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Jo-bob
posted : July 28, 2006 Post subject: nerves at sea bottom
I qualified in Ko Tao in April-very intense four days but I felt completely safe with instructor and had no probs. Dived Phi Phi a few days later and I began to feel quite panicky once beyond 9-10 metres. Tried to calm myself by deep breathing but sent myself straight to the surface and felt quite agitated throughout the next dive; Not being able to speak to anyone made it difficult to ignore and I had to fight the urge to spit my regulator out and go for the top. I'm not sure what caused it; felt safe with divemaster and equipment etc, although had done all training dives with a rope but went down free in Phi Phi, currents were quite strong. I had also been quite ill for a few days-I avoid immodium, but out of respect for other divers had taken two, which I now understand isn't a good idea. I plan to dive in Turkey next month -the diving itself doesn't worry me but I'm concerned I might panic. I'm sure I'm not alone on this and would like to know how other divers overcome anxiety during a dive. Cheers

 
Shane
posted : July 28, 2006 Post subject: nerves at sea bottom
Hi Jo-bob,

First off Ė donít worry, this is a common occurrence and even if you donít nail it straight away, you will eventually.

My best advice would be to try not to think about it too much - you're still a very new diver and if there were lots of things new to you then anxiety is very very common indeed.

Another thing is to recognise that while you panicked in Phi Phi, nothing bad actually happened to you before, during or after the panic, you were okay and whatever bad things your brain was telling you, it didn't happen. Although it might not have been the most enjoyable experience, you were able to dive again, for which you should feel proud of yourself and know that it means you can do the same thing again.

Panic is an automatic response based on human instinct, it's not really needed so much in modern society hence it causes more of a psychological reaction which people focus on and worry about - in essence you're worrying about worrying.

The best thing is that you're actuallly planning to dive, rather than giving in and not diving again. If you think about the dive, what you're going to do, where you're going to go and what you're going to see, you'll be fine.

You should also be prepared to accept that you'll be a bit nervous and forgive yourself for that fact. Often when people start to chastise themselves for feeling a bit anxious that can escalate it. It's just a natural bodily function and thankfully, while a panic can be quite intense, it doesn't last long.

Before the dive, if you find yourself getting a bit anxious, don't beat yourself up or mentally tell yourself to shut up, just find something else to take your mind off it, check over your gear one more time, maybe even check out other people's gear - you might see some stuff that you can ask them what it is, why do they have it, etc - if they're any good they should welcome your question(s) and you'll be in a conversation and not worrying.

If you find your nerves getting out of control while on a dive (depth has nothing to do with it so don't think the 9-10 metres level is a contributory factor), grab your buddy, or a rock, or just sit on the sea bottom and stop for a moment, as long as you can breathe you're fine, give it as long as you need and the panic will subside - the human body physically can't keep a panic situation up for long.

You did the right thing last time, just the breathing was enough to screw your buoyancy up (again very common for a new diver) and you ended up on the surface - shame but the fact is you were doing it exactly right and the "I nearly spat my reg out" didn't happen.

My wife got nervous to the point of sickness before the first dive on each of our first five or six dive holidays. Nowadays it doesn't bother her at all.

But, to try and be more helpful than just words, back then she used to get herself some homeopathy pill things from Boots (not sure they do them anymore but a quick websearch will find the stuff) - Acid phos, Aconite, Argent. Nit or Arsen are four options for these little pill things that you suck and disolve on your tongue. Totally inert in terms of physiological effect on the diving, supposed to help chill the body out a bit before a situation develops.

She used to pop a couple in before we started getting ready for the first dive each time. Now I don't know whether it's purely a placebo or there's something to it - but it did help. Personally I think it was just a psychological thing so that if she felt nervous she had an instant reaction that she'd also had something to help counteract that, but either way it helped.

Best possible advice I can give is to give yourself a slap on the back for getting through your panic experience and know that therefore you don't need to fear the next one (if it happens). Recognise the anxiety, acknowledge that it's natural and move on. It won't last and before long it won't even be a consideration.

I've never dived Turkey, but from what I hear it's fairly shallow, fairly clear water and should be sunny that time of year, which will help the anxiety lots too as you won't feel so far away from the surface.

Have fun!

 
Shane
posted : July 28, 2006 Post subject: nerves at sea bottom
Sorry I just saw how long that reply was.

To sum up, relax you'll be fine.

:-)

 
Jo-bob
posted : July 28, 2006 Post subject: nerves at sea bottom
Many thanks, sounds like good advice, and reassuring-you do feel a bit alienated when every else is totally chilled out about it and your rational head knows that there is absolutely nothing to worry about! I'll feed back on Turkey when we get back. Thanks again

 
Shane
posted : July 28, 2006 Post subject: nerves at sea bottom
Well I'm now a qualified Divemaster and sometimes I still get on a boat feeling like the most inexperienced diver aboard.

