The Monster in Your Closet

It is the middle of the night and you are a child. You wake up feeling uneasy or maybe downright scared. You look at the closet door and are sure there is something there. You try to be brave and on most nights you succeed. Then there are those nights when the scratching at the closet door is just too much and you cry out for mom or dad.

They chase the monster away, for tonight at least.

Then you got older and you made a deal with the monster. You agreed that you are too old to be scared of such things and you felt better and for years and years the monster seemed to have gone away.

Only it hid in your dreams and you would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night. You were in a cold sweat and you told yourself it was just a dream. You smiled because just last night your four year old son called you into his room to deal with his monster, who lives under his bed. You are so glad that you are a grown up now. You know that there are no monsters under beds or in the closet.

And the monster bided its time.

Until one day, you life hits a big snag. Maybe it’s a divorce or a lost job, or a death in the family or an illness. It could be anything that knocks your carefully constructed adult mind off balance.

One night you wake up shaking and you look at the closet and there is that monster. It was patiently waiting until you were most vulnerable, until things were not going so well and your illusion of safety in life was shattered.

It sticks its head out and grins at you and says, “Hello, did you think you could keep me in the closet forever? Let’s do lunch, you and me, like old friends, and talk about what really scares you: what is behind your nightmares, your worse fears. I know you better than anyone. Isn’t it time you got to know me?”

After all these years, when there is no mommy or daddy to call for help, the monster in the closet slinks out, its eyes yellow, its claws sharp. It pulls down the covers and crawls right into bed with you and there is no hope of putting it back in the closet.

Meditation on My Monster

I tell myself that my fears are rational; they are about money, or my job, failure, death, illness, my kids, etc etc. When my monster started visiting, I was too young for these rational fears. What is my monster really?

I will embrace my monster and find out what really scares me. Then I will take a deep breath, and walk hand in hand with my monster into a new future.

About almondhead

I am a mental health counselor in private practice. One of the focuses of my practice is helping people with fear, anxiety and their ugly stepsister, depression. I became a counselor after a long career in the technology world, so naturally, I think of the brain as an engineering problem. It can help to understand something about how the brain works. I decided to start this blog as a way to help other people learn about fear, anxiety and relationship. (All our problems are really about relationships.) You can also find me at:
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