How Scuba Diving Helps Me To Understand And Deal With Trauma

Trauma can have such an impact on a life, that a person doesn’t always understand why they respond in the way they do, to certain life situations and experiences.

Last night, I completed my first pool dive of 2018 with  PADI Master Instructor Rob Keys from local Dive Centre, Dive Odyssea. 

I’m a qualified  PADI Open Water Diver and have been since 2007. When our little family of four, learnt to scuba dive on the warm hearted, tropical, thai island of Koh Tao. The dive school we learnt at, was then called Sunshine Divers and is now Assava Dive Resort.  Situated on the quieter, southern end of the island. In the beautiful bay of Chalok Bann Koh. Under the stewardship of Platinum Course Director – Natalie Hunt.


A gentle giant called Bear taught our little family of four how to scuba dive and as they connected with scuba diving, I connected with terror – something which had been with me unconsciously since my teenage years.Through the training process, I began to recognise and understand trust – how it’s built. What happens when it’s been broken.

I recognised that I trust, in the right circumstances, with the right person. My judgement was sound but it didn’t explain the feeling of terror.

That gradually came to light in subsequent years and through personal therapy, which I did over the telephone, to enable me to feel more in control of the process. (A much needed element for my trauma.) A lot of reading and a willingness to begin to take on the mammoth task of doing the things I wanted – I began to encounter the internal (and external) obstacles that stepping out of my personal comfort zone provided and dealing with the challenge of my behaviour and thinking, which had kept me safe all these years, but had also stopped me living the life I wanted to live.

It helped me understand why I struggle in certain situations, which on reflection, for me as a person, when much younger, I wouldn’t have thought twice about. The trauma, I now understand both professionally and personally, caused my nervous system to become ‘stuck’ and simple things would make me anxious. At times, I no longer understood or even felt like myself. Confused as to why I did the opposite than what I felt was right for me, within my life.


This Open Water Course – was the first step  in doing something, which I had always wanted to do since childhood, when my days were spent exploring the undersea world of Jacques Cousteau and watching documentaries about the natural world. I especially loved those on the Great Barrier Reef.

I had always dreamed of scuba diving in Australia, but had never committed to doing this, amongst other things I had dreamed of doing. So, in effect. I left me out of my life.

Last night helped me realise, that understanding, allows me to feel as if I have more control in certain situations, which would be scary and threatening for me without it. This is where the pool lessons, which my daughter lovingly bought me for my birthday, are going to help me become more assertive and find my voice under the ocean waves. Also, due to the regulated breathing technique needed when scuba diving,  it provokes and creates peace. Calms the nervous system during the process, as breathe needs to be controlled and relaxed. Another win I think!

Last night Rob went through setting up all the gear with me and I felt something click within.

As we descended below the surface, for the first time I used only two weights – a target I would like to keep, when I next dive in the open ocean. Although with the salt content, I know that will be more challenging. And although I had a slight difficulty with the regulator – it feels as if my brain, at the same time as gaining some control over the process on a deep level, is also becoming more malleable and enabling me to be less controlling on a surface level. The paradox of surrender I suppose!

I’m now looking forward to my next session in the pool.

I hope Rob’s up for dealing with me as I gain confidence.

I’ve set my goal – which is to end the six sessions, with the feel of having had fun, rather than it all being rather stressful.

If I manage that, I’ll be a happy diver and ready to take on the next challenge…





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