I'm a 25 year old New Yorker who has suffered from fear of flying since adolescence. My fear has been fairly debilitating, as I grew up in a traveling family and have canceled more than a few trips out of fear.
I have been following Captain Tom's materials for some time now and am very interested in his ideas about childhood trauma as a root cause of fear of flying. My father died when I was 13 after many years of suffering from brain cancer. As a little girl, I remember spending a lot of time alone and having a rich inner "fantasy life". While I was very creative, I also had (and was confronted by my parents about) many OCD-type behaviors, which peaked in the first few years after his death. I was embarrassed and distressed by these behaviors and in my late teens they mostly subsided. However, they were replaced with crippling anxiety, which I have to this day. My daily anxiety mostly manifests in hypochondria, but the anxiety I feel from flying is by far the worst.
I remember feeling like my dad's death was an inevitability, and in a way, my worst fears were validated when it happened. I fear that something similarly unlikely and devastating (like a plane crash, or a rare illness) can and will happen to me. More broadly, I know the chaos and sadness in my house-- and my parents' preoccupation with their very real problems-- must have had some emotional affect on me.
Now that my mother has fulfilled one of her lifelong dreams of moving to San Diego, I find myself wanting to fly to see her. I've tried to do the oxytocin exercise in the days before flights and while on the plane, but even though I can feel some of the "oxytocin effect" while relaxed, my anxiety still skyrockets when I'm actually on the plane and it's hard for me to calm myself. I end up spending most of the flight shaking and waiting for something to go wrong-- which I did on my trip to Paris, where I am now. Not looking forward to my flight home on Thursday.
That was a lot! So I guess my questions are: 1) Does anybody have any tips for the oxytocin exercises and 2) Does anybody have thoughts about addressing childhood trauma that may be related to flight anxiety?