The Moment Home Readings Buy the Book About The Moments

Fearless Flyer

the elevator dropped several floors, and with it went my confidence in any machinery that propelled humans off the ground.

I sat in the window seat of the airplane on the eve of my 25th birthday, clutching a pill bottle and waiting for death to take over. That feeling of impending doom which left me paralyzed with fear or sent me into a full blown panic attack whenever I stepped foot in a small, confined space. We were taxiing to the runway for takeoff. The feeling should have hit me by now. I was waiting for it, anticipating spending six hours thinking about how the plane was going to crash and how I would die. How we would all die. But something was off this time. The fear and anxiety didn’t grip me like it had for the past thirteen years of panic attacks, tears, loss of control and feeling physically paralyzed by a fear that kept me from taking jobs, taking risks, taking chances, living life.

I was 12 years old when I got stuck in an elevator at Columbia Hospital. It was crowded, people were screaming, the elevator dropped several floors, and with it went my confidence in any machinery that propelled humans off the ground. There were years of biofeedback, some therapy sessions, and practice taking elevators one-floor-at-a-time.

But this time there was something different: a pill no larger than a pearl that my doctor had prescribed. I hated taking pills, but a lifetime lived in fear was a much worse prospect. This tiny pill jump-started my rational thinking. The chemicals helped my brain to release a confidant thought, a truth: The plane will fly and you will arrive safely on the other side of the country. You will be ok. Reason had finally won out over doom. In that moment, sitting on my Jet Blue flight from JFK to LAX, I was filled with calm. No anxiety. No fear. The plane sped down the runway, the wheels lifted up, and we began our ascent.

Comments

No comments yet, why not leave one of your own?



Leave a Comment or Share Your Story

Please Sign In. Only community members can comment.

The Moment Book

Moments from the SMITH Community

Tomorrowland "Daisy, F3," my son Archer says as we pull into our parking spot. Disneyland’s about to open and we've arrived, just the two of us, our last hoorah before school starts. *** The alarm goes off and I pull the pillow tightly over my head. My husband, Hal, offers to wake the kids so I roll over, fall back asleep until Archer's voice wakes me, this time for good. "Hi, Mommy. It's …
Line Break
With Both Hands Whenever I think of my mother, my mind flips to this story. Not to the whole story, but right to the middle of it, the worst moments of it. For me, that's where the story always starts. My mother was beating the hell out of me. The first few blows seemed to come from every direction as I grabbed my nightgown and pulled it over my head, not …
Line Break
Reasons to be Thankful By Robert Israel They scraped me off the street, my bicycle in a heap nearby, and ever so gingerly placed me on the gurney. A crowd of curious onlookers watched intently, thankful they were not being loaded onto the ambulance. The nurses at the hospital were calming as nurses are wont to be, and administered an intravenous tube of morphine, and soon everything around me became fuzzy and numb, and the …
Line Break
Read More Community Moments →
 
SMITH Magazine

SMITH Magazine is a home for storytelling.
We believe everyone has a story, and everyone
should have a place to tell it.
We're the creators and home of the
Six-Word Memoir® project.