I have never been afraid of flying thousands of feet above the earth in an aircraft of any kind. I am not afraid of heights. I do not carefully check out the passengers for potential terrorists. It doesn’t cross my mind that we may hit a large bird in mid flight and spiral nose first into the ground. Nah.
I am claustrophobic. The worst part for me is when we are boarding and I am waiting
patiently anxiously for the plane to move. It hits me again after we have landed and the plane is taxiing on the runway.This phobia has been real for as long as I can remember but has only intensified in the last couple years.
My doctor suggested lorazepam. She offered it to me with a smile on her face as if she used it regularly. She said it was a great medication for this particular issue. When I hesitated, she reminded me that the one place I would not want to have a full out panic attack would be on a flight. I had to agree since I have already had visions of myself hyperventilating, rushing to the nearest exit door and hurling it into the sky, only to stick my head out for air. Needless to say, the rest of the passengers would soon follow me out with a massive vacuum like force. That would be visual number one. Number two would involve security, possibly some duct tape and a detour landing somewhere like Wichita, Kansas.
So I said yes to lorazepam, the lesser evil.
During my lifetime, I have never required any type of major medication. I am familiar with some medications within the mental health spectrum since I have family members who have used them. Now it was my turn to experience the effects of a tiny little white pill. I was very skeptical, not wanting to use anything that was mind altering on my highly valued coconut for fear it would shred it into pieces. Besides the possible side effects, my main concern was that it was going to manipulate the “me” of who I am, if that makes any sense. If it takes away my fear of being in a confined place, then it is changing my mind. It is convincing me somehow that what I feel is not real. Now, that is a trip and the only trip I wanted to take was to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
As I waited by Gate A25 to board, I meticulously timed the taking of my magic pill so that it’s full effects would be in action before I stepped foot into that skinny “tube”. I was leery to take the whole pill, so I broke it in half.(I am the type of person that feels stoned the next morning after taking cough syrup.) Boarding the plane about a half hour later seemed easier than normal. Hmmm….I didn’t feel the grip of doom suffocating me as I entered the capsule. I took my seat by the window. Yes I k now, you would think that I would want an aisle seat. Claustrophobics want the aisle seats. Not me. If I am near a window, I can imagine myself OUTSIDE. Outside is good. That is where you want to be when you feel closed in. Makes sense, right?
After getting situated, seat belt on, electronic devices turned off, purse under the seat, etc. , I looked out my beloved window. Then I looked around the airplane. By now, the lovely lorazepam must have been working because my brain seemed to have another entity.
The conversation in my head went something like this….
I should be panicking right now.
You are not panicked.
But that is how I am supposed to feel. I don’t like being in small spaces. I hate airplanes.
That’s some cool information, dude, but sorry…..not feeling it.
But who are you to tell me that I am not afraid. I’m supposed to hate this.
I am your lorazepam brain. I rule at this moment.
I feel controlled by you.
I hate you.
No you don’t. You just think you do. Relax.
Ok, then I am going to pretend like you’re not here and I never was claustrophobic…and
…oh wow….look at those clouds.
Thank you, Lorazepam.