Found that sometimes I am, sometimes I'm not, and it doesn't seem to change anything either way...

Think about your breathing, your finning and your buoyancy and what you can see, shouldn't be much room left for anything else :-)



 
Marc Ed
posted : July 30, 2006 Post subject: nerves at sea bottom
Good advice above and you are defo not alone, perhaps go to a local dive centre and do some scuba reviews, just getting inb the water on a regular basis really helps - where r u based ?
Marc

 
Jo-bob
posted : July 30, 2006 Post subject: nerves at sea bottom
Nottingham

 
Carlylove
posted : July 30, 2006 Post subject: nerves at sea bottom
Get yourself to Stoney Cove and do some dives there (close to you) to build up your confidence. At Stoney the VIS is iffy but there are areas to practice skils and see stuff without getting deep and easily accessible deeper areas for when you feel better. IMHO there is nothing to panic about but panic itself, but I stil do and I am sure I always will but how i manage it seems to be the differentiating factor!!! I have no buddy for next week so if you want to do Stoney let me know as I would love to get you through this initial stage and get you to the stage I am now (LOVIN DIVIN!!!).

 
Jo-bob
posted : August 1, 2006 Post subject: nerves at sea bottom
Many thanks for the offer but I am afraid I am too busy working to come to Stoney Cove with you-otherwise would have loved to. Many thanks for your good advice-it's some consolation that I'm not the only one. I'm sure I'll manage and will feedback on return! Thanks again! Jo

 
Shane
posted : August 2, 2006 Post subject: nerves at sea bottom
I tell you what Jo-Bob, I'd be interested to know what you think of Turkey in general in terms of where you stay and the diving. Been looking at somewhere new (but relatively cheap) to go in Europe and it keeps coming up. I'll be interested in reading your feedback...

 
Jo-bob
posted : August 2, 2006 Post subject: nerves at sea bottom
I certainly will! My and my sister, a fellow diver, needed a cheap reasonably close week away where we could get a reasonable days' diving. Malta is supposed to be the best in Europe but I'm planning my wedding there next year... but there seemed to be lots of good feedback on Turkey, diving as well as beaches sun shine and lots of cheap food and drink ( i have been there before but up Bodrum way, we're going to Fethiye/Olu Deniz area this time) We'll touch back down in UK 4 eeks today so watch this space!

 
Shane
posted : August 3, 2006 Post subject: nerves at sea bottom
Cool - I've not heard much about it other than a few people I knew having a try-dive while they were out there (somewhere), they said the water was crystal clear.

Be good practice anyway and then when you go to Malta you can get married underwater, there's a few underwater arches down there that'll make good church scenes... :-)

Have a good time.

Shane

 
Jo-bob
posted : August 5, 2006 Post subject: nerves at sea bottom
We chose Malta primarily for the diving opportunities but aren't planning to get married under water!! Considered the idea of course but this girl needs a more exotic dress than a wet suit and fins! But back to Turkey, am looking forward to it in spite of a few nerves, and know that the only way through it is to feel the fear and do it anyway, at risk of sounding like a self help book! My sister will be my buddy though, she's been qualified for two years so I'm sure we'll have a great time. Thanks so much for your support and I promise to feedback on return!!

 
Jo-bob
posted : September 2, 2006 Post subject: nerves at sea bottom
Hello everyone who replied to my original thread. I did manage a couple of dives in Turkey which I have detailed on a new thread. We were actually two of three qualified divers on the baot, the rest were try diving so the dive sites were not too challenging although not a great deal to see either. However this did mean that we had a divemaster all to ourselves so I was able to go at my own pace. Although I only did a 12 metre and a 16 metre I am glad to say that I didn't lose my nerves although, especially on my first dive I had to fight it! I had to do quite a lot of deep breathing down there but did remember to breathe out and didn't end up at the surface! I didn't take any thing for my nerves and half way through the second dive I felt much better about the whole thing. I still don't feel 100%comfortable with it but did really enjoy it and am really glad I made myself get back in the water; I'm sure that if I just keep doing that I'll gradually learn to feel more confident- I kept reminding myself that during my qualifying dive I had to sit on the sea bed at 16 metres, remove my mask, replace it with sunglasses and dance for a videgrapher and if I can manage that I can manage anything! Thanks all who replied for your support. Cheers, Jo

 
Shane
posted : September 3, 2006 Post subject: nerves at sea bottom
Well done Jo-bob. You're absolutely right, from now on it's just about getting more experience and that will build the confidence. And on the way you'll have some excellent dives and some not-so-excellent dives, but they all go into making you a more confident diver.

Thanks for the feedback on Turkey (I read the other thread too), sounds like it was just what you needed.

Good luck with diving in the future and your wedding!

 
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