Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Extra Bliss : The Reason I can't Surf

Hello there Bliss seekers. I often get asked if I surf, the answer is no, I don't. Considering this blog is largely focused on the ocean and features quite a bit of surfing, you may be slightly confused right now. As I mentioned in my 'Spot The Surfer' post, I possess a bone chilling fear of deep blue water which has been with me for as long as I can remember. The truth is, this fear doesn't inhibit my love for the ocean. I adore spending hours by it, playing amongst it and swimming in it; yes I can swim. Much of my personal bliss and solitude comes from being near the ocean. 

As long as I can touch the sand on the bottom with my feet, I have as much fun as the next person. The minute I find myself in water out of my depth, my bliss turns to pure fear. It is a fear of drowning and is due to the fact I survived a near drowning as a very small child. Anxiety and absolute hysteria any time I was near a pool or the ocean prevented me from learning how to swim until I was 8 years old. In the end it was watching all of my friends and family having fun in the water and the gentle encouragement of my Mum that got me swimming. Learning to swim was definitely a turning point. I no longer had a fear around pools, and I actually ventured to a depth past my ankles in the ocean. 

By the time I was in high school I was body boarding with a group of girlfriends (out in the deep, blue water), and finally began to enjoy the ocean soaked lifestyle that my coastal village provided. I seemed to have overcome this ludicrous fear, and was looking forward to progressing on to a surf board. Unfortunately, I was talked into going out into some rather large surf with a group of friends, and I ended up being smashed into the hard sandy ocean floor at the whim of an enormous first wave in a huge set. I sustained no major injuries apart from swallowing way too much salt water and being extremely short of breath. This is nothing unusual for any surfer, body boarder SUP boarder or ocean sport enthusiast. The fear of drowning that I thought was long gone came rushing back and I lost my desire to learn how to surf. Hence the reason you see lots of surfing pictures on this blog, with out me in them.

The one regret I have is not getting back out there and conquering my fear. I watch my family surf just about every day and wish I could be out there with them. My fear, it seems, is bigger than my desire to surf as I just can't get over it. All the motivational mantra's and inspirational quotes in the world don't have any impact when I swim or paddle out of my depth. I know I have to walk or swim head on into the fear before I can get past it, but I just can't do it. I do however find plenty of My Ocean Bliss on the sand, through the camera lens and in a depth of about four foot of water. Does anyone else out there have a fear of deep water? Perhaps you did once and have over come it. If so, I'd love to know how you did it.

Sending you Much Bliss, Heather xx

All photos by Heather W

1 comment:

  1. Hi Heather, I so recognize your story. I do have the same sort of story as you have. I almost drowned in a family pool when I was little. My mum is scared of water so after when this happened she was crazy careful with me. I got my swimming degree (do you have that in oz?) but you're supposed to go for the next degree which is learn to dive. At that moment I had bad ear infections almost every month so the doctor advised to don't do any diving or swimming even. I can swim but that's it. I can't do any fancy swimming, only the basic stuff. I don't like it when I'm in water where I can not see what's beneath me. So in a lake or ocean when it gets deep I freak out and swim back. When I was in Australia my friend talked me into diving at the Great Barrier Reef. We were with a group of 100 people on 1 boat and they literally pushed us into the ocean.. "Ok lets dive now" uh.. What?! I missed the whole introduction on the boat as I was boat sick and sitting outside.. So when I got into the water and checked out what was beneath me I got so scared.. It wasn't deep at all.. pretty shallow for diving but still it was deep. It was too much for me, feeling sick and being scared with a diving suit and equipment I didn't know how it worked, so I got out of the ocean, back on the boat.. Hesitated for almost 20 minutes and got back into the ocean with a snorkle and a floaty to keep floating :-) I was so scared at the beginning but then little beautiful fish came and made my day.

    I don't think I will ever go diving again. Let's see how it goes but swimming without touching the sand is one of my fears as well.

    I don't care anymore if I should try it again or shouldn't. I just feel comfortable like it is now and when the time comes that I feel a bit confident to try it again I will but for now it's ok. So, I would advise to just follow your own gut. Don't do it because other people would like to see you into the water, you have to be ready yourself. And maybe it helps to take a goggle with you, so you can see the sand when you can't feel it anymore?


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