Schizoaffective Anxiety and Flying in an Airplane

May 9, 2024 Elizabeth Caudy

I recently flew in an airplane, and it triggered my schizoaffective anxiety. Here’s how my schizoaffective anxiety was affected by flying in an airplane.

Schizoaffective Anxiety When I Last Flew on an Airplane

I was anxious about flying again after many years, not because I was afraid of the plane crashing or a door flying off but because I was very afraid of airport security. And I had a right to be. Airport security is downright dehumanizing—especially when flying out of O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. That was the departure point from where my mom and I were flying to visit my brothers, sister-in-law, nieces, and other family in California. Airport security has gotten worse since the last time I flew to New York to visit old college friends and see a Diane Arbus exhibit in 2005. It is true that I had a lot less schizoaffective anxiety than I did when I flew to New York in 2005, but airport security has also tightened since then.

Flying with Anxiety Now

When my mom and I were going through airport security at O’Hare, I had to go in a separate line from my mom because she is almost 75. I know I’m a grown, 45-year-old adult, but I needed to be near my mom because the whole process of flying in an airplane with schizoaffective anxiety was overwhelming. So, I started crying when I was standing in line to go through security alone. I am no stranger to crying jags, so I knew how to get it together before I had to talk to security personnel. It was also difficult taking off my shoes to go through the x-ray machine because I’ve recently had knee replacement surgery.

Because of this difficulty, the trip back from San Francisco to Chicago was just as bad. When I got to airport security, I told them about the recent knee surgery and the difficulty taking off my shoes and standing up. I asked for a chair. They kept scanning my shoes while they were still on my feet. The scans didn’t clear my way. Five minutes later—a long time when you’re standing around being scanned—a supervisor came by and asked me if I could take my shoes off if I were sitting in a chair. I said yes.

One of my brothers, Billy, had told me that the airport security in San Francisco was more laid back than at O’Hare. Based on my experience, the system in the Bay was not aggressive but just plain incompetent. And while it’s great that I no longer need a cane to walk and, for all intents and purposes, can walk normally, if slowly, it means that, as I continue to heal, I now, for the time being, have two invisible disabilities. My knees, while still healing, are an added challenge to my mental illness.

Even if flying on an airplane triggered my schizoaffective anxiety, it was great seeing my family. I want to tell my family how much I loved being in the Bay Area with them. It was worth all the airport dramas. I just don’t like flying because of my schizoaffective anxiety. But I love them all, and it was great to see them.

APA Reference
Caudy, E. (2024, May 9). Schizoaffective Anxiety and Flying in an Airplane, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 30 from

Author: Elizabeth Caudy

Elizabeth Caudy was born in 1979 to a writer and a photographer. She has been writing since she was five years old. She has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, Tom. Find Elizabeth on Google+ and on her personal blog.

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