Last September I decided to jump out of a plane.
Things seemed to be spiralling. I felt like I had no control over anything around me and my anxiety was at an all-time high. I wanted to do something that would bring back my sense of control. Because that’s what anxiety is – having no control. And because my brain works backwards, in order to gain back control, I had to lose it completely.
Skydiving is the epitome of having ZERO control. The second your body flings itself from the aircraft, you pretty much can’t do anything but fall. You’re plummeting towards the earth at 200km/h and there’s nothing you can do about it. You just accept it, and fall.
With that in mind, I booked my jump.
I’ve always been a control freak. I’ve always needed things to work out perfectly. And if they didn’t – anxiety. It’s a vicious cycle to find yourself in. Constantly trying to be perfect and feeling like a failure when you’re not. It’s impossible to function with your brain on that kind of loop. I guess I saw skydiving as a complete reset. Control + ALT + delete.
I had no idea the things skydiving would teach me. As a person with anxiety, I’m so thankful that I decided to push myself to that limit. It will always be an experience that has given me perspective.
So what did skydiving do for me as a person? Here are the three top things.
1. Pure bliss. Utter and complete silence.
As I’m sure many people with anxiety understand, the thoughts in your head can often be deafening. It’s a background noise that we constantly live with. But when I jumped from the plane, I couldn’t hear a single thing: both literally, and metaphorically. The voice in your head is silent. There’s just nothing. You’re there, your alive, and you’re falling. It might sounds strange to describe it as peaceful, but it’s pure bliss. For those 60 seconds, the world was so kind to me.
2. Made me feel alive.
When you suffer from anxiety, you often question if there’s anything that isn’t going to challenge you. When will things get easier? But as you’re free falling, you don’t care. People’s opinions, your own fears, and all expectations are left back on the plane that’s fading away above you. You’re entirely your own. You’re light as feather that’s flying towards the earth and you can’t help but feel like everything must have a way of working itself out.
3. Put my anxiety in perspective.
When your parachute finally pulls you upwards, it’s a strange type of wake up call. I remember feeling extremely emotional. I wanted to cry. Because you just want to feel like that forever. You want to feel that confident and at peace with yourself for the rest of your life. In many ways, it made me feel silly for thinking anxiety could control my life. By leaping from a plane, I let go of everything. I allowed someone else to be in complete control of my life and let the universe’s plan pan out in front of me. If I can let go like that, I can do it for the smaller things in life too. Anxiety doesn’t need to be in control – I can be.
I really expected my skydiving experience to help me gain back the control I had lost. But at the end of the day, I got something better.
I discovered that some things simply aren’t that important. Some things, anxiety isn’t allowed to touch. There are things I can control, and things I can’t. I am fully capable of having a life that is allowed to be my own, and anxiety isn’t going to stand in my way.
Sometimes, when my anxiety tries to argue with me, I remind myself that I jumped from a plane. If I can face that, I can face anything.
The greatest things in life are on the other side of anxiety, fear, and expectation. Live a life that allows you to walk on the other side.