Saturday, August 8, 2015

Overcoming claustrophobia is easier on vacation

I have very few real fears in life. However, claustrophobia is one of them. 

I hate going to the dentist as I feel like I am going to drown and that I can't breathe with all of the tools in and around my mouth.

I hate totally enclosed spaces.  I need to be able to see a way out. always!

So when I booked our excursion for our Mexico trip, I specifically said.. I want to rappel. I want to zip line. I DO NOT WANT  to snorkel, go in a cave or anything remotely like that! Swimming in a cenote, yes. but NOT if it is underground.

Fast forward to our trip. We get picked up on time and head to the meeting point of the different groups. All was fine... until.

The tour guide (Ivan) said that we are going to zipline, rappel and then snorkel in a completely underground pool and then eat lunch... I was about ready to have a panic attack before we even arrived at the destination.

Anyway, we arrived at our destination after a long and a little scary drive into the jungle. It was so remote that Doug and I were laughing to ourselves that maybe the real adventure was that we were going to be dropped off in the middle of the jungle of Mexico and told to make it back to civilization! 

No that didn't happen. This was a first class operation. (Adventuras Mayas)

First up, we suited up for rappelling. 

I've never rappelled before. But I could see that the ropes were sturdy and that they weren't going to let me die. So I volunteered to go first when they said that ladies would be going before the men. Heck, I about jumped for the opportunity. This new thing was in my wheel house as my older sister Libby and I used to climb the rock walls of a humongous church that were at least two stories high when we were between 8 and 10 years old! We did that with no one belaying us, no safety harness and no one knowing what we were doing!  and we didn't die. So I figured here I was fine. Besides, if you were early in the group you would get extra turns!!

So off I went.

Here is the picture from their photographers.

I got to the bottom and immediately took off for the top. It was 70+ stairs STRAIGHT UP and these stairs were STEEP! I'm glad I did as I got to see Doug go down!

If you look to the middle of the picture, you can just barely see Doug lowering himself down. Yes, we were way up high!

I followed him down and then we both took off for the top again. Yes, another almost 100 stairs! I was feeling it this time around! 

I was the only female to go 3 times. Yep, I am that nuts. This picture is one of my favorites of Doug and me. I love that you can see how stinkin' high we are and we have already lowered ourselves down almost one story at this point!

After this we went to the zip lines. And more stairs! Oh my. This totally counts as a workout.

I loved zip-lining. It was so much fun. It was not however comfortable. Those harness straps hurt. But totally worth it! We did 3 lines, which meant a LOT of STAIRS!

Then we changed clothes for (.... cue dramatic music) the "swim."

It was with my heart in my throat and more than just a little fear that I walked down those stairs into the cave. OH MY GRAVY. BATS WERE FLYING AROUND!!!

Anyway. We were directed into the water that was freezing. I think the shock to my system allowed my mind to not dwell on the fact that we were underground in a cave!

After all the groups had their photo op, we set out. Which by the way meant putting the mask and snorkel on. The guide actually pushed the mouth piece into my mouth. Probably the best thing to do given that I don't know that I would have done it on my own.

It was HARD. I had to really focus on not panicking. cause I was. I focused on my feet and the water and did my best to just put my face in the water and enjoy the experience.

I can't say that I enjoyed snorkeling. I'm not planning on doing that ever again.

but I did it. I didn't let fear win.

And I can tell my children that I don't want to snorkel because I don't enjoy it. not because I'm too scared to try.

What I did enjoy? The incredible water. The gorgeous colors and trying something new. That I can totally get behind.

Maybe that is the way to overcome a fear. Find a way to embed the fear inducing event in the middle of a fantastically awesome experience. Because overall, the day was incredible. So next time, I am feeling overwhelmed and claustrophobic, I am going to channel that cenote and enjoy the cold water and beautiful colors and get through the snorkeling!

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