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Mermaid Kalliope
08-18-2011, 11:14 PM
Update: During recent swims I have found the following out:

I want to breathe in while I'm under, not surface for air.
If I'm moving, I don't think about air as much.
I can only hold for about 20 seconds ish, but I'm calming down a lot!

~~~~~~~

Any tips on getting over panic issues while underwater?

Tricks to calm the mind and body?

I feel this is a huge obstacle for me, and I'd really like to get over it. Thank you!

AniaR
08-19-2011, 12:25 AM
I struggle with it too!

NewYorkMermaid
08-19-2011, 12:33 AM
our dive master always told us when we felt a sudden feeling of pactis we have to Stop- Breathe-Think-Act.
*Stop whatever your doing, take a moment to look around, focus, get an idea where you are.

*take a deep breath, count to 4 exhale and then and deep breath in again.

* Think,where are you, how close are you to shore, are there people around you. What do you have to do next.

* Act- if you feel your in an unsafe situation you get out of the water,

However in our case we always have a dive buddy, if we feel scared or our partner panics, we always set up a signal (prior to the dive) and then surface and take a moment to focus, began to count from 20- to 1- slowly.. putting your mind in a different though (like counting) will keep you from panicing. having someone there does help.

Moonflower
08-19-2011, 01:03 AM
Learning proper breath holding techniques may help. Having enough fresh air in your lungs gives your body a long period before it goes into 'panic mode', where you feel like your lungs are burning and you HAVE to take a breath RIGHT NOW.

I've been thinking of techniques you help strengthen your arms while swimming, or at least get you used to swimming in a monofin.

#1 - tying a loose elastic band around your ankles while you practice swimming on the surface. Just use your arms and let your legs relax, then see how far you can go (starting in the shallow end, where your feet will still touch if you set them down). Breast stroke is best for this technique. Relying on the Dog Paddle only splashes water in your face and you barely move without kicking your legs.

#2 - Also, practice rolling your body over while on the surface, without the use of your legs. The more practiced you are at this, the easier it will be to swim when you have the tail on.

#3 - learn how to tread water properly. Many people panic and kick both legs and flail their arm while practicing this technique, but all you really need to do is relax and extend your arms out to each side, then with your hands like paddles, gently rotate them so the tips of your fingers create a figure-8, pushing the water back with your palm when you go back, and forward with your palm when you move your arm forward. You can gently kick your legs in a scissor motion (don't practice with the elastic at first), or use gentle back and forth motions starting with the abs if you're keeping your legs together. Keep your breathing even.

Remember to always swim with a buddy, even if they aren't in the water with you, and keep your wits about you. ^_^

Taylor is a Mermaid
08-19-2011, 08:48 AM
I don't know if this will work or not, but I know that when I'm scared and I get that feeling like my stomach is sinking and my heart is trying to jump out my mouth I sing. I'm not scared much underwater anymore (at least not in a pool!), but when I am I hum under the water. Music is soothing and serves as a distraction from the fear. Good luck, and props to you for facing your fear and refusing to let it stop you from doing the things you want to do.

HBMermaid_Angela
08-19-2011, 10:41 AM
I've never panicked in the water (I could swim before i could walk), and I've grown up around water my whole life. I was a lifeguard though and one thing I tried to tell people is BREATHE! I don't know if already know how to float, tread water, etc. but when your lungs are filled with air, you will float better. When under the water try to relax. What I did as a kid is fill the bath tub with enough water that if I laid my face down, it would be under water but when I lifted it just slightly I could breathe. Try putting your face under like that first. Then, move to a pool and try the same thing (like near the stairs). Also try using snorkeling equipment so you are used to your face being in the water but you still have a steady flow of air.

If you are only having problems in the ocean just remember, the ocean is constantly moving and that means you will move too. If you feel you are being pulled out, you may be in a a rip current. If you are, swim parallel to the beach until you are out of it (do NOT swim against it). If you are drifting to the right or the left, this is natural. Just enjoy yourself and get out when you are done and walk back to your original location.

I hope this helps and Bona Maxima Fortuna - Best of luck!!

Mermaid Kalliope
08-20-2011, 10:47 PM
Thank you all!

