Help Working on Fear of Flying

Thanks for helping me with this.

Background: I was abused by my first husband, it was a long time ago and I am in a good place now. I have a loving second husband who is amazing and I have done a lot of work on my thoughts and feelings about husband #1. I believe that he never meant to hurt me, he loved me the best way he knew how and he did the best he could at the time. He hurt me because he was in pain and that was his outlet. I know I did the right thing when I left him and I long ago forgave him for what happened. That said, I still occasionally struggle with claustrophobia from the events that occurred. I am so much better, I can ride elevators now and be in crowded places and I do very well. Elevators were my nemesis for a long time and I’ve got that now, I know how to calm myself and breath through any feelings that come up.

What I have not done is fly. My claustrophobia presents itself as feelings of panic when I cannot get out of a space, when I feel trapped, and I have always considered a plane a great big trap (I get now that my thinking about planes is causing my feelings/reactions). That being said, I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to come to Dallas when I am a VIP and it is time for the modelthon. I see coming to the modelthon and meeting you as a huge reward for facing this fear. I have been working on my thinking, but am still getting anxious at the idea of a 4-hour plane ride. I have only been on a plane once since my divorce and it was only a 60-minute flight, it was 11 years ago and it was not so pretty. Panic, hyperventilating, tears, overwhelming sense of dread, you get the idea. I am looking for advice on how to work though this, so I can make this trip. I am bound and determine to face this, it is the final remaining hurdle for my claustrophobia. Plus, at 54.6# lighter I should fit better in the seats LOL!

Today when I rode the elevator, I thought to myself, if you get stuck in here what would you do, you can handle it, it will be okay. And even though my breathing sped up a little and my stomach got tight at the thought of being stuck, I handled it. I am looking for additional suggestions on how to get prepped for this that don’t include massive amounts of alcohol or Xanax! Chad (my hubby) keeps saying something about BA from the A team, I don’t know the reference but I suspect that is not what I want either. I want to be clear headed, face this and not indulge in panic. I know I will be stronger on the other side. I think it is the idea of the 4 hours that is getting me, that would be the longest I have ever had to manage the sensations.

Thanks in advance for helping me figure this out.