Fears, Panic, Anxiety... What Does It Do To You?

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OP
rob.mwpropane

rob.mwpropane

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I agree with most of what you wrote, but not this. Most Scuba panic is induced by divers not being in trim and neutral. I've seen people spend so much energy on not hitting the bottom or floating to the surface that they forget to watch gauges. Why do you think they simply run out of air? They're too busy trying to not die to even notice.

Some fears are rational while many are not. Falling's fine, but I have a distinct fear of hitting the ground. I have a natural fear of heights, that I have worked on my whole life. When the kids were young enough to do water parks, I would do the super high wedgie maker slides at least twice on every visit. I was even a BSA climbing instructor at one point until I pulled a shoulder out of its socket trying to exceed a limit. I went back to diving after that. :D

When I was a kid, I was afraid of the dark. Every chance I got, I went out when it was dark until I lost the fear. On campouts, I trained myself to navigate the woods at night and really developed my hearing. Three years ago, in Fiji, I'm walking around without a light at dusk and stepped into a three-foot-deep concrete drainage ditch. Broke the tibia and fibula on my left leg. I still walk around at night like a troglodyte. It's also why I like diving caves, I guess.

Diving, and life in general, are all about limits. Know them and respect them. I simply can't state this enough. Part of your instructor's job is to teach you all about them. Many instructors fail. It's now up to you to figure them out. Strength, skills, and such can only take you so far. Your mind is the best thing you've got to keep you from hurting yourself.

I can see that, although I would have included out of trim into unprepared. It does need more emphasis then that though.. so I agree.

Yeah, I think I'll stick with diving too... I like the "feeling" of falling off a cliff while diving down a wall, not so much actually looking down a cliff with the potential of actually falling!

I think a lot of instructors fail because they either do the bare minimum or they're teaching one specific way and teaching is really not a one size fits all.
 

Guille G

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I fear gettin stupid. Like others in the thread, I can get afraid at a specific situation but I don’t have any specific “always there” fears. Which means, it’s easy for me to get stupid.

Example - first AOW “deep” dives. I am comfortable when diving and don’t really FEEL a difference between 10m and 40m. So, without a bit of education, I may have assumed it was all the same, gotten distracted and into trouble.
Without all we read about cave diving, I may also be that guy who just goes “a cave! Sweet! Let’s go explore!” on a random single tank dive - and then ends up dead.

So, not being appropriately afraid is kind of frightening, if that makes sense. “Go with your instinct” is hard when you don’t have one 😅
 

The Chairman

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I think a lot of instructors fail because they either do the bare minimum or they're teaching one specific way and teaching is really not a one size fits all.
You can't teach what you can't do.
 

Tracy

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You can't teach what you can't do.
You have obviously never taken a peak performance buoyancy class from 97% of scuba instructors.
 

The Chairman

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You have obviously never taken a peak performance buoyancy class from 97% of scuba instructors.
And I think you're being generous.
 

PirateFoxy

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I’m not a diver, but I do have experience with anxiety/panic and also high stress situations. One skill I’ve really worked on that massively helps stave off actual panic attacks (when you get warning you are feeling stressed/anxious) is to learn not to *commit* to your emotional response. The anxiety is not going to go away - the chemicals involved don’t just spontaneously vanish - but if you can learn to sort of set the physical sensations aside as ‘a dumb thing my body is doing’ instead of going ’omg, I feel awful, something must be wrong!’ then you have a much better chance of not getting to the point of full on panic, and a much better chance of being able to carry on with whatever you need to do EVEN WHILE you are feeling some of the physical effects of the increased adrenaline, etc.

If you lean into it (“omg, I feel awful, something must be wrong, I‘m definitely going to die, this is going to go wrong, then that is” etc.) then you generally make yourself worse and less able to deal with things.

Like I said, sometimes it really does just come out of the blue and smack you in the face, at which point you can‘t get the necessary distance from your emotional and physiological response, but it can be very useful for those times when you can feel it kind of creeping up on you.

Also, if you go through a stressful situation when you don’t freak out, be prepared the freak out may just be delayed. (That’s happened to me in emergency situations, I’ll be fine until things settle down.) So give yourself time to process and think over it a bit and try to reinforce the positive/good things you did in your mind, so if you do feel delayed issues, you can do the above and not get as sucked in and hopefully therefore not build the same sort of negative associations that may give you trouble next time.
 

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