So, today was not a great day. It wasn’t because of the ocean, any rain, or anything like that. Today was the day that Lara’s issues came to the surface along with the bubbles. Everything seemed to be going fine except some minor tummy upset overnight. I ate very lightly in the morning and was ready to get on the boat. In conversation with a couple of the dive shop guys, I found out that it was a little choppy out on the water so I took a seasickness pill to prevent any issues. Well, it definitely did not work… the lessons on the boat were hard to follow because all I wanted to do was puke. Knowing that it would all end once I could jump in the water was motivation though. So, I stuck with it for the first dive. That dive was amazing. All my sickness floated away and I swam peacefully with schools of fish. I saw a sea anemone with a little Nemo family of clown fish living in it. Really it was so beautiful and relaxing.
Then at the surface came time for some physical tests. I had to float for 10 minutes (no problem, I like resting!) pull on and off our gear in the water, and complete a 200 meter swim from the boat to a buoy and back to the boat. Well, I completed all those tests with flying colors, but now it was time to get back in the boat. The seasickness immediately returned and we were informed that all the horrible tests (without the mask) we already aced, we had to do again and the next dive site. There were new tests too, but all my mind could think of was that I was at a deeper area, flooding my mask again with water. Mask, mask, mask, puke, mask, mask, mask, puke…. that was the thought in my mind. Over and over again.
Well, I was trying to deal with myself and get under control by the time we got to the next site. We kitted up, rolled backwards off the boat, and down we went except this time something was wrong. This time my chest was tight and as we descended there was a pain every time I would breathe in. I hung in there for a little bit while my buddy started his skills test, but at the time I didn’t know what this was. Plus, I was just taught that if something is wrong just go up. So, I signalled our instructor and cut the dive short.
On the boat we talked about how I used to have asthma, how much I’ve been working my lungs and all that day on the physical tests, and a little about anxiety. I’ve now postponed this skills test, slept a couple of hours, and folks I can tell you I’m pretty sure I had an anxiety attack under the water. What the hell, right?!?!? The regular diving is so peaceful and lovely, but I have to go through all these tests to make sure I am safe/know what I am doing. I can’t believe I am letting myself get all worked up over silly little tests, but then again I have always done this over examinations. The SATs, language tests, math tests… I always get anxious and it affects my ability to manage my emotions. The SAT, however, isn’t 10 meters below the surface and requiring me to take off my mask. Ugggh!!!!
That being said, I am regrouping tonight and re-evaluating the situation in the morning. So far I am 100% good for the dives tomorrow. I think they will be really relaxed and fun, so little anxiety over them. I’m rescheduling the skills tests I missed today probably for Wednesday. So, I will more than likely stay here through the day on Wednesday and check out Wednesday night to go to Stone Town. I will then have a celebratory cocktail, not only for completing my course but for also conquering myself. Which I seemingly have to do, again and again.