Saturday, 16 July 2016

Guest blogger Hollie!


Last weekend I headed to Open Water for the second time and despite the mild panic and uncomfortable level of anxiety, it was significantly more successful this time around. Not to mention, it was much more fun!

I have an issue with my mask. Taking it off, breathing without it and clearing it, all fill me with dread. It is without doubt a completely irrational fear, but no matter how many times I remind myself of that fact, it's a battle to stop my heart racing and my hands trembling.

It's a mental block and I have come to realise that only time and persistence can get rid of it. 

I went to Open Water for the first time back in November, alongside a voice in my head saying I couldn't do it. I panicked when I thought I had gone wrong and bolted for the surface - which was the worst thing I could have done - and in the end I jumped out of the water and refused to go back in (probably the second worse thing I could have done).

I have spent the last few months in the pool, taking my mask off every week to prove to myself that I could do it. As I swam around in South Woodham Ferrers I could feel the panic set in every time Gary's eyes would catch mine. I knew he would call me over and watch me until I accomplished a mask removal. There was no getting out of it and that sort of persistence was exactly what I needed.

I went to Open Water the second time more prepared, physically and mentally, and I persisted. There was no pressure, apart from that which I put on myself, and I knew Gary would have me at the surface in a flash if I went wrong, which I did... a few times.

I cannot fault his patience. He sat on the surface as I mentally prepared myself and simultaneously doubted myself, providing words of encouragement every time I had to come up and persuading me to keep giving it another go. 

Overcoming fear is a process, but nothing beats the feeling of walking out the water with a spring in your step because you had an incredible dive... And the incredible dives make the whole thing worthwhile. Besides, nothing boosts your confidence quite like facing your fears head on.

I left Open Water for the second time, the difference being that I was now a qualified diver. I also left this time knowing that the world wasn't going to end if I got a little water up my nose.

Bring on advanced!! 

5 comments:

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