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.


Birgit said...

An experience like that would give one nightmares. As I said I love water but can recall 2 instances-one just a few years ago in the wave pool. We were at the deep end when the waves started and it caught us off guard. My friend and I both panicked(wrong thing to do) and we reached for the nearest kid on a tube and grabbed it. At that moment, sad to say, no care for the kid, just self-preservation. The kid was ok for us hanging on and we thanked her but I have a feeling we would have dumped her in the water to save our own asses-horrible eh? the 2nd was when I was a kid and there was an old quarry out back of my friend's property and it was a swimming hole-all muddy and deep. we would jump in and splash about. I was wading and then I felt this tug around my feet and I thought " what the hell?" and I looked to my right and I saw this black snake thing above the water and move down. I got out of there pretty quick. I think it was probably a rat snake:) still love the water though

J Lenni Dorner said...

I had a similar beach experience to yours, though I was knocked under by a crashing wave. Swimming lessons aggravated the problem, as the instructor had a habit of suddenly dunking kids under water- often while they were talking, thus ensuring they'd swallow the pool after being grabbed without warning from behind and forcefully relocated against their will. I'm perfectly alright in the water now, unless someone is behind me. Then I turn into crazy ninja mode- lol. No, seriously, I have a gash in my arm from where my friend grabbed on after sneaking up behind me at the Jersey shore and ending up nearly drowning when I, reflexively, kicked out both her ankles. I didn't stop to find out who was behind me, it just happened. Lesson... never sneak up on J, especially in the water! LOL.

Stopping by from the #atozchallenge !

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