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The terrible feeling of " Not enough air "

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by Pyde, May 2, 2019.

  1. NAUI Wowie

    NAUI Wowie Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Silicon Valley northern CA

    Is your Atomic regulator fully screwed out for max airflow? I have an Atomic also. Counterclockwise out. Its the nob on left next to where you stick the mouthpiece in your mouth. If that is fully dialed in you will not be getting as much air. If that is all the way out for free airflow then its all in your head which most of us have different issues we deal with.

    I had similar feelings in my cold water dives if water visibility is about 2 to 3 feet. Its sometimes that bad in Monterey CA and with all heavy gear i.e. an 8/7 mil semi dry suit, a heavy 120cf steel tank, pony, etc etc it was a bit daunting trying to submerge first couple times.

    Btw way the Atomic Z2 env sealed reg is pretty darn awesome. It will supply far far more air than you could possibly ever use if its dialed out counterclockwise.

    fyi I borrowed a friends apeks reg for my deep dive on AOW test dive and it was fully dialed in and at 90 feet I couldnt get enough air and with heavy finning to get over to the group I actually had a CO2 hit and literally passed out for a couple seconds and breathed in saltwater which woke me up I guess. At that point I had a dark Narc and had an extreme urge to shoot to the surface. I didnt and fought it and went up to try to get rid of the feeling. Still stayed and i went down to about 75 feet again to try to make it to the sea floor at 100 feet. Couldnt do it.
    A feeling of impending doom and death made me head back up to about 60 feet where another AOW guy had a dark narc from 100 ft deep and was now at 60 and basically finning hard for the surface and blew through his safety stop after 1 minute. I did not fin up hard nor did I blow through my safety stop because I was mentally pushing against feelings I knew were not real.

    A couple months later with a lot of research on what and why I passed out I went to check that regulator and found out why I had passed out. I felt stupid and I could have died but I learned the number one lesson. KNOW everything about the equipment you use even and especially if it is borrowed or rented.

    What my longwinded story is simply trying to relate is that many of us fight to overcome irrational fear and work our way through it. My solution to my low to zero viz diving was to go back out on the boat on the same dive trip two more times in the next month until I beat that fear down completely. I will NOT let my lizard brain win out over my thinking brain.

    and if all that didnt help you then ill quote a movie scene " You can dooo eeeet!"

    Just keep trying.
  2. Pyde

    Pyde Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Idaho

    Thank you for the encouragement and sharing your story........ love the movie quote....... My Z2 was open all the way on my Open Water dive.
  3. Bert van den Berg

    Bert van den Berg Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: New Zealand
    Jack3d42 has the right idea.

    Wife had similar issues till she went to a larger BCD. She`s now thinking about a backpack.
  4. Joris Vd

    Joris Vd Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Belgium
    I bought my girlfriend a brand new set of aqualung legends. They were severely undertuned straight out of the factory. They were tuned so badly, that she refused to use them and only used my balanced adjustables untill I set them up properly.
    What I'm trying to say is, the fact that you bought brand spanking new regs, doesn't mean they are set up properly. The Atomics could be set up with a cracking pressure so low it basically breathes for you.
    It's 2019, no modern reg on the market should breathe difficultly if properly tuned.

    Have you tried the regulator from your instructor and noticed a difference in breathing effort?
    If you instructor's regulator breathes alot better than yours it might actually be a gear issue.

    If it's not, it's all about slowing down and patience.

    I got really panicky the first time my head went under water with the regulator on.
    It took me fifteen minutes with the instructor one on one to get me comfortable with the regulator.
    Now I'm one year and 80 dives further and I am as comfortable as can be underwater.
    Give it some patience and just make sure you rule out potential equipment issues
    chillyinCanada and Pyde like this.
  5. NAUI Wowie

    NAUI Wowie Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Silicon Valley northern CA

    then like others have said and I did this also btw, do your 4 checkout dives 1 on 1 with an instructor. It is far far more relaxing and much less stress. His eyes are only on you and at all times. Its impossible to die. I mean thats just what I was telling myself :)
    Cindy Bowling and Pyde like this.
  6. Decopus

    Decopus Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: London, Ontario
    This may sound lame but on my very first checkout ocean dive I caught myself humming "Under The Sea" from The Little Mermaid. No joke.

    +1 for one on one with your checkout dives. That's what I had. He took his time with me and I felt confident that I was safe. My biggest issue was full mask removal and replace, yet here I am.
    Pyde likes this.
  7. Jcp2

    Jcp2 Literally virtually diving

    +1 on the getting used to snorkeling suggestion. Easy to do anytime in pool.
  8. Dsix36

    Dsix36 Solo Diver

    During my first pool training, I was forced to stand up on several occasions to be able to get my breath. I felt like I was suffocating but I wanted to learn and kept forcing myself back underwater.

    It turned out that I was subconsciously not exhaling fully and my shallow breathing was building up carbon dioxide in my lungs. Maybe my lack of faith in the regulator or just nervous from being underwater?

    Later when doing the ocean dives I could not sink due to to same problem. I had to make a conscious effort for several years to fully overcome this.
  9. Miyaru

    Miyaru Tec Instructor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: below sea level
    I'm sure you have read about the following before if you researched breathing techniques. But....just a recap:

    The urge to breathe comes from your brain. And the only thing your brain can measure, is the carbiondioxide level in your blood. If that level becomes too high, your brain tells your lungs to work faster.

    So the feeling is that you don't get enough air.

    But the situation is that you're building up too much carbondioxide.

    The solution is to focus on breathing out. Breathing out all the way. There's another advantage to breathing out completely: it relaxes your body. I'd suggest you lay down on the bottom of the pool, close your eyes and focus on breathing out completely. Breathe in and repeat this two more times. Then open your eyes, get off the bottom in trim and start your dive.
  10. NAUI Wowie

    NAUI Wowie Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Silicon Valley northern CA

    I did this on zero viz dives. slow deep in and long full exhales. Helped a lot

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