I have recently returned home from a 2 week holiday to Greece with my girlfriend. I thought I would write a post on trip advisor about my experience taking Diazepam prescribed to me by my GP for my fear of flying. Before my trip I googled relentlessly trying to find posts from people in a similar situation and could only really find snippets of peoples experiences so I thought I would help any fellow sufferers by sharing my own.
When we booked our holiday I made an appointment with my GP and asked if there was anything they could do to help with a fairly crippling fear of flying. My doctor waisted no time in writing me a prescription for 6 2mg tablets of Diazepam. She told me they would ease my nerves and I'd be fine, she apparently handed them out all the time. Literally it couldn’t have been any easier getting hold of the medication! Maybe I should have told her it was a longer flight! I told her the length of the flight (3 hours) and she said 6 tablets would be fine. 1 about an hour before, 1 once i’m on the plane and another just incase I feel really bad. I must say this did instantly help my anxiety, I thought I had a little pill that would solve my problems.
Well as usual when I'm approaching the date of my flight, my anxiety builds up and I spend more and more time thinking about how soon I will have to face my fear. Luckily my girlfriend is very supportive and I was largely stress free. Although I have always said that I am completely unable to get excited about a trip until I have landed. There is never any excitement about the hotel or the new culture or about the new food or the beaches. All of that is overshadowed by the fact that I will first have to fly!
The day finally comes and I have my box of pills in my hand luggage and we’re off to the airport. I also actually had 2 5mg Diazepam tablets that I had been prescribed when I pulled a muscle in my back months earlier. They helped with the pain and in the end I didn’t use all of the pills and had a few left over. I had read online that 5mg is more likely to send you to sleep than 2mg will so I thought I’d bring them along as back up! About 3 hours before my flight I took my first 2mg tablet, this was in the car on the way to the airport (Don’t worry I wasn’t driving!). I didn’t feel too different but I did feel as if I wasn’t quite as panicked as I could have been. No racing heart or anything. It was more like I was very excepting of the fact that I had to do it.
Once on the plane and in my seat I took another 2mg tablet. I was nervous at the point but definitely felt a lot better than previous flights. It could have been a completely placebo effect but something was working! When we were taking off I closed my eyes and was practising my deep breathing and I was surprised how chilled I felt. I really had a different kind of confidence. I was in now way comfortable, don’t get me wrong! But it was more like I knew that I couldn’t back out and I was excepting the situation. I was able to think about all the reasons why everything was ok, the air stewards aren’t panicked, the other passengers are fine, nothing was distracting my mind. Whenever there was a dip or jolt of the plane I did my usual flinch and reached for the base of my seat but was a lot quicker in calming myself down and realising that it was nothing. The flight actually seemed to fly by, excuse the pun, and before I knew it I was in Greece on the boiling hot runway and I was able to start getting excited about 2 weeks in the sun!
I wouldn’t say that the drugs ‘cured’ me but they definitely did help. It could have been a complete placebo effect! The only thing I could relate it to is having a few stiff drinks to calm your nerves. You no longer have the ability to over think and cause yourself to start panicking. All of my problems stem from my own mind and my ability to feel one jolt and completely overthink it.
I told myself I’d try to keep this ‘review’ short but here I am! I’ll try and wrap it up! Either way I thought it would be helpful to lend a hand/opinion to any fellow people with a fear of flying. I feel that I have made some real progress with my fear and think it is very positive to talk about your fear with others. Please do get in touch with me if you have any questions or just simply want to talk about being afraid of flying and the possible benefits of taking medication to help.
Non frequent flyer (hopefully that will change)