Fear is defined as:
Fear |fɪə|noun [ mass noun ]an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm: I cowered in fear as bullets whizzed past | fear of unemployment is paralysing the economy | [ count noun ] : he is prey to irrational fears.
It’s important to acknowledge your fear. Is there something that makes you cringe? Is there an activity that you wouldn’t dare to try?
I can recall a couple of my fears from growing up – fear of learning to drive (I was terrified by the idea of moving vehicles and couldn’t understand the concept of a steady flow of traffic. How do all these cars not crash into each other?!).
I also had a fear of diving. My aunty was a dive master and has completed hundreds of dives. We have a large, framed underwater photo of her diving with a turtle. It was my biggest fear because I acknowledged that if something goes wrong with your oxygen supply in depths of the ocean, meters below the surface, you’re dead. That’s all there is to it. Conquering my fear of diving is the story I’d like to share with you.
I threw myself into the deep end – literally.
Being the outdoor adventure enthusiast that I am, I decided I was going to learn how to dive. When it just so happened that the father of a family that I was temporary living with was a diving instructor, I took that as a sign.
The scariest part of confronting my fear was learning to breathe underwater. It was taking my first breath through a regulator and trusting that my equipment was not going to fail me. I gathered up my nervousness and feelings of unsureness and jumped into the water. After a few breaths, I began to think, this isn’t so bad.
When I was traveling Central America in January last year and I had the opportunity to dive in one of the top dive sites in the world, I wasn’t going to say no. Sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind and do what scares you to prove to yourself that you have the strength as a human being to take on anything. There’s just something so satisfying about that.
My curiosity for exploring the depths of the Blue Hole was my motivation for this 42m deep dive. It was going to be the deepest I had ever dived. And I was freaking scared to do it.
I felt nervous, scared and unsure as to how my body was going to react to such depths. All the stories you hear about ‘dives gone wrong’ were at the front of my mind. Plus, I had never done a ‘safety stop’ in my life! – That’s when you hang out at a certain depth on your ascent, so that you can let your body re-adjust. This prevents all sorts of conditions, like decompression sickness.
Those 25 minutes of my life were a blur. For one, because I had been fitted with a faulty regulator and each time I inhaled, I was taking a nice gulp of salt water, which was rather distracting. Secondly, when you dive down that deep, your brain slows down its thinking and afterwards, you’re only left with very vague memories.
I found myself in a tricky situation with the worrying regulator issue (it is much like trying to inhale through a straw that has been punctured). It scared me, I’m not going to lie. I thought at the moment, I’m really being tested here, aren’t I? I knew that if I signalled to ascend at that point, I wasn’t going to have another shot at the dive. So I sucked it up (pun intended) and pressed on. Just as I say in life – Get over it. And get on it. And I am so glad that I did.
Confront your fear and see it as an opportunity.
What is it about this particular thing that you are afraid of? Owning your feelings is the first step towards taking control over the situation. Even the most courageous people have fears.
Tell yours who’s boss and I can guarantee a feeling of priceless satisfaction.