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I wasn't always this way! My first flight was when I was two months old. If you've followed me for a little while you know my dad is American and my mom is Belgian. My mom moved here when she was 23 after meeting my dad on a chance trip to Italy...such a romantic story which I will save for another time! I still think about it and can't believe she raised two girls with ZERO family around. I digress.. So every summer until my 20's we would go back to Belgium to see her side of the family (dad, sister, two brothers, and lots and lots of cousins). I LOVED it! Sometimes I felt more at home there than I did in NY. My sister and I traveled, went to camp, the beach, it was basically like we lived there for the summer.
I can't remember if we were flying to or returning home from Europe but when I was about seven years old I became violently ill while on an airplane. It must have been a virus or food poisoning and it was BAD. The incident left me traumatized and scarred. My phobia didn't happen overnight but by the next few flights I had a full blown fear of flying. My fear wasn't that something would happen to the plane...it was more the out of control feeling and being afraid of getting sick while up in the air with nowhere to go. It seems crazy now as I type it but for me the anxiety was so real. By my teenage years I dreaded going to Belgium because I hated flying so much. I would have rather given up my favorite place on earth if it meant not getting on a plane. Luckily my parents didn't let that happen and until college they forced me fly. Panic attacks and all. After college my husband inherited the problem! I even tried flight simulation therapy for people with flying phobias. Just the noise triggered me! Finally I tried a more holistic approach and didn't focus as much on the plane itself but more on the side effects of my anxiety: nervousness, heart palpitations, sweating. Now through breathing excercises and essential oils my fear has become manageable. Its not gone! But I've become much better at dealing with it. This summer we're headed back to Belgium with both kids and I know I'll have to be strong especially for Luke who notices everything. Wish me luck!