I looked at my child. ‘Lulu, what do you mean we never talk about feelings? How can we talk about them when you never talk about them?’
Lulu looked away uncomfortably. ‘Ok, ok. Why are you still talking?’
Another amazing part of having teenagers. We as parents have to guess stuff. How our kids feel. And don’t talk about your own feelings either – they don’t want to hear that. Our job as parents is to give, and to guess. Anything else; keep your mouth shut.
I’m just joking. Well, mostly. I have a jiggly problem see. And I think I need to talk about it in order to overcome it. Doh.
I had another little anxiety attack while diving a couple days ago. Came out of nowhere – again.
My brain played that same trick on me. It suddenly told me that I didn’t want to be down there, under a thick blanket of water. I had to intensely fight the urge not to go back up to the surface. It was all I could do just to breathe. My throat went as dry a drainpipe in a drought. And my heart was an alarm clock in my ears. Urghh. I hate it. It’s the worst.
Even though I never felt anxiety when I dived in my twenties, I’ve struggled with it in my forties. At times, it’s knocked me for six. With some help, I’ve slowly worked my way through it, and have come back. That’s the thing. I thought I was through it. I’d hoped never again to feel the crush of underwater claustrophobia.
Which leads me to standing in the saloon, wetsuit on, ready to go on the next dive. Because if I’ve learnt anything, I’ve learnt the next dive is key. Do it again. Practice breathing. Work past it. At the same time, I don’t want to be a burden to my family during these moments. Especially since they all consider diving to be the highest form of serenity. No small thing for teenagers. And for Jack – underwater is where he feels most at home.
So, I’ve found myself with a duty to talk. I have to explain what I’m feeling so that my family know not to be worried when I need a bit of time to myself during the dive. I might be a bit uncommunicative. I might be slow to descend, or even rise up a little bit at the beginning. I know I’m not going to bolt, but rising up can remove some of the annoying urge to want to. All these mechanisms I’ve learned – so I can go back to where I want to be. Enjoying the damn dive!
Feelings are complicated things though. Not everyone always wants to hear them. Ahem. Which makes me think that maybe this anxiety comes for me – so I can learn from it. I can understand it when it happens in others. Never think you’re better. Or you’ve got it magically together. Life doesn’t work like that. And I’m still learning.