Aquaphobia

Everyone should be used to my not following the daily prompts closely. When I need help with a topic, I’ll peruse the past week’s topics and see if something sounds interesting.

Somehow, I missed this one from November 19: What’s the thing you’re most scared to do? What would it take to get you to do it?

Now, this isn’t asking what I’m most scared of, just what I’m most scared to do. If I thought long and hard about it, I might come up with something else, but this is the one that came to mind first: SCUBA diving.

Here’s the thing: I’m not afraid of water per se, but I am afraid of water over my head especially if I’m not wearing a life preserver or using some other type of floatation device. Yes, I know how to swim, but I’m not a strong swimmer. And yes, I can date this fear back to a specific event which I’m not going to get into today, since the question was about the fear, not what created it.

People who know me might point out that I’ve been snorkeling.

Snorkeling

Do you know what my poor roommate put up with to get me to that point? Near panic attacks as we practiced on the beach, that’s what. We’ve been twice, once in the Bahamas and once in Australia, and I’m glad I went. Both times I also had a floatation device AND someone with me and I was still nervous. It was amazing to see everything, particularly on the Great Barrier Reef, but I was also very relieved to get out of the water.

And that’s just snorkeling.

I cannot imagine willingly removing the floatation device and putting all of my trust into a regulator and tank and diving down that far, with pounds of water pressing on me. The thought alone makes my pulse race (not in a good way). SCUBA divers are highly trained and go through drills in a safe environment before they are ever able to go out into open water – all of my parents have been divers at some point – but even that doesn’t comfort me.

Honestly, I don’t know if anything could get me to go SCUBA diving. It would have to be a LOT of money. And it would take a lot of time. I would want to spend time learning to be a better swimmer, something I’d like to do anyway, and would probably have to learn to be desensitized to not being able to stand up in the water.

There are times in life when this fear bothers me more than others. Right now, in landlocked Chicago, I’m not too bothered. After all, it’s not keeping me from doing anything I want to do right now. But I might want to learn to surf some day and the fact that this would keep me from doing so does bother me. I made myself overcome the fear to go snorkeling on vacation, but I had floatation devices that helped. Someday, I think I’ll find a YMCA that teaches adult swim lessons and take some. Maybe surfing could be in my future. Who knows?

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