I dream big. Sometimes too big, but that’s what I love to do!
But there’s one small problem, I have been battling with anxiety and panic attacks since a kid. It holds me back a lot of the time from doing things I dream of doing. I wish I could do a lot of stuff, but all those ‘stuff’ give me anxiety.
Public speaking, playing soccer, trying something new, talking to people, making new friends.
If life has taught me anything, its that blessings love to disguise themselves as fears.
After reading the book ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’, I realized that I needed to try more stuff and pick up new hobbies. I made a list on paper of things I’ve always wanted to do, and things I would do if I was told I was going to die next week.
Paint balling was on the list. So I went ahead and bought a cheap paintball gun with gear on eBay. I was taking my life back.
It arrived a few weeks after.
But it wouldn’t be another 3 weeks until I built up the courage to go. I kept putting up excuses why I couldn’t go, but I was just really scared.
Scared of what?
Here was the list of fears:
I’ll be a loner
People will think I’m a loner
I will have no one to talk to
I will be the only Hispanic there
People will be racist to me
Crazy huh? So anyways, I asked my dad to go with me. He was down to go. The day came and we woke around 9am, ate and drove down to the paint balling place. As soon as we arrived, I felt like sinking into my seat. Looking out the window I said nervously “I don’t like how there are only white people here. There is no diversity”
Dad: “Then We’ll be the diversity”
I was a bit shocked he said that because I never thought of it like that.
We went in, rented the gear, and I felt everyone staring at us because we stuck out, even though in reality probably no one even noticed us, but I still felt very small. I just put my head down, rented my gear and nervously set up with my dad. (I am happy that I brought my dad along because he gave me courage.)
Anyways, after we got done setting up we picked a table to sit at and waited for the next game.
I heard “Go!” then a lot of loud shooting began. There was a game going on next to us.
(Not mine-Taken from google)
My heart began beating fast. ‘I don’t want to get shot’ I thought. I just sat there, big eyes and shaking. They called game and we went to the entrance along with all the other players. I looked around and felt everyone staring at me. I can’t breath, why is my heart beating fast!? I felt dizzy, I wanted to leave!
(Photo not mine-taken from google)
I then started to have a panic attack believe it or not. It sucked, but I tried staying composed.
I’m glad I was wearing my mask so no one could look at me because I started to gag heavily. I really thought I was going to throw up. I gagged 4 times, and tried to breath long and slow.
We walked onto the field and I felt my throat dry up. There’s no water here…It’s all dry! What do I do!?
Swallowing became difficult for me. So I played with saliva in my mouth hoping I would salivate more and my mouth wouldn’t turn dry.
The game started, and I was more scared than anything and I ended up tagging 3 people hoping the game would end quick! I wanted to leave! I didn’t want to get shot.
As fate would have it while I was walking off the field I ended up getting shot by a stray paintball from another game going on next to us and it hurt! But with that hit, my anxiety eased and my panic disappeared. After that I had the most fun I have had with my dad in years!!!!
(Photo from google)
I retuned stress free and happy.
Now I believe that people with anxiety are actually supposed to be adrenaline junkies, we just don’t know it yet.
I think that because we live in routine boring lives, we build up adrenalin and never release it, so when we do something mildly exciting (Paintballing, public speaking) we get a lot of stored up dopamine hitting us all at once!! It like taking a big hit of a drug you never do, it will get you dizzy and make you throw up.
That’s what I believe goes on with people with a lot of anxiety and panic. We just need to get out there and do more of what we’re scared to do in order to live to our full potential.
What I want you to take away from this story is that fear and anxiety will always linger around. It is our job to follow our to push it down and chase a better exciting life in order to live to our full potential and become free.