Worse place to be when you have anxiety is in a place where you don’t see an exit or feel like there isn’t a way out. Things can easily go from 0-60 in a matter of seconds.
As one of the Sunday school teachers I attended an outing that was held for some of our older kids to play laser tag. It’s a great time to bond with the kids and get to know them better outside of church. Though I was a excited to go I was also anxious about going because of my anxiety. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to fulfill my commitment, which in itself can be even more anxiety provoking. I was also remembering the previous year when I was to attend the bowling outing and how that morning I had a panic attack. I wasn’t even able to attend and had to cancel last minute which left me sad and disappointed in myself.
As I walked thru the doors I began to panic, heart palpitations kicked in, adrenaline began rushing thru my body, and I hadn’t even got inside the room to play yet. There was this moment where I stood in the middle of this arcade room waiting our turn to go in and a flood of memories rushed thru me of when I was a kid and the fear that I had to be left alone without my mom. I just wanted my mom there with me. A sense of abandonment and loss of my mom came over me. Unfortunately my mom passed away when I was 18, quickly, and I was not ready to say goodbye. A too familiar memory that I had long pushed back to prevent having to deal with the emotions of this loss.
We were called into our room to begin battle….
I stepped inside this dark room listening to this lady explain the rules and all I can think of was “get me out of here!” Lights flashing everywhere from our bright laser pack guns and kids running & screaming, adrenaline increasing, and my anxiety kept rising. I tried to be present and do my best but there were moments I’d go looking for a small dark corner to hide, take a breath, and get myself together to go back out. At one point I just wanted out and I went looking for the exit, following the signs, it led me to a dead end, no door, with no one around to let me out. I guess they camouflaged the doors so that it blends in with the walls. What do you do when there’s no exit in site? There is always a way out, always. I could have gone to look for one of the worker or any of the other teachers there to help me to get out but I didn’t. I continued to just give myself positive talk and affirmations so that I could get thru. I ended up going thru both rounds and even landed in second place on the second round! Though my circumstance did not change and it was difficult, I chose to stay in the game and do my best. On my way home I broke down in tears from the rush of emotions I felt but I realized that it was a victory for me because a year ago I didn’t even make it to the place, and this year not only did I make it, but I stayed thru the whole thing.
Though it may seem small its important to take these moments and celebrate our victories. Recognize these moments and know that little by little you’ll get there. It’s not always going to be this way, things can, and will get better. God wants us to stay the course, he doesn’t promise things will be easy he actually says the opposite, that we will experience hardships. It’s our perspective and what we do with it that changes everything. Though this was very hard for me to do and many times I wanted to quit, I chose to stay in the game and do my best. God did the rest, he carried me thru, he revealed things that I had been trying to push back, but most importantly he said “I am here, I am with you, and it’s going to be ok.”