Phobias are treatable; don't let them rule your life.
Shanta Hegde went with her cousin to see a psychiatrist after they canceled their holiday to Rajasthan at the last minute. The reason was that Shanta refused to go to the airport to catch the flight.
She looked embarrassed and sad when she sat down in the doctor’s room. She said she was feeling really bad that her cousin’s trip got canceled because of her. She said that since the aircraft attacks on the buildings in New York, America, and subsequently other aircraft accidents in the last decade or so, she had become very afraid of getting on a plane. She admitted that she had canceled other trips, some to meet other family members and some with her husband, because of this fear. She also admitted that she had never spoken to her cousin about her fear, which was affecting her ability to travel by air.
She denied otherwise being sad or anxious, and said she was generally satisfied with her life. Her children were all settled while she and her husband were leading a retired life.
She said that the couple had decided that after his retirement, they would travel a lot more than before. But now, even the thought of getting on a plane made her extremely anxious and she broke into a sweat every time. In the past, after getting on a plane, she would start to panic. She admitted that she was more fearful of flying than ever before.
The psychiatrist spent a little more time discussing what was going on with Shanta. He diagnosed her with a specific phobia, fear of flying . He also reassured her that there was treatment for it.
The clinic counselor spent several weeks with Shanta to help her gradually overcome her fear of flying. After a few months of therapy, she felt relatively confident about flying. Shanta and her husband decided to make a trip to Delhi and Shanta was able to fly without any difficulties except a little anxiety. Once she made the flight without problems, she experienced less and less fear on subsequent flights.
She called her counselor after about 6 months of completing the therapy to tell her that she was doing well and was traveling all over India.
This narrative has been created with the help of mental health experts by taking into consideration symptoms and accounts from a cross-section of patients. The story is not a case study of any one particular person but is meant to be representative of a person suffering from the disorder mentioned.