When irrational fears take over your sanity. Welcome to my world.
I have always feared flying. While writing this I am sitting on a plane to Paris so obviously, the fear never stopped me from traveling, but it´s still always there. Somehow, I convinced myself that to survive a flight I have to follow a set of rituals involving a necklace I always have on, touching the plane from the outside as we board, and, probably the most time consuming and socially awkward when traveling with people, counting in my head from take off until the seatbelt sign is off. If anyone from a mental institution is reading this, they are probably on their way to get me right now with a giant butterfly net. (Well I’ll be in Paris!).
I can’t really explain where these rituals come from, but they are there. They have been there for as long as I can remember and clearly, it has always “worked”. And spare me the whole “planes are safer than cars” speech, I’ve heard it many times before. I have also noticed that the bigger the plane the more scared I am, which makes absolutely no sense. Ok, I was terrified and praying for my life in the 10 seats Tara Air flight from Lukla to Kathmandu, but in my defence it’s the most dangerous airline in the world, I am pretty sure everyone peed their trekking pants. But in general, the bigger the plane, the more worried I am.
I am also afraid of very large cruise ships coming into port. Don’t even ask me why and how. I have no problem getting on them, but seeing them from afar makes me very uncomfortable. Then there is the whole hypochondriac issue when each little pain is Googled, each mosquito bite is dengue fever or malaria while traveling in Asia, each little cut can turn into gangrene and each headache into brain tumour.
How do I get anything done you ask? It’s a constant inner struggle between this part of me who’s afraid of everything and the part of me who’s rationalising and relying to facts and common sense. It´s the second part that wants to be able to explore, discover and try new things and thank God, it´s most of the time the part of me that wins, even though the fear is always there lurking in the shadows.
However, lately I started to get tired of this constant struggle between rational and irrational thoughts. I want to be stronger than this. Because I am a sane (yes yes) 31-year-old who is in control of her life (mostly) and because fear does not prevent danger from happening.
Today I did not count during take-off and until the seatbelt sign was switched off. And since you can read this, I made it there alive! First step towards OCD freedom.
By: Morgane Oléron