I was always told my fear of flying was irrational. Do you know the chances of a plane crashing? Like, a million to one. You’re crazy for having that fear and you shouldn’t have it.
Logically I agreed with them. It was a stupid fear and I was stupid for having it. I felt embarrassed for having such a non-real fear. But I still had it.
Imagine you’re on a plane and it starts crashing down. That last minute before you die when you know you’re going to die. In a painful way. That terror and panic. Now imagine having that the whole flight (no matter how smooth the flight). AND for several weeks before the flight. That was my irrational fear.
It got to the point where I thought, “I don’t care if this plane crashes, what’s the difference? In fact, I hope it does, cause then at least I wouldn’t have to feel like this anymore. This feeling is worse than the crash. This is what I hate…”
Et voila! The real fear.
I didn’t have a fear of flying. Or a fear of dying. Or any other fear. Those were all just triggers to the real fear: the uncontrollable feeling of panic and terror.
Just the thought of flying was enough to trigger that panic feeling. And THAT’s what I don’t want. That’s what I fear.
So if you’re told your fears are irrational, you have my permission to say, “Fuck you. I don’t need you shaming me, or telling me whether or not my fears are legit.”
Do you know the chances of me dying in a plane crash? Almost nil.
Do you know the chances of (past) me feeling panic on the plane? Almost 100%!
How’s that for rational? It’s a guarantee! And it’s just as real a fear.
Whatever triggers fear for you – snakes, heights, public speaking, etc. – you have the right to those triggers. You’re not crazy for feeling fear. And you’re allowed to feel it.
In fact, allowing yourself to feel the fear is what helps the most. Fighting against panic only makes it stronger. If you can love your body for letting you know when it’s scared, and feel the rapid heartbeat and sweaty palms and all that and just be cool with it, well then, it won’t matter what your triggers are, because you’ll be okay with the feeling.