Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Fear

I'm not scared of the things that make a lot of people go a bit wibbly. Spiders? I'll happily scoop them up and toss them outside. Mice? Whatever. Snakes? I wouldn't cuddle a poisonous one but I did once play with a Boa. Heights? I wouldn't bungee jump but otherwise not really bothered. Flying? Bring it on.

So it's a bit embarrassing to admit that my one major fear is being submerged in water. Yes, I realise it's completely irrational, especially since I can swim, but what I'm simply terrified of is my head being under water. Whenever it happens I go into panic mode and immediately forget that trying to breathe under water really isn't a smart idea. The only time I can do it - and I've forced myself to go under water in the past to see if I can get over the fear - is if I talk to myself constantly to calm myself down whilst holding my nose, not really very useful when taken by surprise. The last time I panicked and inhaled water was at Dreamland Aqua Park and it really wasn't pleasant, especially as I was trying to prove to the kids at the time that I'm not a total wuss... talk about crash and burn.

I've tried really hard not to infect my kids with my foolishness and thankfully they've turned out to be fairly reasonable, if not super-brave, swimmers who are happy to dive-bomb and do all the usual stuff that kids do in the pool.  But two incidents this week make me realise quite how rubbish I am.

The Small(er) One got into trouble at the local pool on Sunday. There she was, bobbing up and down in the pool, shouting "help!", out of her depth and with real fear on her face. I jumped in immediately and swam across to her reasonably quickly, but afterwards I realised that I would have made it a lot more quickly if I'd been able to swim underwater. And what if I hadn't been watching her so intently? What if she'd been in far deeper water and I'd needed to dive down to pull her out? Yes, of course I would have tried, no question, but there's no guarantee that the panic wouldn't have taken over - then I would have been useless.

Secondly, I've been taking Baby Belly to baby swim classes for the past month or so to try and give her a bit of a head start. Lots of fun with splashing and singing games, she loves it. But this week I had to put her head under the water - only for a moment and I know it's completely safe - yet I found it incredibly difficult to carry out; basically, I felt the fear on her behalf. The teacher had to put Bells under for me it in the end, which led to me to shamefacedly confess my stupid fear.

As a result, this teacher is giving me a one-off lesson next week. She claims she'll be able to cure me in one hour. I'm not so sure - I really am a hopeless case - but I very much hope she'll at least put me on the path of being able to enjoy being in the water. One day, I would love to be able to dive-bomb with the kids, go to a water park without nearly drowning, scuba dive and jump off the highest diving board... all this must feel amazing.

Wish me luck.


Anonymous said...

Kate S, had a friend who had the same thing, and I managed to get her over it. Started with scuba gear with a mask, breathing compressed air in the shallow end of a pool. 20 mins. Then practiced taking the regulator out of her mouth, then gradually went on to remove the mask.

Took about an hour, but after that she was right as rain!

If your lesson doesn't work, update the blog, and I'll reveal my identity and offer to help!

Anonymous said...

Kate, you can do it! Good luck.
Love, mimi s

Kate S. said...

Thanks Anons. I will see what happens in the lesson, maybe a miracle will occur!

Anonymous said...

Kate, please let me know how it went. I have the exact same issue with being under water. It started when I was young and unintentionally/unexpectedly found myself at the bottom of a pool. I was immediately pulled out, but allowed to "sit it out" while everyone else played merrily. How I wish I had been encouraged to get back in. Curious how the swim lesson went!