This happened about 5 years ago. I think I was either in my senior year of high school or my first year of university. My grandmother was getting remarried to a man she met in church back in Newfoundland where she was born and raised. They fell in love and she decided to move back to Newfoundland and marry him. My parents were going to go, and initially they didn’t think I would want to go because of my anxiety so they already bought their tickets. When they found out I wanted to go they purchased one more for me.
I wasn’t thinking about my anxiety. I was just thinking about visiting my family in Newfoundland and seeing my grandmother. So the day before the flight we drove almost 5 hours to the city where our airport was. We spent the night at the hotel that was connected to the airport. Everything was fine until the day of, when I woke up. It was as if the realization that I would be up in the air hit me and my anxiety flooded out of me. We were all packed and ready to go, but I wasn’t. It started out with sudden diarrhea. Then my body started shaking. My parents didn’t know this was going on because I had the bathroom door closed.
I was so scared I called my mom in. Both of my parents were mad because I suddenly didn’t want to get on the plane, I wanted to go home. My dad was furious, he couldn’t believe that I would make them waste money and miss my grandmother’s wedding. I was screaming, crying, and puking all while sitting on the toilet. My dad was so mad he just left the hotel room. My mom stayed. She tried to calm me down, but she was upset as well. I was crying that I can’t do it. I can’t. Please don’t make me.
It was as if something told my mom what to do. She got down to my face, gripped my shoulders, and told me that no matter what, she would protect me. She would make sure nothing happened to me on that plane. She would be there the entire time. I was still very upset and shaky, but her words seemed to help me get better control of myself. I was able to clean myself up and leave the hotel room with my mom. My dad was out by the shuttle car. He seemed surprised that I had calmed down.
I was so nervous once we arrived at the airport. Especially during the baggage line. I hate lines. Hate them. And I was thinking, “What if they stop me because of my medication?” Or basically any other reason. I remember one thing. While waiting to board the plane, I was noticing one of the shops. It had a cute Hello Kitty luggage bag. I mentioned how I liked it. I heard my dad whisper to my Mom, “If she’s brave enough to make this flight I’ll buy her anything.” So that distracted me for a little bit, wondering what I could buy lol.
The plane was small. Cramped even. It held less than 100 people. Maybe it held 30 people. I wasn’t sure. All I remembered is that is was very small, hot, and I got the window seat. I was afraid of getting sick so I kept the window closed until we were over Newfoundland. I mostly tried to sleep, but I just ended up resting with my eyes closed because my mind was running a mile a minute. I did try to stay in the bathroom during the entire flight. For some reason, bathrooms are my safe haven. I feel more grounded there. No matter where I am, if they have a bathroom, I’ll be fine. But of course the workers need to make sure you didn’t die in the bathroom so I got a knock on the door after a minute.
I was shaky once I set my feet on the ground after leaving the plane. My great-uncle drove us another 30 minutes to my great-grandmother’s house where my grandmother was currently living with her mother until after her wedding. The wedding was beautiful. Time spent there was great. I don’t remember being very anxious until the night before the flight back. I wanted to stay. I didn’t want to get back on that dreadful plane. But I had to. So the next morning, I did. I wasn’t as anxious as the first time I went on the plane. But I did puke while on the plane…so there’s that.
The stewardesses were super nice and understanding. They advised me to lean over, and they got me a glass of water and a cold cloth to put over my neck. It really helped me, and I basically stayed like that until the plane landed back home. While in the city where the airport was, my dad bought me a bunch of movies as a sort of reward for braving the flights. I remember specifically that one of them was Dracula Untold. The flight to and from Newfoundland was about an hour to an hour and a half each way. I could barely handle it.
My husband’s family wants us to visit South Korea and have a traditional wedding there. There’s a huge obstacle between us and that goal. My anxiety, airplanes (the flight is about 13 hours), I’d have to get multiple needles before I travel, and my pickiness with food…What if I get there and I don’t like anything his family cooks? I don’t want to be that bad person who goes and buys fast-food the entire time I’m there. On a lighter note, my best friend Kristin is excited to go and she’s ready whenever I am. My dad thinks it would be a good idea if my mom joined as well since my husband’s mom flew to be at our wedding.