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In Too Deep – facing our fears

I have taken on quite a few challenges in recent years: marathons, 100 mile bike rides, climbing mountains (I’ll be doing this again at the weekend).  But in September, I’ll be facing, what is turning out to be, my greatest challenge yet – open water swimming in the Serpentine.

Swimming isn’t a problem for me, I can happily jump in a pool and swim however many lengths I can fit in before I get bored.  Tackling the open water however, is proving to be far more difficult than envisaged.

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For instance, it’s not every Saturday morning that you have to be rescued from a supervised lake by a kind life-guard in a canoe. But this is exactly what happened recently when I got out of my depth, in more ways than one.

I’ve never liked to be too deep in water, the fear of not being able to stand up or grab hold of something buoyant, is a real one.  Finding yourself in the middle of a very deep lake, with equal distance (long) from each side and no way of touching the bottom (without diving down) can bring on real symptoms of panic, I have found.

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But I have been back in the lake (not necessarily the same one).  I stayed in the shallow bit but I felt it was progress.  Next time I hope to go a bit deeper, I’m not sure I’ll go all the way round yet but I will go further out and the time after that I’ll go a bit further still.  I guess it’s a bit like when you’re learning to walk, you take a few steps, fall over, get back up and then try a few more.  The thought of not progressing is not an option, you keep moving forward.  It’s refreshing to know that even now, when I feel all grown up, there’s still plenty to learn and experience in this life.

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