What It's Like To Be A Thrill-Seeker Who Also Has Anxiety

What It's Like To Be A Thrill-Seeker Who Also Has Anxiety

A personal perspective to shed light on one reality of anxiety.

About a year ago, I went skydiving for the second time. Rather than feeling the understandable fear and apprehension that comes with jumping out of a moving airplane, I felt rather relaxed and peaceful, looking down over the rolling green landscape and anticipating the freeing moments of falling. Even the first time I'd done it, I never felt panicked or filled with dread. Certainly I felt a bit nervous, but the real fear part never actually hit me. I trusted the system and the experience not to let me down.

Several months earlier, you could have found me jumping off of cliffs into cold, dark water with my cousins, as we'd done the past several years. I'll ride any roller coaster, go whitewater rafting or zip-lining, boulder over steep rocks or rappel off of towers. Someday, I'd love to cage dive with sharks, scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef or hang over the edge of Victoria Falls in Devil's Pool.

Heights and speed don't bother me, and thrills are something I seek out, rather than avoid.

But I also struggle with day-to-day anxiety. I am someone who looks at a thrilling experience as nothing but exhilarating, but fear things most people never even consider.

As a result of a previous accident, I often panic as a passenger in a car. I feel anxious in small spaces or large crowds, interacting with large groups of strangers, and when I consider the thought that the people I care about may not care about me in return. My anxiety causes me to have bouts of inexplicable sadness, and sometimes makes me feel as though I've lost control of my own emotions or that I'll drive people away. I get intensely paranoid about things I know full-well are completely unrealistic, and sometimes lose sleep considering terrible what-ifs.

Anxiety is a personal experience. It can't be generalized or standardized among the thousands of people that have it. You can't look at me and say: "Everything makes you anxious or afraid," because that's so far from the truth. And just looking at me, you probably wouldn't have a clue what anxieties and thoughts may be running through my mind, but they're there nonetheless.

I never feel fully comfortable talking about my anxiety or trying to explain it, because in many ways, anxiety doesn't make sense. It's a spectrum, and it can vary hugely from person to person. There's also a sense of discomfort that seems to come when you say that you have anxiety. People still aren't sure exactly how to deal with it, what they can do to help and what might just make things worse.

Once again, this is impossible to pinpoint, as it can be different for every person. But I will say this: My anxiety doesn't make me fragile and breakable. My fears and emotions may not always make sense to you, or even to me–however, I'm trying to let them just be a part of my life, rather than completely command me, and hopefully one day they may be gone altogether. But in the meantime, I can still remind myself that fear won't always control me. Not as long as I'm watching sharks swim below me, zip-lining across a canyon, or jumping out of an airplane.

Cover Image Credit: Original Photo

Popular Right Now

Origin Of Life

A small theory for a very big thing.

One of the most controversial topics to ever face the humans on earth: The origin of life. There are so many different ideas and theories to support, however I’m going to discuss it purely based on scientific research.

It’s estimated that the Earth was formed around 4.5 billion years ago. This estimate comes from measuring the ages of the oldest rocks on Earth, along with the ages of moon rocks and meteorites, from a process called radioactive dating (which means the decay of radioactive isotopes is used to calculate the time of the rocks creation). I would go more into this process, however there’s a lot to discuss about the origin of life, and not rocks.

Imagine this: Earth as we know it now, except back then it’s literally a bunch of flaming rocks. There’s this ball of flaming rocks, and it’s constantly being hit with more, you guessed it, flaming rocks (can also be called meteors). Just a little fact, one of the meteors that hit “earth” hit it so well that the moon was created due to the amount of debri flying around in earth’s orbit. Another little fact, some of those meteors that were plummeting into earth actually contained H20 (water)! There’s now steam in the atmosphere and the temperature is cooling, resulting in an actual ground instead of hot lava. However, the ground doesn’t last long for there’s a lot, i repeat a lot of rain that occurs, therefore creating an ocean. However fear not, land does come back, and with that, we have an earth that is more familiar to us. But wait! Where’s the life? That’s where this origin of life theory i’m going to discuss comes in.

