anxiety breathing under water

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 22, 2009 1:23 AM GMT
    I am currently taking SCUBA lessons I managed to barely get through my pool dives, but I'm still having panic attacks whenever i take in water (see i am naturally a nose breather but that doesn't work for SCUBA) I have twice cancelled my boat dives because of this I,m just wondering if there are any other guys on this site that are divers that may have some suggestions that could help with my situation?
  • Nudista

    Posts: 158

    Nov 22, 2009 11:01 AM GMT
    I'm getting certified hopefully in one week...been at it w/my bro for past 2 months and next weekend is our last ocean dive before getting certified assuming all goes well. We've done about 5 pool dives and 3 ocean dives so far. I"m probably not the best one to answer your question since i really don't have the experience yet, however, anxiety under any situation can be a problem but anxiety attacks while 30+ feet under the ocean???? BIG PROBLEM.
    If it was me or my partner having the anxiety issue I would definitely let the instructor know about this so that you can take much more pool time before going out on the ocean to practice simple breathing under the water. Maybe whats giving you the anxiety is all the new information, learning it, and applying it all at once while in a completely different environment. Maybe what you need is just some simple swimming time in the pool so that breathing through a regulator becomes not so alien to you.

    I will tell you this...so far, in the little experience we've had, swimming in the pool and in the ocean is VERY different. Way more elements to take on when you get in the ocean...current, visibility, depth, and overall environment are just some of the differences you can expect. That's why i think its very important you allow your anxiety to level off in the pool. Safety is always first....and remaining calm is your best friend down there.

    Good luck to you man!!
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    Nov 22, 2009 11:56 AM GMT
    You need to speak with your instructor!

    This is not as hard to overcome as you think. You can do it. You need to train yourself to breathe through your mouth, which becomes more difficult as you get older, but it's far from impossible.

    You're going to take water into your mouth. What you need to do is work on clearing your mouth. To clear your mouthpiece, remember that you need to exhale first. This will push the water through the regulator's exhaust.

    Don't go below 60-feet until you've overcome this issue. People with your problem tend to breathe less, or breathe out of rhythm. You don't want to end up with the bends.

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    Nov 22, 2009 12:30 PM GMT
    You'll get over it

    Just talk slow deep breaths and concentrate on the sound of your breathing. Count them out in your head if you need to.


    I used to panic attack rolling backward over the side of a boat
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    Nov 22, 2009 3:14 PM GMT
    thanks guys for your words of encouragement. I do plan to pursue this venture ,but like you mention panic at 30' below NOT GOOD! so I will take my time until I am comfortable with the whole thing before hitting the ocean. thanks again for your input and it's nice to meet you. Thomas,
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Nov 22, 2009 3:54 PM GMT
    There are instructors and classes for those that have too much of an appreciation for the dangers of large bodies of water(i.e. land loverbois). As a teen in Boy Scout camp I had a fear of water due to a diving accident I had the previous summer. The life guard at the camp also taught classes in "introduction to swimming" on up to merit badges for being at certain levels on swimming.

    I had to go to the "Introduction To Swimming" because I was terrified at that point to even put my head under water. The life guard was totally hot! I forget the rest. Just kidding. Well, I do forget a lot of it but I remember I had to put my head under water and blow bubbles, and after that had to float with him holding me while im floating....but I digress...again. Anywho, I quickly became an able swimmer, and with his help, after a couple of years of summer camp I became certified to be a life guard. CPR was also taught and seriously, everything that happened was really erotic...I wish I understood that back then!

    So I guess my advice is to get a really hot Life Guard that can introduce you again to water and how not to be afraid of it, but respect it.
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    Nov 22, 2009 10:54 PM GMT
    I take it your having problems when you are doing the mask clearing? (have to remove the mask completely, breath, then replace mask and clear)

    I originally had a few shocking moments when I first flooded my mask and had to clear it, however with practice I learnt to control what I was breathing through.

    as a nose breather I'd often keep the back of my tongue sorta up against the roof of my mouth which isn't useful in the slightest let me tell you.

    Another thing you can do which I found useful (and this is out of the water) when your sitting around with nothing to do, open your mouth, keep your tongue down, relax your throat, jaw, neck and breath, breath in and out hopefully through both your nose and mouth and take the time to work out how it feels, we are so used to breathing that we don't take much notice of it anymore, so just let your self breath.

    Then let your self focus on breathing in and out through your mouth, it'll feel different, I found really heavy breathing worked for me at first so I could feel the muscles that contract to stop air passing through your nose working (it's a slight pressure change)

    anyway, I'm babbling, it's waaaaaaaaaay to early to be useful heh
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    Nov 29, 2009 9:28 PM GMT
    Tanker you hit it right on spot.that IS where i am having my difficulty. I will try the exercises that you mention .I' m not going to stop trying. my best friend is currently in Bondi , she finished her cert. in Thetford Reef. AU.
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    Nov 29, 2009 10:31 PM GMT
    nostrothomas saidTanker you hit it right on spot.that IS where i am having my difficulty. I will try the exercises that you mention .I' m not going to stop trying. my best friend is currently in Bondi , she finished her cert. in Thetford Reef. AU.

    one I was told and never tried was being in a bath or pool with a snorkel, just be under water with the snorkel and breath.
  • wolf

    Posts: 3

    Aug 20, 2011 6:34 AM GMT
    lilTanker gave some great advice. In addition, I would try suggest becoming more comfortable under water. I think getting past that mental block will make a huge difference. When I am diving, no matter the depth, I always remind myself that I know the "rules" of what to do and not to do. You'll always have control over the situation as long as you remain calm and follow the parameters of safety. Mind over matter!

    Maybe you could ask your instructor to help you out, and he can help you do additional pool dives. The more practice you have with techniques like mask clearing, the more comfortable you'll be when your out there in the ocean.

    During my first ocean dive I actually inhaled some water when I was clearing my mask and began coughing like mad into my regulator. I definitely had a razor sharp moment of panic, but I reminded myself of how much worse things would get if I didn't stay calm and I collected my thoughts and just let myself cough until I was ok again. The rest of the dive went great.

    Good luck!
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    Aug 20, 2011 6:47 AM GMT
    ive been in the water since i was a baby. im now in the Navy. the water is my home. im a diver...im more comfortable under water then i am on shore. i smoke...it calms me. when im in the water the breathing process calms me. ive seen shit under water that has horrified me but ive never been anything less then calm and serene. my only advice is to spend more time in the water. let it become a comfortable surrounding. when its right you just now. i mean...theres nothing like being weightless. theres no greater feeling than your breathing defining your movement. diving brings me sanity but yer only ready for it when yer ready.