Tag Archives: Black-out

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…

Avoiding a Split second decision

IMG_1100.jpgAt the end of 2003 I started freediving and ever since that time I’ve been evolving and growing in my freediving experience. However with all the good that comes from freediving, somewhere along the way a bad habit has been digging itself in my way of experiencing freediving. I’ll try and put it in words as the “Split second decision”.

When I’m doing a freediving performance, whether it’s for training or for competition, my decision making isn’t controlled in a way I’d like. It should be as simple as this: if your brain doesn’t send a signal to your body to surface, you won’t surface from a performance.

back_on_track.jpgSo, why is it that I never had the urge to really push my self and see where I end up when I wouldn’t have made the split-second decision? In all my freediving I never had a single black-out and I actually think that on itself that is quite a remarkable achievement, since I’ve been freediving on a certain level where you’d expect it to happen. So far I’ve been looking at this from a negative/rational side and keeping in the back of my mind that blacking out sets you back in training, competition and in general.

Why shouldn’t I try and find my real limit and go for the experience and see how I recover from a black-out, as there have been just as many positive/inspiring stories as there are negative/rational stories. Maybe it takes away my split-second decision making organ and persuades it into not making the early call to bail.

twilight_freediving.jpgThe quest to end this habit has been around since Jorg, Marieke and I have spotted it in my behaviour… And after looking at this part of freediving from a certain point of view it’s time for me to look at it from a different point of view and meet my match in finding out where real limits are defined. I won’t go blindly into black-outs now, but I see it as the process where this whole training period revolves around. Explaining it in two key-phrases:

Breaking the mental limiter.

Black-out not as a means, but a consequence I’d be willing to accept.

I would like to hear your Feedback
If you had a black-out:

  • What is your opinion on this matter?
  • How did you experience a black-out vs. eventually raising your limits?

If you didn’t have a black-out:

  • How is your point of view in this matter?
  • What is your opinion about a black-out?