This past weekend I flew to Dallas for an internet marketing conference. I don’t fly often, so this trip made me feel a little nostalgic. I actually recalled the first time I flew, and that nervous feeling I had leading up to the flight. My fear of flying had nothing to do with safety. I was flying American Airlines so I knew I would be safe. My fear was rooted in the fact that I am neurotic. Logistics scare me. I was worried about checking in, going through security, finding the right gate, and all of the other stress that goes along with travel.
How did I get past this fear? Well, I did what always works for me, research. The first and most helpful thing I did was get the official American Airlines App. This was a huge lifesaver for a neurotic person like me. I could check the status of my flight 20 times an hour, which is not really an exaggeration. Second, I went to the TSA website, and learned about the procedures for security. Finally, the most helpful thing I did was watch the hit 2009 film “Up in the Air,” starring Batman. (George Clooney.) Kidding aside, Clooney’s character in the film offers a bunch of travel tips disguised as exposition.
So, by this point you realize that I am more than two paragraphs in, and I haven’t mentioned Veteran’s Disability yet. I promise I’ll get there, just stick with me. My fear of flying was pretty much eliminated by doing the proper research, fining a method that worked for me, and then execution of what I learned when I felt comfortable. When I flew over the weekend I was pretty relaxed. Even when everyone else was fretting about luggage after our flight to DFW, I was as pretty calm.
What is my point here? I overcame my fear of flying because I found a solution that worked best for me. I can’t imagine how distraught I would have been if I would had just shown up to the airport one day and hoped for the best. I share this story with you because I had a conversation with a Veteran yesterday that really made me ponder the treatment methods of some medical professionals.
The Veteran I was speaking with was younger, served in combat in Iraq, and developed PTSD as a result. He was very pleasant to speak with, and we ended up going in depth in our conversation about his PTSD treatment. Like many other Veterans suffering from PTSD, this gentleman did not like being in large crowds. The doctor he was seeing at the time advised him to conquer his fear by simply going to a film and sitting in the first row. I’m too punk rock to be a doctor, but that does not really sound like a practical solution to a fear of crowds. It’s kind of like the video that surfaced recently of a father who attempted to conquer his son’s fear of skateboarding by knocking him down a large ramp.
After talking with the Vet some more, he stated that the one thing that makes him feel comfortable is talking with his buddies who served in Iraq also. They have shared experiences, and can actually talk about what they are going through. Imagine if instead of conquering that fear of crowds by sitting in the front of the theater by himself, that Vet could see a movie with a group of his fellow soldiers who also served, and had shared experiences. I haven’t served, but I personally rely on my friends who are Vets when I am feeling nervous because I know they have my back. I think it’s safe to say that this is a practical method. But, I’m not a doctor, just someone who uses logic.
What’s the point of all of this? We need to find treatment that works best for us. Regardless if it is a fear of flying, being in a crowded theater or even my totally legit fear of driving in Ohio, finding what works best for us to overcome our fears is the best solution. There is no need to waste time in something that does not work. Treatment for PTSD as whole is very important. However, if your treatment isn’t working, or in some cases, making things worse, then it’s time to find something new. I encourage others to tell me what they find works best in this situation. Are you a Veteran who has an issue with crowded places? If so, what have you done to make this situation more comfortable? Feel free to comment below. You can remain anonymous.
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