Archive for January 28th, 2008

Overcoming Phobias

Snake (c) Lynda Bernhardt

As I shared last week, I did not post for several days because I took my son to Disney World. Boy, did we have a good time!

In addition to the fun of visiting an amusement park, I was able to celebrate an important phase of healing: I have overcome my phobia of airplanes! I am so relieved to finally put this behind me.

I have been phobic of riding in airplanes throughout my adult life. I do not remember it bothering me when I flew as a child, but I became anxious about it as an adult. I had recurring dreams about being in an airplane when it crashed. Just the thought of sitting in an airplane would cause me to feel deep anxiety.

I was obsessed with watching programs about airplane crashes. I remember watching a special called When Planes Go Down and memorizing all of the safety tips they shared. I wear jeans because they are more fire-resistant than other fabrics. I only wear sneakers because sandals could fly off my feet in a crash. I would count the number of seat backs from my row to the nearest emergency exit and commit the number to memory. That way, if I survived a crash, I could feel my way through the smoke to the exit.

I would tense up at lift-off and at landing because that it when most crashes happen. I would panic at any sign of turbulence. I was a complete wreck on an airplane, spending most of the time praying that I would be okay.

I did none of this on our flight down or back. I was completely calm. I was not worried a bit. Even when my son got concerned when we hit some turbulence, I was reassuring to him and truly did not worry about it. It is a miracle!

You might be asking how I got there. I did it through finally reaching a place where I know, at a heart level, that I am going to be okay. If I live, I will be okay, and if I die, I will be okay. I truly believe that the spirit lives on after death, so I have nothing to fear. Once you lose the fear of death, the rest is easy.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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