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By Anon
#1531435
I appreciate this is perhaps not the usual sort of post to be found in IHTM but I hope the mods will appreciate the reason for wishing to post anonymously. I apologise for it being a rather long and perhaps rambling in places post, but hopefully at least some of you can bear with me until the end!

It's a post that I have been sitting on for a month or so, but since mental health seems to be appearing much more regularly in the mainstream news of late...now seems as good a time as any.

Let me give a brief run-down of my flying history since I’m posting anon today (I don’t know if anyone will recognise my identity from some of these details):

I’d been training towards NPPL (for un-related medical reasons) 2002-2005 and got to the stage of solo in the circuit. Mid-2005, I took a break from flying under the guise of running out of time/money. Whilst there was element of that, the reality was that I was going through a relationship breakup and was not in the right mental state to be in the cockpit.

There followed a difficult few years, for a variety of reasons, but eventually things seemed to be on the up and I got myself signed off again with a LAPL medical this time and re-started training in late 2013.

I obviously had to re-do some hours due to the length of time elapsed, but eventually got to the stage of first dual land-away. Then, the problem was/is I haven’t yet made a start on any of the theory exams so my instructor said it’s not worthwhile doing any more flying until I’ve at least made a start on those. Which was fair enough in my mind. That was around early 2015.

But with a busy, mentally draining day-job, I just found that no matter how much I loved and miss the flying, I couldn’t summon up the motivation after a long day’s work or even at the weekends to go and bury my head in the books.

Also just around the time I restarted training, we had bought our first house so a lot of money was going into that, so budget was tight. (Another excuse?)

Fast forward to 2017...and I find myself unfortunately back in the midst of another dip in mental health in the form of depression, but this time along with a bout of anxiety as well.

I’ve sought counselling through a EAP but have not approached my GP. One of the (probably several) reasons for being hesitant about doing so was concern over the impact on my flying medical status, having come across a fair few negative tales.

In any case, with a heavy heart, I’ve decided in myself that now is not the time to continue training, regardless of medical status...and I don’t know when I will get back to it. It’s dis-heartening to find myself in a position of “giving up” on it a second time.

The problem I am finding is that I am really missing the flying, which was always something to look forward to.

I’ve always been quite a quiet and reserved type who has struggled to make connections and friends, so I’ve never really been engaged with the social side of the flying scene, either at my club or in the wider “community”.

I’ve just spent some time wondering if there was some way I could find to make some connections somewhere that would give me an opportunity to experience GA flying again, even just as a pax.

Does anyone know anyone with a similar situation, or have any thoughts?

As an aside, an interesting blog post I came across a while ago: https://mmsba.wordpress.com/2016/12/16/head-filled-with-clouds/
By cockney steve
#1531511
Why not go back to basics? Flexwing microlight is cheaper, slower (usually!) a simpler, shorter training programme and AIUI, If you pick the right licence to start with, an upgrade to a Gp. A is a relatively easy step up.

It sounds at the moment, you have conflicting demands on your time and budget , In itself giving you a load of stress and possibly guilt. You don't say if your partner is supportive. In my case, she was resentful and hostile to my going odd with a pilot mate for a jolly. (even worse- he took her and the kids one day, that backfired big-time, because jealousy was added to the mix.)......yep, she became the "ex".

Get rid of your pressures. It's a hobby! Remember, also, 3-axis Microlights can be virtually identical to a Gp. A aeroplane, but with the much lower costs /complexities. (though, oddly the training-rate isn't much cheaper.

HTH. Disclaimer! As most on here are aware, I'm NOT a pilot.
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By Flyin'Dutch'
#1531551
Anon wrote:I’ve sought counselling through a EAP but have not approached my GP. One of the (probably several) reasons for being hesitant about doing so was concern over the impact on my flying medical status, having come across a fair few negative tales.


I am very sorry to read about your troubles and hope you feel a bit better soon.

However not speaking to your GP on account of fear of a change of flight status would be the wrong thing to do - a) the aim is to get better as soon as possible, irrespective of the flying and b) you have already taken the sensible view that you are current not in the right frame of mind to go flying.

