best advice I can give based on my personal experience of managing it, is don't try to fight the anxiety or try to suppress it, that will only intensify the horrible feelings, but rather just "go with the flow". embrace the feelings, These feelings are (merely) your bodys (wrong) reaction to a perceived threat, usually the result of some anxious thoughts. The thing to keep telling yourself is that these are JUST THOUGHTS and do not reflect the reality of what is happening here in the present. Sure it can be scary for a while, but this passes in a short time, IF YOU DON'T FIGHT IT. Let the thoughts be present if necessary, but do not REACT TO THEM.

    I have continued to travel and live with my anxiety if it is present, and this is the course I would advocate. Avoidance is not a long term solution, and can lead to other complications such as agoraphobia etc

    If there is a real phobia of flying, this possibly could be addressed (maybe not in time for the planned trip to France) by classes often run at your local airport. I know these used to be run at Manchester airport - you need to "Google" to find out your nearest centre.

    I also practise progressive muscle relaxation, coupled with Mindfulness Meditation, which aims to help keep your thoughts in "the present"

    Sorry if all the above comes over a bit dis-jointed, but hopefully it has conveyed the right message and will be of help.

    All the best and kind regards,


  • Thank you so much for your helpful advice.

  • Thank you so much for your helpful advice.

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