anxiety on flight 288

I have never had a problem flying. No anxiety. No discomfort. I’ve flown across the world, more than once. Had multiple layovers, long flights. Not once have I ever been scared or anxious. Maybe tired or bored, but I am a good flyer. This past weekend I flew home to surprise my mother and grandmother for my grandmother’s 90th birthday. It was a short trip of two days, and a long flight for such a short one.

The weeks leading up to this flight home I was feeling anxious. I recently learned my ex, whom I can’t stop loving no matter how hard I try, has his new Australian girlfriend moving to Canada to be with him in a few months. The thought of this makes me not want to return home at all. Without getting into the whole back story of the two of them, it makes me anxious. Every time I think about going home again, the thought of running into the two of them makes me unable to breathe. I like to think I’m a stronger person than that but apparently I am not as strong as I pretend to be. Regardless what I’ve been told, I will never truly believe I wasn’t left for the foreign girl who seemed much more appealing than working on a great relationship that clearly only meant something to one of us. So here in lies my anxiety. I try to meditate. I try to exercise my demons out. But the anxiety takes over every time I think about going home. 
Flight from Vancouver to Whitehorse, window seats are the best

So I arrive at the airport, having had a horrible sleep the night before. It’s 4:45am, I arrive just as they are starting to check people in, only to find out the computers aren’t working and they have to check everyone in manually. With an hour to my flight, I knew I would be missing my connecting flight. As I approached the counter, they tell me that I no longer have the seat I chose and I will have to go get my luggage in Vancouver, and then get my next boarding pass and recheck my luggage. I could feel the anxiety getting worse. It was like there was an air pump in my lungs but instead of pumping in air, it was sucking it out. As I waited in the airport to board my flight, I saw my take off time, come and go. After over a hour, we finally boarded and took off. That flight, one of the shortest I’ve done. Was one of the hardest. As I sat in my seat, I felt the walls closing is around me. I made a beeline for the washroom and spent the next however many minutes (I lost track) having a full blown anxiety attack. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. I was crying. I was curled in a ball on a dirty airplane bathroom floor all alone. And I didn’t know what to do. How to stop it. Until I finally just knew I had to get a grip and let it pass. I don’t know how long I was in there for, but I came out of there with air in my lungs. But anxiety filled me, down to my core. 

I arrived in Vancouver as my connecting flight took off, but I was lucky enough to have my luggage come out first. I ran to reprint my boarding pass for my next flight, which had already been rescheduled to 30 mins after my original. By the time I got up to recheck my bags, that flight left too. So now I was told I was being out on standby and that I can go sit for two hours at one gate and wait, and if they don’t call my name before they board, I do the same at the next gate, and the next, and so on. I walked to the gate. Sat down. And all of the sudden I felt it again. The same feeling I had on the plane. The walls were closing in. I got up and quickly walked to the bathroom and let the walls of the stall close in on me. I was shaking. I couldn’t catch my breath. Because of this, I almost choked. This time I felt like my heart was beating out of my chest. I sweat through my sweatshirt. I had never been through this before and I can’t imagine going through it again. I spent most my layover in a bathroom stall trying to get a grip on reality. 
Flight from Vancouver to Whitehorse

After I made it back to the gate, I listened to the names called out that were on standby. Name after name, I got more anxious and sweaty. I bet I looked super suspicious and weird. I heard a few names called more than once until finally I was the last name called before boarding. I was finally heading home. 

This flight went smoother than the last. I didn’t freak out. That is until the plane landed and everyone got up to get off. I felt claustrophobic for the first time. All I wanted to do was get off that plane. I started shaking a bit and just trying to take deep breaths to stop myself from not being able to breathe. And as I stepped off my plane, I turn on my phone to have the first text I receive be the person who made me anxious to come home in the first place. I want to say it was comforting but it wasn’t. I wish I could’ve ignored it. But I couldn’t. It’s funny how things happen this way. 
So here I am, back to my ‘home’ after a week home. My flight back here, much easier. And I continue my efforts to meditate and exercise to work through the anxiety in hopes that my flight home for Christmas in less than two weeks is much less stressful. Here’s hoping for a smoother day of flying.

Flight from Vancouver to Whitehorse

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