saying goodbye to my biggest phobia

A bunch of things happened in various swimming pools, seas and other bodies of water when I was a child that meant that by the time I was about 11 or 12 I was terrified of water. Like properly scared of it, so much so that if I was forced to take a shower instead of a bath it would always end in tears. To normal people that might seem ludicrous, and yeah, that's what phobias are - they are irrational and this one caused me to feel irrationally unsafe in water.

You would kind of expect that since the names of phobias take the form of Greek words, that the fear of water would be called hydrophobia, but no, apparently that's what rabid animals suffer from, with the foaming at the mouth and everything. I don't get that, I just get panicky.

Fear of water is actually called 'aquaphobia'. It's a weird little mix of Latin and Greek, and I've never particularly liked it, it doesn't seem severe enough to describe the utter panic I feel when there's water on me and I have no control over it. It's hard to explain the feeling, but it's easy to convey exactly what I feel when I hear the word "aqua"...


...and I'm certainly not afraid of those charming Danish boys and Lene, the sweet singing Norwegian!

Anywho, so despite having never successfully learned to swim, having experienced panic attacks in the sea and crying fits in swimming pools -

- I just spent an hour in a swimming pool and nothing bad happened!

The last time I went in a pool was when I tried to get over my fear of water at university, and a friend immediately dunked my head in the water. Not cool. That put a quick end to my wanting to get over my fear, and yet again I left the pool a tearful mess. 

Tonight I ventured to my local pool with the encouragement of my lovely boy. Unlike almost everyone who I have ever confided in about this fear, he was completely understanding and kind about it, and even more helpful than that, he didn't tell me that I was stupid to be scared of water, like so many people have said in the past.

Even though I felt like an absolute idiot in the 3ft 6inch deep shallow end of the pool, he was completely patient and made me feel that I was doing superbly when I was able to glide just a few metres. Trust me, that was a big ask in itself. After that we held onto the edge of the pool and practised kicking our legs, before I tentatively let go of the edge (still in less than 4ft of water, mind you) and tried to use my arms in a way other than flailing about wildly, which is my normal water-based action.

It wasn't the most successful swimming trip ever, but at least I was able to get in the pool this time. I got splashed and didn't cry or scream or have a panic attack or anything. It doesn't seem like much, but for me this was huge.

Woo, go me! * proud face *

6 hellos:

agiraffeinascarf said...

Congrats! That's awesome! Being agoraphobic, I TOTALLY understand! I'm also terrified of large bodies of water, I also had a few scary things happen as a kid and I haven't been in a pool for a verrrrry long time. I can even only go up to my shins at the ocean! So getting in a pool and taking your feet off the bottom in huge! Be super proud!

Vixie said...

Thanks, Zoe! I'm glad at least someone realises what a big deal this was! I think I might buy myself a little gifty to congratulate myself :)

Siobhan said...

This is amazing progress - you spent a whole HOUR in the pool and splashed and kicked and did swimming type stuff. Super cool. I am so glad you have been supported to do this, as I think that is often what helps us be strong. Love you x

Vixie said...

I couldn't have done it without Jms - he's such a good boy to me :)

Love you too, of course xx

Missy said...

Wow! That is good to get over your phobia. I do not have a phobia of water, but sometimes it is scary when you can't see your feet or the bottom of the ocean! I also do not know how to swim, and the only one in my family that knows how is my dad! My boyfriend can't swim either - so no beaches for us I guess! I still like to go to the ocean and play and look for shells, though.

Vixie said...

I'm not sure that I'm completely over it - but I'm certainly on the way! I love going to the beach too, but I can only paddle in the sea - it's a lot scarier than a swimming pool!

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