I have the "I stop breathing" common issue when I snorkel. hahaha If you could hear my thoughts while snorkeling it's "BREATHE! BREATHE DUMMY!" but I seem to be able to hold my breath longer. O.o

Taylor- Music is AMAZING. I will definitely try that one along with everything else here.

I had an amazing dream after posting this that I was calm and relaxed under the water. :-) I was in my tail, too! ^_^

I'll post updates here as I get chances to go swim. I unfortunately don't have a bathtub to practice in. (I know, sounds weird)

Derek Broussard
08-21-2011, 12:52 AM
Can you tell us more about your panic? Like What causes it, When it happens and what it feels like?



The Freedive courses start off their training with breath holds. Statics in the pool, just laying on the surface face in the water, holding your breath. This way when they get out to the ocean, they know that "Hey, I can hold my breath for "x" minutes, I'm ok"

Maybe if your work on your breath holds either in dry land, or with a buddy then it will help boost your confidence.

Capt Nemo
08-21-2011, 11:24 AM
Thank you all!

I have the "I stop breathing" common issue when I snorkel. hahaha If you could hear my thoughts while snorkeling it's "BREATHE! BREATHE DUMMY!" but I seem to be able to hold my breath longer. O.o



I've had the opposite, breathing while on a freedive! Too used to scuba!


I've noticed mild panic attacks since I had my "hell day" at the quarry. It was a bad reg combined with some idiot putting uncertified people down on scuba solo, and having to try and chase one of them down in murky water. How the kid didn't kill himself...I don't know!

One thing I tell people when trying scuba the first time is to, exhale before submerging and then inhale once submerged.

Mermaid Kalliope
08-21-2011, 06:44 PM
Derek- To have the nitty gritty exactdetails:

I can hold my breath no problem above water. (I sing, play flute, run, etc..) I can swim around with out any issues, lay with my face in the water, swim around a bit underwater, but the minute my lungs say "Hey, you're kinda starting to run low" panic sets in... I usually have to jet to the surface. With snorkelling I have no issues, except that I DON'T breathe, but then I just end up holding my breath longer than I ever knew I could. Tis weird. It's really hard to explain it without sounding whiney, or like I'm shooting everyone down. :-( I really do want to get over this issue, but the only things I can think of that'd help are just sitting underwater, trying to relax.

When I was younger, I don't remember having this issue. I've grown up swimming in both pools and the ocean, it's only been the recent few years that I've had this problem. I really want to go back to the way I was in my younger days.

A lot of the tips here, I've done in the past, and having an elastic band round my ankles is very similar to my current tail: I can still wiggle each foot on it's own. I'm just worried that when there's no wiggle room, I might panic.

Hope none of this seems contradicting or anything, but that's about as detailed as I can get with questions pulling out facts that I can't think of. ><

Derek Broussard
08-22-2011, 03:41 PM
Kailani, Don't get too discouraged, I've seen this a lot when working with underwater models and students.

There are many different things that can cause the panic. Some like a tight diaphragm are physical. But most of them are phycological.

My advice would be to start of slow:nDo some breath holds while holding on to the side of the pool with only your face submerged, let your body float on the surface. If you feel even a slight tingle of panic, come up. Keep doing this phase until you are satisfied with your comfort level.

Once statics are comfortable go to the shallow end and completely submerge yourself. If you start to feel a panic, reach your hand to the surface to remind yourself your not even a second away from air. If it doesn't calm you down then come up very slowly. Try and come up controlled every time so you are not conditioning your mind to panic when your Co2 levels get to high.

Another trick is to keep your mind off of the breath hold. Try playing a game.

Getting over phycological issues takes time. Do not rush the progress, and do not reinforce the panic by constantly pushing till you panic.


Also, always practice with a buddy watching you.

Mermaid Kalliope
08-24-2011, 05:36 PM
Thank you Derek.

I never swim alone. NEVER. One, it's safer, and two... I like the company. >>

I went swimming twice recently and I noticed that when I was moving, I didn't think about it as much. When I was only submerged I kept wanting to breathe in, not surface. Which I found odd. O.o I'm used to "SURFACE NOW"

I can get to 20 seconds (ish) and I'm starting to relax more.

The " Try and come up controlled every time so you are not conditioning your mind to panic when your Co2 levels get to high" will be a great help. I think that's a HUGE mistake I had been making.

I think will all of your guys' help, I should have no problem getting over this!

