Saturday, April 26, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Water

Aquaphobia is a persistent and abnormal fear of water. [...] People suffer aquaphobia in many ways and may experience it even though they realize the water in an ocean, a river, or even a bathtub poses no imminent threat. They may avoid such activities as boating and swimming, or they may avoid swimming in the deep ocean despite having mastered basic swimming skills. This anxiety commonly extends to getting wet or splashed with water when it is unexpected, or being pushed or thrown into a body of water.
-From Wikipedia

Okay, I know I've bemoaned water and nautical-based phobias a few times this month.  Promise this will be the last one.

I like water. I really do. I'm fascinated by fountains, loved playing in sprinklers when I was a kid (still do, I guess). Having water on stage in some form of another is one of my favourite theatrical effects of all time. The only thing better is having BOTH fire AND water in the same show (both on stage at the same time makes me cream a little).

I even like wading and splashing around in water, at the beach or in a pool. I think it's specifically about being in water over my head that bothers me. I'm not a great swimmer though I can manage to paddle about if I have to, but the idea that if I put my feet down I can't touch the bottom freaks me right the hell out.

When I was a kid I was playing at the beach, just splashing and paddling around. The water wasn't very deep and the tide was out, so we were going and back and forth to a sandbar a little way off shore. Somehow, at some point I moved away from the shallows and found myself in a spot where the water was deeper than I was tall. I panicked - I splashed and flailed, unable to reach the bottom and not keeping my wits about me enough to just paddle a few feet to the right or left and get on solid ground again (I was pretty young and stupid - not that I'm that much smarter now).  I went under a couple of times, screaming like an idiot and sucking in several good mouthfuls of seawater. My parents or relatives probably would have managed to reach me before I drowned (I really wasn't that far offshore) but another kid I didn't even know managed to grab me and pull me - literally - like 3 feet back to safety on the sandbar.

It was one of those stupid little things you do as a kid that stays with you your life, and I still freeze up whenever I've in or around water above my head. Maybe my parents should have forced me to stay in swimming lessons, instead of quitting like I did everything else.
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