Speak to your GP and get his or her input.
#1532169
Flying brings such joy it's a shame to deny yourself that pleasure whatever you're going through.
As someone who's been married to a clinical psychologist for 20 + years, I would personally skip the GP and 6 month NHS waiting period and just find a local clinical psychologist and book a session. Of course if they recommend you see a GP then obviously follow their advice, but most cases are straightforward.
It's a good first step to getting on top of things.
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By Spooky
#1532468
Have you tried meditation, yoga or anything like that? It helped a friend of mine to overcome her anxiety and depression. Not sure how, but it worked so wouldn't hurt to try :)

As for flying, you can still do it but perhaps do trial flights every couple of months? means you can still do something you love without the pressures of having to immediately progress towards a licence. Plus you have the opportunity to try a variety of aircraft :thumleft:
By Anon
#1532782
Thanks all for the inputs, much appreciated. It's somewhat helpful just to put the thoughts out there.

I do miss flying, but I'm not sure how I would broach the subject with my club as to just being able to take some flights without needing to work toward the syllabus.

It would probably would do me some good just to join in on some of the odd club outings, but struggling to be very outgoing, it's always something I've shied away from, fearing I would be the one in the corner observing everyone else's conversations and not partaking very much! In fact that is often what happened on the occasions I'd stick around the club for a while post-flying... :roll:

It's something I need to give some thought to in time, but my focus of late has (obviously) been on trying to get on top of some of the reasons I find myself in the place I do!

Despite the fact that mental health seems to be something that is being talked about more & more, it's still a very difficult area to admit to struggling with! :pale:
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By Paul_Sengupta
#1532813
Anon wrote:it's always something I've shied away from, fearing I would be the one in the corner observing everyone else's conversations and not partaking very much! In fact that is often what happened on the occasions I'd stick around the club for a while post-flying... :roll:


I wouldn't worry about that, there are some people in aviation who will talk for everyone! :clown:
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By leiafee
#1532826
Anon wrote:I do miss flying, but I'm not sure how I would broach the subject with my club as to just being able to take some flights without needing to work toward the syllabus.


Betcha they'll snap up the rental/instructor-hire money!

The instructor who said 'don't bother without the exams' was almost certainly trying to save you money not put you off / tell y off / lecture you on study habits...

You could let them know if you wanted that there was an issue around getting the medical, withou going into detail- there's a few people at the club I learned with who rent aircraft along with an instructor because they can't or are hesitant to fly solo any more. It's probably not as uncommon as you think.

And it'll put you there for any outings that come up - although not putting yourself under pressure to socialise if the depression makes that aspect hard is worth being gentle with yourself about.

I'd agree with those saying see a GP though. Without trlling anyone to suck eggs- depression isn't 'all in one's head' or just down to depressing circumstances - it can be literally a chemical fact.
By Cessna57
#1533040
My club had a student who was on "lots of hours" without going solo.

He'd declared that some of the flights he just wanted to fly, take pictures and generally enjoy it.
The instructor doing plenty of the actual flying.

Instructors really don't mind this apparently. Remember they enjoy flying too.
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By Morten
#1533043
We also have a couple of older pilots who, for medical reasons, need a safety pilot to fly with them and use an instructor for that. Again, there seems to be no issue with this. A great way for the instructor to get paid - and usually a free lunch as well.

I would also add, and I think many here will agree, that flying itself is therapeutic in many ways. So if your finances allow it, if you can (i) enjoy flying with half an eye on a PPL and (ii) relax whilst you're doing it and feel good as a result, it may not be the cheapest therapy, but it may be a positive one!
And you do not need to be a socialite to enjoy the flying itself, although you may find that it can be an icebreaker; it is likely to be easier to talk to other pilots than to the man in the street. But there is absolutely no obligation to do so.
In other words, don't get stressed about the PPL course, exams, tests etc., but just fly for the fun of it - it's what we all do.

Morten