Mermaid Kuruyami
07-21-2012, 02:20 AM
Learning proper breath holding techniques may help. Having enough fresh air in your lungs gives your body a long period before it goes into 'panic mode', where you feel like your lungs are burning and you HAVE to take a breath RIGHT NOW.

I've been thinking of techniques you help strengthen your arms while swimming, or at least get you used to swimming in a monofin.

#1 - tying a loose elastic band around your ankles while you practice swimming on the surface. Just use your arms and let your legs relax, then see how far you can go (starting in the shallow end, where your feet will still touch if you set them down). Breast stroke is best for this technique. Relying on the Dog Paddle only splashes water in your face and you barely move without kicking your legs.

#2 - Also, practice rolling your body over while on the surface, without the use of your legs. The more practiced you are at this, the easier it will be to swim when you have the tail on.

#3 - learn how to tread water properly. Many people panic and kick both legs and flail their arm while practicing this technique, but all you really need to do is relax and extend your arms out to each side, then with your hands like paddles, gently rotate them so the tips of your fingers create a figure-8, pushing the water back with your palm when you go back, and forward with your palm when you move your arm forward. You can gently kick your legs in a scissor motion (don't practice with the elastic at first), or use gentle back and forth motions starting with the abs if you're keeping your legs together. Keep your breathing even.

Remember to always swim with a buddy, even if they aren't in the water with you, and keep your wits about you. ^_^

I'm going to try this next time i go swimming. I have issues being scared or nervous getting in the water because I have this fear that i'm going to drown. But I'm getting better with it and i can hold my breath under water for about a minute or so(better than being afraid of putting my head in the water). I just have this issue with sinking.

Lyna
07-24-2012, 01:00 AM
I am seriously so surprised of the things I have been discovering about mers since recently joining this site and seeing how many of us there are! Fear of fish, fear of drowning, weird swimming fears...all aquatic in nature. Yet you guys fight past it to be mermaids....kind of like skydiving to defeat fear of heights? or...is it just unhappy luck that you feel like a mer but have these phobias?

Mer_Adella
09-13-2012, 04:46 PM
See the first time that I swam with my monofin was in a lake. I was fine. I was scared to go too far because we have at least 28' boats that cruise that lake and I didn't want to get run over. My boyfriend was watching me btw. I got scared because I had my contacts in and couldn't open my eyes. So I wouldn't stay down long. He told me to take them out and then jump back in. And I did. And i could see and everything was fine. I forgot to time myself though.

The next time I went out. Same Lake. Same boyfriend (lol). Different location of where I swam. To me it seemed like the current was a lot stronger. I looked up and i am WWAAAYYYY below the boat. I freaked. I swam as quick as i could to the surface.

Any tips/suggestions. ??? yes i understand....swim somewhere that the current isn't so strong...but anything else?

SilverSiren
09-14-2012, 03:59 AM
Things I do when I freedive are,

1. When I feel the involuntary contractions of the diaphragm telling me it wants me to breath, I ignore it, I literately tell it "hey, I have a little more time than you think I do, I can calmly get to the surface, just give me a little bit longer".

2. I make sure that I move in calm fluid motions, slow and easy with the most efficiency I can, it reduces the consumption of oxygen.

3. I make sure to do a LOT of cardio, running, biking, swimming fast on the surface of the water, anything that gets the blood flowing and the lungs working hard. When you do that, you can train your body to use oxygen more efficiently AND as you get more aerobically fit, your heart rate will drop as a result because its one of the ways your body becomes more efficient at using oxygen. Also, before I go under the water, I focus my mind and take BIG deep breaths to make sure my body has LOTS of oxygen flowing through, then take that final big intake of air and calmly swim away.

Mer_Adella- The HUGE mistake you made wasn't the area in my opinion, it was the reaction you had. When you saw where you were, you freaked. You need to change your mind set to "wow, ok, this is fine, hey, its even a little cool." take it all in for a second, be calm. When you freak out, your heart rate goes up, consuming your oxygen. Then you swam quickly back, consuming even more oxygen.