While it’s still not known for sure how life came to be, there is one theory that stands out. During the 1920s, Russian scientist Aleksandr Oparin and English scientist J. B. S. Haldane both (separately) proposed what's now called the Oparin-Haldane hypothesis: life on Earth could have arisen step-by-step from non-living matter through a process of “gradual chemical evolution.” Oparin and Haldane theorized that the early Earth had a reducing atmosphere, meaning an oxygen-poor atmosphere in which molecules are able and tend to donate electrons. Under these conditions, simple inorganic molecules (that traveled from a meteor) could have reacted (with energy from lightning or the sun) to form building blocks such as acids and nucleotides, which could have accumulated in the oceans, making a "primordial soup." The building blocks (monomers) could have combined in further reactions, forming larger, more complex molecules (polymers) like proteins and nucleic acids. The polymers then could have assembled into units or structures that were capable of sustaining and replicating themselves. Oparin thought these might have been “colonies” of proteins clustered together to carry out metabolism, while Haldane suggested that macromolecules became enclosed in membranes to make cell-like structures.

And there you have it, a origin of life theory. While there are many others to discuss, this one made sense to discuss just due to the fact that it kind of covers everything. Now with this gained knowledge, go forth and research more!

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

I Refuse To Apologize For Putting My Mental Health Before My Education

It's OK to not be OK.

I’ve been in college for a long time now. By the time I receive my undergraduate degree I will be 24 going on 25. Some days I think about this and I feel defeated, like I’m far behind where I wanted to be in my life. Then I remember why I’m so far behind and I feel a little bit better about it.

I’ve struggled with various mental illnesses for a large portion of my life. Over the past 10 years at least. It’s been a daily struggle and somedays I can get out of bed and face the day and be perfectly fine, but there are days when I can’t function. AND THAT’S OKAY.

I used to beat myself up for missing a class or having to call into work because I just couldn’t do life that day. As I’ve gotten older I’ve let myself realize that you have to take care of yourself in whatever way works for you. If that means that you have to stay in bed for three days and sleep, then do that and when you feel more yourself face the world and get your life together.

Mental health days have proven to be so important to my life and successfully functioning as a part of society. Yes, maybe it’s taken me a bit longer to get through certain parts of my life, but I’ve moved at a pace that works for me and when I’m finally finished with this chapter of my life I’ll be able to say that I came out happy and healthy and functional.

College is hard. It’s hard for healthy people and it’s definitely hard for those who struggle with any sort of illness, mental or physical.

Over the past 10 years I have come to terms with what my illnesses mean. I can’t be like everyone else all the time and I can’t just pretend everything is fine. The more I tried to ignore my problems, the larger my problems became. In this case ignorance IS NOT bliss, it’s a death sentence.

Everyone in this world will struggle with something at some point in their life and if you’re anything like me you’ll put on a brave face and say that you’re fine…for a while. But there is no shame in not being okay. You can’t be okay all that time. To quote my favorite show, Grey’s Anatomy, “Not everybody has to be happy all the time. That’s not mental health; that’s crap!”

Take that day off. Stay in bed. Eat that junk food that you never let yourself have. Cry. Scream. Drive until you don’t remember why you weren’t okay in the first place. Do whatever it is you need to do to feel okay (within reason. Please don’t do anything unhealthy). Accept that it is okay not to be okay and show the world that, yeah maybe you’re a hot mess, but you’re handling it and you’ll come out better than ever because you took the time to sort out your crap and maintain your mental health instead of rushing through it to please society.

So maybe I’ll be in my 30’s before I finish school, but that’s okay because I’m healthy-ish, I’m happy-sorta, and I did what I needed to do to succeed in my own life and I refuse to apologize for that.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

Related Content

Facebook Comments