Overcoming My Fear – Part 2 – The Why
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
I have a HUGE fear of water but it hasn’t always been that way. When I was little, my parents signed me up for tons of swim lessons. I never actually learned to do any of the swim strokes but I could float on my back for hours. I enjoyed being in the water and spent most of the summers during my high school years floating on inner tubes in the creeks of Kentucky. After I moved to California, I loved going to the beach or sailing with my boyfriend every weekend. I always thought that being at the beach was a perfect way to spend the day. I loved listening to the sound of the waves crashing to shore.
I don’t really know what happened to change my love of water but I know exactly the day it happened. My boyfriend and I went with a group of friends jet skiing at a lake. I was wearing my life jacket as I always do when I’m sailing or in deep water. We used to joke that life vests don’t make us safer, they just make us easier to find. Either way, I always wore one because I was not a strong swimmer.
My memory of that day is incomplete. I was riding on the jet ski with my boyfriend when a speedboat went roaring by us way too fast for such a crowded lake. I remember my boyfriend shouting something to me and the next thing I can remember is sitting on the dock watching an ambulance drive away. One of the girls with us was obviously shaken up as well so I know something serious had happened. My boyfriend and I never spoke about that day and we stopped seeing each other shortly after the incident.
Since I don’t know exactly what happened and can’t pinpoint my fear, I am slowly testing the edges. I seem to do alright as long as there are no people near me and my head is safely above water. I snorkeled in Mexico two years ago and did fine. I was wearing a mask that kept the water out of my nose and was able to breathe with the snorkel. There were very few other people in the water at the time. This past weekend, I volunteered at the swim/bike transition point for a triathlon. Thankfully it was a small event because my anxiety went way up while everyone was in the water as I watched from shore. I’m very happy to report that everyone safely exited the water without incident.
I may never become a true swimmer but I’d like to believe that I can someday get back into the water without any fear at all.