The biggest journey I have been on is my battle with the fear of open water, and in particular the sea. For many years I have heard of the benefits of open water swimming, particularly the cold water, how it can help your mental health and reduce depression. One slight snag was that, after watching Jaws at the age of 8, I had developed an unhealthy terror of the sea - or, more specifically, what might be in it. Prior to That Film, I had been having sailing lessons, and loved the sea. But after that time I was always scared, that fear increasing until I could no longer go in without shutting my eyes or being able to touch the bottom.
I found a local open water swimming group on Facebook, borrowed a wetsuit and took the plunge, literally and metaphorically, to go in the sea. It was March, it was freezing but the sea was calm and flat, yet I was truly terrified. You can see this on my face. I am almost grey with fear! But I was absolutely determined to go in! Determined! I stayed well within my depth and didn’t put my face in. I was frozen and didn’t stay in for more than maybe 10 minutes. The lady I was with was very kind, and admitted that she never went out of her depth either. I was really proud that I had got in, but I knew that I had a long way to go before I was confident in the water. Little did I know, that it would take me 18 months before I could open my eyes under the water!!! Or that it would take me another year after that to finally ditch the wetsuit and swim in just a swimming costume.
I love my swimming friends. We are all nuts, all supportive and we all understand the need, no the OBSESSION with getting in the water, to get that cold water buzz. It’s hard to describe, that euphoric feeling of joy sweeping through your whole body with the cold, endorphins saturating your body. For the rest of the day you feel a calm inner peace, it’s quite extraordinary. I am so proud i have conquered this fear, I have got so much out of it. I have snorkelled with seals, swum out and around boats, encouraged other people to try it and found an entire new lease of life. This is the best decision I ever made, to overcome that fear, which was preventing me from grabbing so many opportunities.
I have quite simply never looked back....
First sea swim...very scared. Look at my eyes!!! I was so very worried and it was bloody FREEZING