Just r e l a x, its ok, the water is your friend. Try this in a pool sometime to see what I mean. Go under the water and swim as fast as you can to the other side. It will be possible, but not comfortable, you'll have the "I need to breath NOW!" feeling far too soon. You're using oxygen too quickly. Then try again, but before you do, do the things I suggest. Calm yourself, slow down the heart, take deep slow breaths. Take one big final breath, then calmly swim to the other side. Focusing your mind on how peaceful being in the water feels, looking around you in your beautiful underwater world, almost dream like. Then before you know it, your on the other side of the pool, wishing the pool was infinite, cause you feel like you could stay under forever. I know that seems really imaginative but it works so well for me, maybe it will help.

Also, if anyone is not doing it already, per Derek's and a few others suggested, do apnea training. Holding your breath on land for as long as you can, more and more. They have app's for phones that help you train and keep records and a few online resources that do the same. But please, never force it, you CAN blackout, know your limits. Knowing your limits and sticking to them every time, I can't stress that enough. Alos, like others have suggested, when you do this sort of long breath holding, bring a buddy! Or be at a pool with plenty of people and a lifeguard. Can't be too safe.

Mer_Adella
09-14-2012, 10:10 AM
Silversiren do you know what app it is that you can log your breath holds? i would like to practice what you told me to do.

SilverSiren
09-14-2012, 10:59 AM
static apnea trainer

Mer_Adella
09-14-2012, 01:21 PM
i just bought it during my lunch hour. i'm still trying to figure out how it works lol but that is what the internet is for :)

mermaid Ilythia Finlay
10-21-2012, 09:28 PM
I am terrified of Sharks and as a result also afraid of deep Ocean swimming, I have taught myself to swim near the shore but not sure about deep ocean, how deep how far out do you all go to swim in your mertails?
Mermaid Ilythia Finlay first time on forum

Artisankatie
10-21-2012, 10:32 PM
Hi Ilythia!
I'm also terrified of ANYTHING in the sea that is bigger than me! Sharks, dolphins, rays, you name it.
I was also terrified of all other fish as well until I went swimming on a reef and found it was just like being in a butterfly house underwater.
Maybe go somewhere where the water is very clear and you can see all around you - and wear a snorkel so you don't have to worry about blurry vision or water getting up your nose or having to hold your breath. You might be able to find a company that will let you experience big animals in a controlled environment. After a while you might find you're not scared anymore :)
My tail is modeled on a Mandarin Fish, so it's very brightly coloured - I'm hoping it will make any animals think I'm poisonous!

Elle
10-22-2012, 12:12 AM
I love swimming in inlets. I've been doing it since I was about 12. Going out to where it's easily twice my height in depth and going to the bottom and seeing what I can find. I never had an issue with panic, cos i figured "I float, so when i need to go back up my own buoyancy plus me kicking will get me up fine". I think just knowing you will be able to come back up when you want to is helpful. But that's what just works for me.

mermaid Ilythia Finlay
10-22-2012, 06:38 AM
Thanks girls :) Elle what would you specify as an inlet? is that like a little cove or something? Both your ideas sound good I will have to try it when I can :) perhaps go out with a group or something.
Cheers xx

Elle
10-22-2012, 07:31 AM
like a river that is directly attached to the sea. so the tide goes in and out in time with whatever beach it's attached to like this one. 7199

Koral
10-22-2012, 11:59 AM
but when I am I hum under the water. Music is soothing and serves as a distraction from the fear.

Music is great, but how does one hum underwater? Humming expels air. I just tried plugging my nose and humming - uhh didn't work. Unless you mean you're playing a song in your head...? Just trying to understand so I could perhaps try it. :)



If it doesn't calm you down then come up very slowly. Try and come up controlled every time so you are not conditioning your mind to panic when your Co2 levels get to high.

Ooh, that's a big mistake I make. I am typically calm and happy underwater, but when I feel the need for oxygen I tend to try and surface too fast. I notice that I can't hold my breath as long as I used to, and upon hearing this I think my surfacing panic is the issue. I'll certainly work on that.

I really agree with SilverSiren. When I am doing tricks is when I hit the panic mode of "surface, QUICKLY!" But when I am swimming from point A to point B I am very, very calm. Peaceful, even! I have a deep dolphin kick which moves me faster than the seizure-like motions using only the back legs. In moving my entire body, the swim becomes very automatic and I am simply enjoying the ride and feeling like one with the water. So yeah! Calm helps a lot.
(Now I just need to utilize it myself when I need to get more air while doing tricks.)