Different Strokes, Different Folks

12 Oct

I’d never been afraid of airplanes or flying in them until I was 7 years old. Up until today, I oh-so-clearly remember sitting in living room (I was in Spain then) and watching the entire 9-11 attack on the news.

I was all alone as my mom and aunt were out shopping and my grandmother was taking care of my cousin (who was then an infant) in the other room. Whether it was because I was flying to Manila 3 days after the disaster, or because it was so devastating to watch, the experience has left a mark on me. Until today, I fear airplanes, the sound when they are close to the ground, and I always have this insanely annoying fear that they are going to crash.

One of the topics we discussed in our Psychology class was Psychological Disorders. This is where I learned more about my fear and different phobias. I now recognize that I have a fear of airplanes (or flying in general), which I have researched is called aerophobia. Who would have known that what others would have taken as a slightly scary but otherwise insignificant experience would have such an effect on me? I’d like to write more about this “phobia” and try to explain how I feel even if I’ve tried many times and most people think I’m exaggerating. So what happens is, when I’m in an airplane, or even in the airport about to board a plane, I start to feel nauseous. Then my heart starts to pound and I feel like I’m going to hyperventilate but with the help of my mom I usually am able to calm myself down and remember to breathe properly. The entire flight I feel like I am completely paranoid and every time I hear a weird sound or any sound that isn’t constant the entire flight I freak out and go “Mom, what was that?” and for a couple minutes I am completely still waiting for something to happen. By the end of the flight, I am SO SO SO tired because it’s not like I can even have a decent sleep on the plane. One of my least favorite planes are those going to Boracay because they are so small and old fashioned, I feel like they could break down any second.


My boyfriend, Malek, making fun of the face I was trying so hard not to make in this picture.

There was this one time, smoke started coming out of the aircon and I panicked cause I thought something was terribly wrong. Turns out it was only because the air was really cold, or the aircon wasn’t working properly, or something like that. It had absolutely nothing to do with any airplane malfunction. Silly me. Another thing that is just as scary for me than being on an airplane is hearing the sound of it somewhere above me. It terrifies me completely. My heart starts to beat really fast and I feel my whole body get extremely warm then I start to experience a cold sweat. Most people think I’m exaggerating but I really am that freaked out. If I am able to see the airplane, I’m not as freaked out as when I’m indoors and I can’t. Even if I know how silly I’m being because come on- what are the chances an airplane would crash on the exact area I’m in at that moment? No matter how many times I try to tell myself this, I still can’t control my feelings when the situation is presented to me.

Strangely, I also seem to have a fear of sounds that resemble that of an airplane. I don’t quite know how to describe these sounds- they are low, grumbling sounds, I could say. I have no clue why my heart beat races and I feel light headed when I hear these sounds. Perhaps it’s because my brain has associated these sounds with that of an airplane.

We watched a documentary on people with phobias/obsessive compulsive disorders, and thank goodness I do not have it as bad as they do. At first I was thinking “how weird are these people?!” and then I realized that on a WAY smaller scale, I’m just like them (in terms of the phobia, not OCD). People shouldn’t be judged according to their quirks and the things they do because everyone has their own story that has made them who they are. Different situations affect different people in different ways and you may never understand until you walk a mile in their shoes.

Just like most other things in life- different strokes, different folks.


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