Freediving and Mental Health

Freediving and Mental Health

Self confession post…

Let’s face it – the the pandemic created a mental health crisis that is far larger than the so called experts even gave consideration to.

Between lockdowns, travel restrictions, closed pool facilities, etc, I found myself spiraling down into dark pits of despair, disillusionment and feeling as though I was in a no mans land with no compass to give me any direction.

Mother Oceans embrace is my therapy – I have sometimes call it my descent therapy. The pressure on my body as I descend to depth, the underwater sounds, the internal presence that comes from feeling my heart rate slow down or the urge to breathe forcing me back to the surface to take in a a lung full of air… these have been what created balance in my life. The lack of these things created a dark void – a lack of drive, I let my training go, I had contracted one of the earliest undocumented cases of COVID in the city I live in. It took me over 6 months for my respiratory tract to recover to some semblance of normalcy.

Now as we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel of this pandemic moving into an endemic phase, how do I begin to get myself back to a state of balance inn my mental health.

It’s been said that nature in one’s church, a place of refuge, an escape from the stressors of modern life – That has been sorely lacking in my own life. I tried my best by doing more hiking, vigorous power hill walking training. I tried to do static apnea training (statics SUCK!)

Yet it just hasn’t been the same.

There is something about being surrounded by water – while in a wetsuit, that felt very calming for me. descending even if only to 5 meters that just seemed to make the troubles of the world disappear for a time.

I’ve realized that mental health isn’t something discussed that I’m aware of in the freediving community. And I think that needs to change.

Liquid Life Freediving is a passion venture that’s languished for one reason or another for several years. A lack of belief in myself being a big contributor tbh. Again, a mental health issue that has required a lot of work on my end to try and overcome. Add to that my approaching 60 years of age and that brings with it societal constructs/baggage of being “old”. I get that age is only a number but you get hammered with it enough times, you begin to believe the constructs as being factual.

A new part of Liquid Life Freediving’s mission is to help address the mental health aspect of life and how freediving is a form of therapy. Not about records, going deep, etc. This is about creating a new paradigm of BEING, where one freedive’s for the sheer joy of the activity, not because of trying to prove something to anyone else.

In keeping with the topic of this post, British Freediver Helena Bourdillon describes her struggles with mental health and how she is overcoming them on a daily basis.

I will be addressing the topic of mental health more and how freediving can be a form of personal therapy in creating a more positive outlook on life.

Let me know what you think.