Yesterday, I took my scuba diving refresher course. We’re going to be diving in the Philippines a bit (Apo Island). It’s been several years since I went scuba diving, so a refresher was a must.
I don’t think that I’m a nervous nelly. Usually. I’ll try almost anything (in terms of outdoorsy, sports-like stuff). I’ve spent days hiking in Africa, I’ve zip-lined, I’m a swimmer, etc. Scuba diving should not be scary.
BUT IT IS SO SCARY.
Before I even jumped into the pool yesterday (THE POOL!!!), I was in my head, nervous.
It might be because I’ve only done a few open water dives. The ones in the quarry where I was certified were no big deal. The ones in the Bahamas were awesome but scary.
That holy shit moment when you’re on the ocean floor, looking at colors that aren’t painted there. That’s surreal. And awesome. And, did I mention, scary.
It’s not the threat of sharks.
Maybe it’s because I’m a swimmer, trained to hold my breath while swimming, racing, etc. I’m a life-guard, trained to fight to get people who are underwater above water.
The feeling of knowing that I can breathe with the regulator, but really kind of freaking out because I’m 30-70 feet below and can’t “pop up” if I freak out… that’s intimidatingly, nerve-wreckingly, scary.
I’ve got to get out of my head.
I’ve got to slow my breathing and enjoy the scenery.
I’ve got to trust my regulator and my dive-master, not to mention my rescue-diver certified husband.
But mainly, I’ve got to get out of my head.
When I dove for the first time in the Bahamas, my mask filled with water as soon as I got to the ocean bottom. I KNEW I could breathe, but I definitely couldn’t see and I freaked out. Legitimately freaked out. The dive master came over, knew I was a nut-case and cleared my mask for me, but that was one of the scariest moments of my life.
They train you to “keep calm if you lose air”…. REALLY? REALLY? Keep calm. Hey, you can’t breathe, but just keep calm. Use your buddy’s octo… you’re fine.
Until I die.
Anyway, I recognize that I am over-reacting (and totally freaking my parents out), but I also recognize that this fear is 100% in my head. Hopefully, getting it out will help.
Apparently you’re not supposed to talk yourself out of feeling scared. Apparently you’re supposed to picture the worst thing that can happen and get comfortable with it.
So…. comfortable with death. Umm….
I practiced clearing my mask A LOT yesterday.
And there are a LOT of beautiful things below the surface that I’ll never see if I get scared.
And J promises that he’ll hold my hand the entire dive.
And I CAN breathe. Even if I can’t see, I can breathe.
Apparently you can even throw-up through your regulator and it will just pass right through.
Good to know.
Breathe. Breathe. Calmly. Breathe.