Just punch fear in the face!

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Helping hand

Not sure if I’ve mentioned this in previous posts but I’ve spent the last several months undergoing EMDR therapy to deal with post traumatic stress disorder. One of the things I’ve worked on lately is attempting to make peace with and not have such a strong reaction to memories of nearly drowning 31 years ago. I still occasionally have nightmares of being under water. I love, love, love being around water and on it, but not in it…or even the threat of being in it!

Last week I had to go to the city where this happened. I was on a work trip. I braved a trip to the beach with one of my coworkers to test my reaction to the water. I had to step into the water. I had to allow the water to get up to my calves, if not higher. Well, after much firm but gentle coaxing by my coworker, I managed to make it calf-deep. I hung out there for a minute with my heart pounding and my stomach in my mouth. The water was very choppy. I think I would have felt better had the water been a bit calmer and if there had not been jellyfish hanging out.

I was determined to not have a panic attack. Of all the PTSD issues I’ve worked through, this one has freaked me out the most…even more than my skydiving adventure last year! Submerged in water on terra firma vs. leaping out of a plane at 10,500 feet. You figure that one out.

After the calves-deep-in-water saga, I stepped back far enough to where only my ankles were submerged. I was still having minor internal panic nonsense going on.

One cool thing happened when the water receded the first time — a shell fragment landed neatly on my right foot. I’ve always loved collecting shells, but typically only whole ones. I mindlessly picked up the fragment and placed it in my pocket. It wasn’t until I made it back to the hotel and emptied my pockets, placing the fragment on the table that I realized it looked like a hand. A sign of help? Support? Blessing? Well, it felt positive and I brought my helping hand home. It has a place on my altar. 🙂

Am I ready to go diving? Hell no! Not yet. I’m not even ready to go swimming. Perhaps, I’ll make it to the point of being able to sit in a calm swimming pool…with rails I can hold onto until the panic subsides. 🙂

Oh, and I placed a few drops of water from the Ganges along with some water blessed by the Dalai Lama into the water as a “gift” to the beach.

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