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Randomly feeling panicky and anxiety -opinion

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Scubafanatic25, Mar 23, 2019.

  1. Ucarkus

    Ucarkus Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Berlin, Germany
    Hormonal fluctuations and anomalies may affect susceptibility to panic and anxiety such as overactive thyroid gland. You could consider having your values checked.
  2. g1138

    g1138 Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Charleston, SC
    60+ feet is when Nitrogen Narcosis can start to set in. Symptoms of it can include anxiety and paranoia.

    It is something you can develop better tolerances to with more experience under the effeccts.

    As you go deeper you increase your threshold to absorb more Nitrogen into your body. That's why divers saturate with Nitrogen when diving. Recall in your knowledge that deeper means more pressure which elevates partial pressures of gasses in your body.

    Nitrogen narcosis - Wikipedia

    Dive easy dives and within your comfort limit (both physical and mental). As you experience more dives where you start to slight panic with depth but overcome it, you'll develop better mental capacity to deal with these and it will become more non-chalant.

    My first deep dive to 70 feet my buddy and I were in euphoric panic; hurridlying to do our math and navigation under the instructors watch.

    Now 500+ dives later I don't feel effected by narcosis until I hit the 90ft+ range. And when I do it's become less of panic and more of sluggish mental capacity or judgment. Yet another reason to plan dives diligently with couple backup plans when diving deep.
  3. boat sju

    boat sju Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Haslett, Michigan
    I asked about his wet suit because I had a friend that seemed to have a panic attack on the surface and we ended up attributing it to a very tight neck seal. Have you seen this happen? Is it claustrophobia, or is it restriction on the carotid actually affecting blood flow? Just curious as to your opinion.
    chillyinCanada and Kimela like this.
  4. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    The standard explanation included in basic OW dive classes is that tight neck seals can restrict the carotid artery and create what is called a sino carotid reflex.
    lamarpaulski likes this.
  5. Kimela

    Kimela Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: St Louis
    I recommend seeing an EMDR therapist to nip this in the bud. (EMDR is a psychotherapy that helps you process issues more quickly than regular talk therapy). There's something that is causing the anxiety - and I'm guessing it's related to the zero vis diving you referenced. There are plenty of certified EMDR therapists in the Phoenix area (and I would recommend a certified therapist rather than someone who has just gone through the training) - check out the EMDRIA website (emdria.org). EMDR won't require medication that you'd later have to figure out how to stop - it just helps you process what's bugging you. Good luck!
  6. boat sju

    boat sju Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Haslett, Michigan
    I guess I didn't remember actually discussing it because, for me, it was 27 years ago. :wink: The concept must have been rattling around in my brain still. Anyway, we do need to be conscious of this potential issue.

  7. AdivingBel

    AdivingBel Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Missouri
    Lots of good info. IMHO, I don't think your situation is out of the ordinary. For me at about your stage of diving, things began to slow down and diving became more about the experience and less about the process. I started developing more self-awareness which is critical for diving, but can also lead to thoughts both good and bad concerning risk. I can see where this can also bring about anxiety. The fact you are able to follow your training and stay composed is a good sign. Your feelings may just be your body telling you not to push your dive envelope too fast. Take your time. There is always another dive. Most of all it should be fun. :)

    Do you dive with a dive computer and do you have the resources to download and view your dive profiles? You may find your dives are deeper than you estimate. It can happen easily in tropical environments. Any amount of narcosis can turn dark when mixed with anxiety. As it's already been pointed out, once your breathing cycle starts to suffer, how you feel can spiral dramatically and become difficult to control. Also it takes a while for newer divers to dial-in their buoyancy and trim. You may be diving sawtooth profiles or exerting too much effort which can affect how you feel. Good luck figuring out your issue. Dive safely and enjoy yourself.:) All IMHO, YMMV.
  8. Frackingawesome

    Frackingawesome Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Lancaster, Pa
    When my wife and I started diving she had some of the same stories you told. She was ok for a while. As she started to get more comfortable and knowledgeable. Everything was fine until a very bad dive where we got silted out at 75ft. A passing diver stirred up all the silt on a wreck and we went from 50+ vis to 0 in about 30 seconds. We got separated and she panicked. SHe started to the hull as to the surface. I finally caught her at around 40' and calmed down. we ended the dive safely but the damage was done. no matter how clear the later was as soon as we started to approach 65'-70' she would start to feel very nervous, breath really fast and ultimately start to panic. It took a while for her to get over this fear. maybe 30 dives.

    In the end, it was a combination of practicing in a controlled location, pool or quarry at 10-30 feet. in her case, we talked about what exactly scared her. being alone? no vis? not feeling like she had the skill to handle a situation as we experienced. it took a while but she finally figured out it was the feel of being alone. Isolated that deep. so we practiced what to do in the situation. It took time but slowly she got more comfortable with being alone. but she also needed the skills to know that she could handle the situation.

    Skills like

    being able to calm her self down. Meditation(mindfulness) helped a lot with this. She could stop the anxiety from getting worse by recognizing it early and by breathing was able to either slow it to reverse it.

    A solo Diver class so she had the skill to self-rescue if she needed.

    We tried switching her to nitrox to help with not getting narced but that was not her problem. It still might be worth a try.

    and I as her buddy had to get much better at being aware of not just my situation but also hers. knowing her limits and knowing our plan helped a tone.

    Anyway, hope that helps. she did get over it and now regularly dives to 100+ with no issues. there is hope and you can get through it.
    Roy_W, Kimela and Esprise Me like this.
  9. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    Hi @Scubafanatic25

    Right after getting her OW, my wife was frightened by jumping off the boat into the blue, deep water. We spent time in Bonaire, where shore diving and most boat diving started over shallow reef. Once she passed over the shallow reef, she had no problems descending down the slope or wall. After a while, she was no longer fearful of jumping into deep water. We talked about it many times, it was an emotional response that she could not control. The additional diving experience was required for her to get over it.

    Best of luck
    RayfromTX, Trailboss123 and BlueTrin like this.
  10. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    I know nothing, but this may be the case. Most of my local and other diving is in very or fairly limited visibility, so you have to be fairly close to the bottom to see it. On my one and only tropical trip (Panama) it didn't really bother me, but seemed strange to be able to see the bottom from quite a ways above it.
    One rare time here in Nova Scotia I was ascending and could see the boat from 70'. That didn't seem as strange (because I was going up?).

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