My fear of the unknown

Ever since I started freediving I’ve had a great time doing so. Only thing that is actually bothering me to explore the unexplored, is the fact that fear sneaks up on me. This totally chips of the relaxing edge of my freediving style.

macro water dropSomehow along the way I might have picked up a few drops of fear for the unknown, or even the things I’m not able to control. Why is it that when I dive down in the blue depths of Egypt I have no trouble to find my equalizing limit at about 40m’s deep, but back in the Netherlands when I try to dive down to 35m’s in Panheel I get stuck at 33m’s deep returning with a small lung squeeze caused by the stress of it.

Pinpointing the culprit
Jorg and I have analyzed this and concluded that it has something to do with a feeling making me uncomfortable at Panheel’s depths. What could it be that triggers this phenomenon?

  • First thing that comes to mind is the colder water, which makes it harder for me to equalize at depth. I found out by doing a CNF to 15m’s in only a swimming short. Equalizing stopped at 8-10m’s just because of the colder water on my face.
  • Second thing I can think of is the strange feeling I get in the dark and murky waters of Panheel; Fear! It’s a strange feeling and god knows why it’s triggered, but it’s a hell of a tormentor.

Fear analyzed

Staring into the abyss...
Staring into the abyss...

When it’s a fear thing, why do I fear the things I love to do;

  • Could it be that whenever I’ve done it once, I know what it is and the culprit is kicked out forever?
  • Would that mean that the fear is triggered by not knowing?
  • Or even by the fact I can’t control the outcome?
  • Could it be I had an earlier experience, which triggers these feelings?

My theory to my fear is that I’m having a fear from not knowing, I know for myself no one can control the outcome. You can influence it but never control it, I’ve accepted that a long time ago. It might be that it’s one event that keeps haunting me, but as I discussed it with Jorg, this didn’t seem to be the culprit. When I relate it to my freediving past, there are several items which also trigger that same feeling; I have the same feeling about exceeding my limits, the unknown… Maybe by writing it down in this blog makes me realize I shouldn’t fear a thing which is uncontrollable and just let go and hold on to my motto with freediving; Just do it!

So next time we ride out for Panheel, I’ll surely have to try and freedive with my eyes closed to give my theory a go…

5 thoughts on “My fear of the unknown”

  1. Hey Sanne,

    I’ve been troubled by the same experience. The lessons I’m following in my NLP master course give me some hints. While you say you reckognise the feeling in more then one context it’s probably an ‘ old’ feeling. It has been set in your younger years, when there was a situation where you were afraid in the dark, or that someone put pressure on you in a situation where you were afraid or somethng like that, so now on a situation where you want to ‘push’ there is a part that’s holding you back. What can you do?
    Try to find the earliest situation where you had this feeling. That could be going back to 4 to 6 years old. Look what the positive intention of the feeling is. And what does the young Sanne need to not be afraid. This can even be an important person in that situation (a dad or a mum).
    Then look for a situation in your life where you had a lot of that feeling (understanding, guts, trust, love somethig like that) and visualise the you give this feeling to your younger you or the other person(s) in that situation. Than let yourself grow up with that feeling and feel what a difference that will make. Than at the end visualise a freedive in Panheel at 35 meter or something and feel again the difference it makes.

    Maybe it sounds a bit zweverig (don’t know the translation ;-)) but give it a try. Try it when your relaxed and realy listen to yourself while doing it. If you find some trouble in doing it and you want to try it anyway you can always meet me and I’ll help you with some more NLP techniques. I’m always looking for someone to practise on.

    If you won’t it’s always nice to read about a different approach to work with fears, isn’t it? 🙂

  2. Hey Nanja,

    I’m always keen on receiving feedback, that’s why I post on the Internet. I would be stupid to discard feedback and criticism, when commenter’s have good intentions.

    I’ve been trying to look back at previous situations, but maybe not far enough. Recognizing it in other situations than one, also fills me with hope. So whenever I find my tormentor, deal with it and give it a spot in my mind, I can have peace of mind again whilst doing the freediving I love.

    It’s great to hear you’re progressing with your NLP master course, whenever I feel the need for help I know where I should be.

    Thanks Nanja

  3. I was away on holiday and forgot I wanted to reply to this…

    Finding out where the fear comes from and finding ways to minimize it are obviously great. Just last week I saw (in the corner of my eyes) Nanja and a dear buddy of mine work (with NLP techniques I think) on staying relaxed at depth. The results were really very nice to see!

    But want I wanted to write is: Why is your fear per se a bad thing? I mean (like you already wrote). Shit yes, it is dark, unknown, cold, unnatural even and many more bad things. So it’s logical you experience fear. But how serious you want to take that emotion is to some degree up to you.

  4. @Eric: You’re quite right with that comment, I do not want the emotion to take control over me. Sometimes the problem is that I’m not in control of ignoring a fright.

    That’s why I set out to do some close-eyed freedives the next time we’re in Panheel. Plus the fact that I wrote it down here and bring with me the things you and Nanja pointed out, hopefully I’m gonna get the fear factor down a few notches.

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