Conquering my inner monster

Lani Abelson, Copy Editor

In life, we are bound by family, friendships, aspirations and choices. I, however, am bound by something else as well. I am bound by fear.

As a child, I cowered at every door slam, refused to step foot in an elevator and always checked the closets and under the beds for monsters. While for most, these childish anxieties disappear around age 6, mine lasted for quite a while longer, and as I got older, my problems just seemed to worsen.

At age 7 I jumped at the sound of every car honk and several traumatic events occurred in my life in very short succession. To say the least, I was an emotional train wreck. Of course my derailment just had to happen when my father, a doctor, was out of town.

The day my train careened off the track started out like any other. However, as I brushed my American Girl Doll’s hair, my ears started ringing and my heart raced. I felt like Alice in Wonderland, falling down a rabbit hole with no end in sight.

This event is called a panic attack. My mom called 911 and the paramedics flew into our house wielding oxygen masks and tanks. To this day, that  was one of the most defining moments in my life.

Since that fateful event 10 years ago, I had to deal with worsening anxiety issues. However I started improving after receiving help from a team of specialists, otherwise known as my extended family.

Sure, there were bumps in the road like when I heard about a kid who choked and died. For a year, my diet consisted of pudding and soup. However, I no longer cried on airplanes and I retired my trusty night light. Life was starting to look up for little Lani.

I finally understood Franklin D. Roosevelt’s line, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” My biggest hurdle was conquering my anxiety.

So, I started taking more risks. I even flew nine hours to Switzerland.  While I cursed my faults before, I am now grateful for my weakness. I successfully defeated one monster in my closet and overcame an obstacle.

It is important to learn that it’s not the problems that define us, but how we triumph over our difficulties that counts. An “F” will not make or break us, it’s how we move on from the “F” that defines us. A loss in soccer will not stay with us for the rest of our lives, but whether we learn from our mistakes or wallow in defeat will determine how we deal with future situations. Always remember, the monster under the bed is never as scary with the lights on.