I don’t remember how old I was – maybe 13? My family and I were in America and I think we were in Florida. There was a huge pool and Jay and I were splashing about in it, having fun. Suddenly, these alarms started going off and people in the pool were cheering.
“What’s going on?” I asked a nearby swimmer.
“Waves” He grinned back at me “The alarm is to let you know they’ll start the wave machine so if you’re not a strong swimmer or have a floating device, you’d best get out”
Even at that age, I was too cocky for my own good.
It’ll be fun.
I thought instantly of going to the beach in Gove – about 20 minutes walk from my home. My friends and I would go after school (yes, we really did just go to the BEACH after class) and we’d ‘wave jump’ for hours. We’d wade into the sea until we were about waist-deep in the water and as waves would come, they would lift us from the sand below and them dump us back again after they passed.
This will be just like that.
But it SO WAS NOT.
These waves, created by some machine from hell made waves that were about 5-8 meters high. I was already in deep water where I couldn’t touch the bottom so when a wave lifted me even higher and dumped me – it was ABJECT TERROR that this whole experience filled me with.
I was being bounced around – mostly under water where I couldn’t breathe – and off people’s floaty boats, unicorns, pool noodles, etc.
I struggled immediately.
This is it, JD. This is how you die. In a family leisure centre in the states.
After what was probably about 5-10 minutes (I’m telling you, it felt like I was going to die – it felt like the waves had been getting bigger and stronger and more terrifying and it felt like I had been fighting for my life for about 3 hours), I couldn’t help it – I grabbed onto the edge of someone’s little inflatable donut thingy they were sat in. The girl/guy who was it it was not pleased and frowned at me.
“I’m sorry” I sputtered “I’m not good at this”
They must have taken pity on me and let me hold on and the next 10 minutes were A LOT better.
Then the waves stopped and WISER people than me got back IN to the pool for leisurely swimming.
I got out and I didn’t get back into a pool – ANY POOL – for a good few months afterwards.
That’s how much nearly drowning affected me.
What I wanted to compare it with today is depression.
Except depression’s warnings are so slight and so subtle that you don’t know to get out of the pool and before you know it – you’re drowning.
I become obsessed with a holiday
I think 24/7 about ‘having a rest’
I lose interest in things that I really love
I don’t sleep
I eat too much, seeking comfort in the fried/fatty things of this world
Then the waves come and I’m unprepared.
These are my ‘waves’ right now:
I’m stressed and unhappy at work
The ‘girl gang’ at my work on the Admin team are not nice to me and that is increasing my anxiety greatly
I’m still very unwell – so physically I’m struggling
While all this is going on – ALUN’S PARENTS ARRIVED YESTERDAY and will be living with us for the next 3-4 weeks.
I am expecting horrific ladypains in about 2 weeks. Maybe less.
So if you love me – even a little bit – I beg of you, please shoot me in the face.
I can’t cope with what’s in my life right now because to me, I’m 13 years old again, trying to survive in a pool that’s trying to kill me.
I can’t work these long hours when I’m unwell and I can’t even go home to rest after a long day of work because Alun’s parents will be there – judging me. Waiting for me to mess up so they can pounce “A-HA!”
I just want to get out of the pool.