I hate flying. People talk about their love of travelling and how excited they get going to the airport. Not me. I get light-headed, shaky, and queasy. My mom is often the unlucky one to sit next to me as I grip her arm during turbulence and yell, "I don't want to die like this!" 

Until I was 17, I loved flying. My parents have a condo in Florida so we'd often visit three or four times a year. I never thought I'd someday need to be flying on anti-anxiety medication.

On one of my flights back from Florida to Toronto at 17, we experienced really bad turbulence. The kind of turbulence that causes the pilots to tell the flight attendants to sit down.

It seemed to come out of nowhere, but I suddenly had feelings of terror and panic, even though we weren't in any real danger.

After that, flying became harder and harder for me. Each flight I took, I would become increasingly more terrified, even though the flights were routine. I would interpret every noise and movement as a signal that something was terribly wrong and we were going down.

The people sitting near me on the plane did not appreciate my screaming. I'd leave the flight feeling like I had just survived a near-death experience.

I became convinced that every time I stepped on a plane, I had to face my mortality. And I am not ready to be okay with dying. Living has been mostly great for me. 

I wasn't used to this level of panic and anxiety. For the most part, I'm an extremely chill person, and I don't worry much. This level of anxiety I was experiencing was new to me, and I had no idea how to cope with it.

This anxiety and panic about flying led to me not flying for almost two years. I know what all the normal people are thinking. They always tell me the odds, "you have more of a chance dying in a car! Or by lightning!" Don't tell me the odds, people. Yes, I know the odds. This does not help

I was determined to kick this, so I talked to my doctor, and he prescribed me Lorazepam (also known as Ativan), a common anti-anxiety medication. "You'll like this," he said, "it'll just take the edge off." Ativan is extremely addictive, so it's great for situations like mine that happen once in a while, but not every day. Also, no booze or you will die. 

I've never taken any sort of brain-altering medication, so I was really nervous. I was nervous about taking a new medication, and I was nervous it wouldn't work and I'd be locked in a sky tube awaiting my impending doom, tears streaming down my face. 

Flying on anti-anxiety medication would be the ultimate test of my airplane phobia.

Two days before my flight, I tested a half dose. I didn't have any weird side effects, and all I felt was a little less freaked out about my flight. 

Then, it was the day of the flight. The moment I was dreading. I didn't want to take it too early and have it wear off, so on the way to the airport and all through security I did my whole song and dance of crying and looking around wondering how everybody was so calm when they were about to risk their lives. 

I took two right before boarding started because I genuinely was NOT going to get on the plane. I was sitting in the lounge with my head in my knees, crying and making squeaking noises. I am an ugly crier and it was a busy flight so this was not ideal. 

Upon getting on the plane, it still hadn't kicked in. My parents told the flight attendants I was terrified and one flight attendant made sure to give me extra attention the whole flight, which was amazing.

Victoria Stevens

Slowly, I felt my body relax. My physical symptoms on the plane are usually a queasy tummy, pounding heart, sweating, shaking, light-headedness, difficulty catching my breath. The pills began to do their job and these physical symptoms faded away. 

By the time the plane took off (about an hour after taking the pills), I was zen. I was so relaxed, other people on the plane probably thought I was normal! During turbulence, I still got a little nervous, but it was nothing compared to what it used to be like. I was able to sit there watching a show and just zen out. 

Victoria Stevens

I sort of expected to fall asleep, but I was awake and alert the whole flight. While I was relaxed, I still knew everything going on in my surroundings and could hold a conversation with my mom. I also thought I might have some funny drug-induced stories, but I got nothing. I just sat there watching my show, unaware of the fact that I was in what could have been a flaming death tube.

I was so normal, you wouldn't believe it. Flying on anti-anxiety medication was like taking a vacation from all my fears.

After the flight, I got a Starbucks in Florida with my Dad, and celebrated finding a solution to a phobia that has greatly impacted my life. 

Victoria Stevens

The pills also helped my anticipatory anxiety. While I still felt incredibly anxious at the airport on the way back, I did not spend my whole trip dreading the flight home because I knew I would take my little happy pills and be fine.

A fear of flying is definitely not ideal, but with my new solution of flying on anti-anxiety medication, I am ready to go! If something happens to the plane, I'll be too zen to notice anyway.