Phobias and the Things We Do to Avoid our Triggers
Elise Welburn Martin

Great article. I have suffered from a fear of flying that has gotten better over the years and largely only shows up in turbulence now. I have similarly realized that it is largely about control. I realized a number of my coping mechanisms were about trying to exercise control:

  • Excessively checking the weather in advance of the flight.
  • Obsessively checking the in-flight status when available on how much time is left and what altitude we are at.
  • Always taking a window seat so that I can keep an eye on things outside.
  • Grabbing the armrest when things get bumpy.

From work in a 12 step program, I have learned to say a couple of things that help me calm down.

  • The fear prayer: god, relieve of fear and direct me to what you would have me be. (You don’t have to believe in god for that to work — only believe that there are powers greater/other than you who have more control.) God would have me put my trust in the people trained to manage these things.
  • “This plane is not my responsibility. The pilots know what they are doing. It is their job.”

Thanks for the thoughtful essay.

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