Facing My Fears - The Extreme Way
I'll start this off by saying that I'm the biggest wimp. I repeat, I am THE biggest wimp. TLDR, moral of the story, you CAN do anything.
Sometime in my early college years before my anxiety got really bad, my boyfriend and I were gifted two tickets to go skydiving. The alarm bells instantly went off in my head and I thought there was no way I could physically be capable of jumping out of a plane. I decided that I hated flying for starters, and I hated feeling out of my wits so I for sure thought that falling freely through the sky would definitely trigger an attack.
The tickets being a gift, I felt obligated to make a reservation and at least make an attempt and say I tried. But, like anyone with anxiety would do, I committed the horrible habit of looking of Youtube videos of other people skydiving and watched in horror.
The day came and my boyfriend and I drove to Hollister, California for our sky diving adventure. When we arrived at the location, we were told our trip up in the air would be delayed due to weather. We waited and waited and watched several other people come down from the sky. Of course, the wait just gave me time to think deeply about everything that could go wrong. I distinctly remember a woman walking back from her trip down from the sky and vomiting into a bush. Great.
After who knows how long of agonizing waiting, it was our turn. We geared up and met our instructors and the fear began to sit in. Thank goodness my instructor, Ashley, was super nice and genuinely excited for me. That helped ease my terror.
I begrudgingly climbed into the tiny plane (repeat - I hated planes) and tried to give it the "here goes nothing" mindset while my heart throbbed out of my chest. The whole plane ride up I practiced breathing and tried to stay as calm as possible. I don't know if it was the pure adrenaline or actual real fear that kept my body from digressing into a full panic attack.
Once we reached our height, the plane door opened an my boyfriend and his instructed scooted towards the opening. Down the went!
I swear to you in that moment I was 100% going to tell my instructor that I could not do it.
She scooted us to the edge of the plane and I was rehearsing in my mind how I was going to tell her I couldn't do it.... see photos of my shear terror at the edge of the plane below:
Lol at how happy my instructor is.
Before I had time to find my words, we were out! Rolling through the sky.
At this point, what was going through my head was "I really can't get out of this and it's happening so I'm just going to enjoy it". And that, my friends, is what I shoot to live by everyday.
To this day, I still cannot believe that I did that, but I did! Whenever I'm super anxious, I think back to this situation -- "Holy crap I literally jumped out of an airplane and plummeted to earth". This really goes to show your panic attacks can bluff. Even then when my anxiety wasn't as severe, I truly did not believe I could do that without spiraling into a panic attack. The most powerful thing I could do was roll with the punches, accepting that I wasn't going to get out of the situation so I decided to make the best of getting through it. As a reward, I got some pretty cool photos too.