As someone who has suffered a lot from panic attacks and anxiety I really feel for this kid. For those saying he should just "man up" and his parents should give him a beating really don't know anything as they have never lived with this. Yes he would get home by air but those few hours would be some of the most horrific imaginable. Some of my travel stories include:
When I was in Manchester for a day trip from London I suffered an episode while in the airport to come back. I was convinced I was about to have a heart attack and walked around the terminal with my hand on my chest like a madman just going round and round for half an hour. I was totally convinced if I got on the plane I would go into cardiac arrest. Anyway I made it to the train station and got a train back to London. For the 2 and a half hour train ride I sat in the doorway (it was packed) staring at the floor petrified. I got to Euston station and could barely walk as I felt so out of my body (depersonalisation is a common experience with anxiety). I tried to go into the underground but there was no way. I walked outside and asked for a bus to Paddington to get the Heathrow Express. I could barely talk. Somehow I made it to the bus stop and then Paddington and then Heathrow. I had never for a second stopped worrying I was about to die since Manchester. In these states your real life becomes exactly like a dream and not reality and it is scary as hell. Words you hear you barely comprehend and actions you take don't feel like your own. I drove home still petrified and could barely even speak a word to my parents and just went to bed and slept. The next morning I was ok.
When in Madeira with my aunt I had been going through some personal issues and been feeling a little strange. After a week something snapped. My reality became very weird and it was scary as hell. My main feeling was to get off the island and get home. We called a doctor right then (it was night) and they gave me some medication for it but I was too scared to take it. The next day we came home and I was terrified of the flying. I spent the whole time in an isle seat trembling staring at the same page of the in-flight magazine. Nothing anyone would have said to me would have made me experience that any better.
I have many other experiences with anxiety and stuff which include calling ambulances at 3am in Switzerland and checking myself into hospitals and stuff. For me though Valium (diazepam) does help a lot. The first time I took it I was petrified it was going to give me a heart attack but then the doctor explained nicely and convinced me and I took it and felt a lot better. For a few years I took it wherever I went and it helped me a lot just knowing I had something even if I didn't use it. However for this kid it appears medication didn't help (and I would be surprised if they didn't have Valium or something like it in the UAE).
It is not a nice place to be. I have been mugged and stabbed and undergone brain surgery but none of it has been even 1 percent as scary as the two events I described above. Being a nervous flyer is one thing but when your body "locks down" just getting to the airport it is more like a mental illness.
|Quoting Quokkas (Reply 3):|
The UAE is very strict when it comes to drugs and many over the counter medicines in other countries can only be carried if you have a valid prescription.
It is ironic then that my aunt who used to work at the UAE embassy in London used to use an embassy contact pharmacy to get us whatever prescription drugs we wanted without a prescription! I'm sure we've bought Valium from them a few times!
Sorry for the long post.
[Edited 2012-08-01 18:46:22]