Yesterday Nathan and I completed our PADI Open Water Dive ticket. I still can't believe I did it! Until recently I had a deep-seeded fear of water due to traumatic childhood experiences. I had held onto this anxiety for such a longtime even though it served no purpose. Rationally, I knew that the fear held me back but ingrain behaviours are hard to shift.
So how do you go from having a fear of water to getting your dive ticket?? I guess conquering of this fear has been a long time coming. The success came from motivation, planning, hard work and support.
There have been 2 other times in my adult life that I have unsuccessfully tried to conquer this fear. I guess it's kind of like giving up smoking. You really need to have the right motivation and support to be kick the addiction. Previously, my motivation had been simply that I didn't want to be scared anymore so I'd go to the pool once or twice, get a kick board, do some laps and then some excuse would arise like: I'm too busy to go or it's too cold, and I'd stop.
My motivation this time was Palau! How could I move to a place like Palau and not take the opportunity to see some of the best dive spots in the world? With this in mind I decided to get serious and fork-out for private swimming lessons. In the end I only had 3 private lessons but I continued to practice 2-3 times a week, swimming laps and a variety of swimming drills that Professor Google suggested. Let me be clear, I'll never be an Olympic swimmer but to actually get in the pool and swim laps without feeling nauseous is a MASSIVE achievement for me.
Lastly, the support I got from my Dive Instructor John and Nathan was great! We had several recommendations to do our PADI with John from Professional Dive Services and he was wonderful!! He clearly has a love for what he does and wants to share it with those who are interested. His class sizes are generally small and this time it was just Nathan and myself. This helped me get the individualised attention that I needed. Don't get me wrong, there were times when I wanted to give up and go sit on the beach and feel sorry for myself but John wouldn't have it! He was patient, encouraging and broke things into smaller, achievable tasks. Not once did I feel embarrassed or bad for being afraid. As the days progressed things became easier and less problematic. So gold stars all round for John and me!!! I should also mention the support that Nathan provides me. He did nothing but encourage me and help me where he could. We are a great team!!
So Palau here we come! I've got my golden ticket and I'm ready to explore this underwater world. Less than 8 weeks and we will be there!!