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The terrible feeling of " Not enough air "

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

  1. CT-Rich

    CT-Rich ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    Just keep I. Mind you can just lay on the bottom doing nothing. I like the extra session in the pool. Go in, lay down on the bottom and breath. Analyze it, get used to it and when you are ready, practice your skills.

    When you give the open water dive another go, take your time, none of this stuff is a race. Try being the first one in the water, but just breath off the reg until you are comfortable at the surface. Descend slowly, but at your own pace. Let it play out.

    I know it sounds hokey, but visualization can help a lot. The more you think about what that anxiety felt like,and how you want to control it, the less it will control you. Play it over in your head and visualize how you want react to it.
  2. Fyffer

    Fyffer Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Vancouver bc
    I’m new to with 10 dives and doing advanced this weekend. But what I find helps is I make sure before I decend I practice breathing how I would under water with no reg in my mouth helps me low my sac and also become in sync with how I be breathing below this works for me. But check your gear for sure like others have said try your instructors next time.
    Pyde likes this.
  3. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
    That feeling of "not getting enough air" is likely just a combination of having to breathe through your mouth, which is not the way you are used to doing it, and your brain dealing with a totally unfamiliar environment. Some people make the adjustment very easily, some people need a lot more time. As you admit, it seems you are probably in the latter group.

    So take your time. Spend as much time in the pool as possible. Your brain will gradually adjust.
    Pyde likes this.
  4. Saniflush

    Saniflush ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Supporter

    All great advice above so I will only add my encouragement. Remember, thousands of years of evolution have taught our brains that we are not supposed to be able to breath underwater. Teaching your brain otherwise is just a skill like any other and will come in time.
    Pyde likes this.
  5. Anish

    Anish Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Singapore
    One thing to try is distracting yourself. I found when I was distracted by pretty fish I forgot I was breathing. Just like on land. You dont think about breathing. Your body just does. Thinking about breathing underwater is scary. I have almost 100 dives but yet once in a while if I actually THINK about what I am doing, it slightly freaks me out. Then I look at the pretty fishies...
    Pyde likes this.
  6. EFX

    EFX ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: North Central Florida
    Assuming there is nothing wrong with your equipment I would suggest relaxing as much as you possibly can. I know, it's much easier said than done. There is a tendency for instructors/DM's to move the class along in a rather quick fashion, after all, they've done this many times before. Explain to them you need more time at the surface to sort things out, think about the upcoming dive. This will help you to relax. Underwater, take longer, slower, and deeper breaths. Short breaths may lead to a build up of CO2 exasperating the feeling of being out of air. It helps to actually think about your breathing and to breathe slow and longer. Again, kinda hard to do when you have to focus on completing skills underwater. True relaxation will only come with more diving but you will get there. One thing that helped me was signalling my buddy to stop. I would lay on the bottom collecting my thoughts and just look around consciously breathing slower and deeper and relaxing. I would tell myself, "Hey, I got this, I'm in control, and this is really cool."
    Pyde likes this.
  7. miadukes

    miadukes Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: South Florida
    I will have to look more into this. Makes sense.

    OP - Something similar (but not nearly as intense) happens to me on the first dive after I haven't done it in a while. Not so much the need to ascend but the quick short shallows breaths like if I can't breathe. I usually run thru my air pretty quickly on that dive as well. What helps me get accustomed ( like others have mentioned) I try to stay at the surface and just breathe using the reg for a little bit until I "calm down" but since I go thru air rather quickly anyway, I really like jumping in pulling the reg off and using the snorkel to acclimate. Then I can typically do just fine. Again, this is usually only on the first dive after a while. I also have asthma, so take that as it may.
    But I definitely second the PPs suggestion of taking a few extra minutes at the surface and descend at your own time. I'm usually still working my way down as everyone is below me and I'm usually one of the first ones ti jump in (apart from the fact that i get seasick and like to be in quick!) and I just sit there on the line using my snorkel and relaxing. I am also new like you (18 dives) so I am still "getting the hang of it".
    Pyde likes this.
  8. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    I would bet anything that the three quotes above nailed the issue.
  9. Neilwood

    Neilwood Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Scotland
    I am betting this had a hand to play in your stress level. I was lucky - I was one to one with my instructor the whole course and I loved the fact that I could take my time with no hassles from anyone else. He was happy to work to my pace. Finning from place to place was done slowly and leisurely.

    If you can get a one to one or even some extra pool time with an instructor or DM with no rushing I think it will help you a lot to get comfortable underwater.

    One of the biggest stress items in diving is rushing - rushing to kit up, rushing to descend, rushing to do skills, rushing round underwater etc. Having that extra few moments to get comfortable underwater really makes a difference. Make a point of breathing slowly with your inhales and exhales taking a few seconds each.

    If I haven't been in for a while, I tend to overbreathe on my first few dives unless I make a concious effort to slow down. I deliberately try to slow everything down on my first few dives to make sure I am relaxed.
    chillyinCanada and Pyde like this.
  10. Eric Sedletzky

    Eric Sedletzky Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA
    I’ll add to the build up if CO2 as a leading factor in what you’re feeling.
    Many OW students are nervous and breath shallow from the upper end of their breathing cycle. They hold a lot of air in their lungs that doesn’t get flushed out. Learn to breath fully and steadily.
    I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with your reg. Unless it’s grossly misadjusted, they’re all pretty good these days.
    chillyinCanada likes this.

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