EXORCISING THE FEAR

Fernando Schnabl lost his wife and five year old son when Flight 447 went down in the ocean earlier this summer. Did you know that he and his daughter boarded an earlier flight because of their fear of flying together “in case something happened”?

The fiery accident on New York’s Taconic Parkway took the lives of a 9, 7, 5 and 2 year old.

A local family’s two year old died after he drowned in the pool.

What happens to you when you read or hear about these tragic accidents?

Physically, I seize up in terror. I can feel my heart pound. My throat tightens up. I fight back tears. And then my mind does something so horrible that I can barely function: I imagine ZGirl or XBoy in that situation. Like right now, I’m doing it.

And that’s why I must write about it. It’s been happening a lot recently. It started one night shortly after the crash of 447 as I was just on the verge of falling asleep when suddenly the mental picture of my daughter’s lifeless and tiny body floating out there alone and cold came to me in searing imagery …I started to hyperventilate… even now, trying to describe the morbid thoughts, I am fighting to control myself, to breathe.

I must purge these thoughts. I have to find a way to banish these visions that send me to the bathroom retching in fear. I must face these mental demons before they consume me. My husband wants to go to the beach next year. A few months ago, I would have anticipated the chance to finally take a vacation. But now I have become so paranoid that all I could do was answer, “We’ll see.” I don’t want to get on a plane with my children. I can’t explain what is going on in my head to Mr. DD. He would only tell me that I’m worrying needlessly; enabling what was once a non-existent phobia.

Is this normal? Not just to fear the worst, but to imagine the worst? I feel paralyzed and that in some way, it’s a sick mind that allows imagery of such awfulness.