As you have probably guessed from the Deptherapy trip I wrote about in my last blog, I have discovered that scuba diving does absolute miracles for my mental health and the company of a guy who shall only be known as Scuba Steve!
Steve and I have got on since the moment we met; he has also helped me accept a lot of the things I was denying I was going through. ( I think my Neuropsychologist is reaping the benefits of me being more open!)
Well….we have been gagging to get diving again and it couldn’t come soon enough… As soon as we started speaking to Chris, we knew he was the right bloke to do our dry suit course with, and it was in sunny Liverpool. Steve and I started to get excited, like kids in a sweetshop, and to be honest, after recent events we both needed it.
Chris turned out to be as nice a bloke in real life as he was on Facebook Messenger. We got the formalities out of the way and met his long haired general and fellow instructor Patsy who was equally as nice and seemed to embrace the squaddie type banter. We headed upstairs into the pool area which was like a sauna once you put your drysuit on 🙂
We did the drills and skills you need to know to get your buoyancy correct and to get yourself out of the possible complications that come with wearing a dry suit. Then, Chris suggested we head to the Harbour… well, Steve and I snatched that offer out of his hand before he had finished his sentence!
Still as excited as kids, Chris explained to Steve and I the skills and dive brief we were going to follow. We saw some plaice (the stuff you see in the chippy!) and a mussel arc. We continued the dive with more skill drills and learnt how to make adjustments to our buoyancy. Then we finished the dive, got out with grins from ear to ear and fresh clear heads. Chris did a debreif and we couldnt thank him and Patsy enough…it genuinely did us both a world of good. Words can’t express what diving does to us and the feelings it brings with it. Tomorrow we should be drysuit divers!
I wasn’t feeling my best and I think if it had been anything else I would have cancelled and just gone home with the fatigue, feeling down… But, this was not just about diving, this was my key to the kingdom, my access to UK diving, my access to the thing that can clear my mind and fix my mood just by blowing bubbles.
I got in the taxi, put my headphones in and tried to get rid of the fatigue, which could cause all sorts of problems in the water. Scuba Steve was stood at the entrance waiting for me, as he always does (he is a legend of a bloke). I met up with Chris Ridd and was joined by our new instructor Kerry Place.
Kerry gave the dive brief and asked about our injuries. Once the brief was over it was time to kit up. This is the first time I started to get the excitement back that had been sucked out of me by the rubbish day. For those of you that have ever been in a drysuit, it’s not an easy item to get into, you start with your legs, easy… then pull it up to your chest, a bit of jiggery pokery and that’s done.. this is the interesting bit.
As you might know my shoulder is in all senses of the word, screwed. I had hurt it during the kit on/kit off drills last night. Steve had to help me in…bad arm first, then good arm (Steve doing all the work). To get your head in I can only describe it as if someone was giving birth to me! There is a lot of squeezing and moving of your neck, all to push your head through a hole that is significantly smaller than your head.
Finally, we got in the water, completed our buddy checks and then we were off. Neck wet, stresses gone, chin level, anxiety gone, head underwater, clear and peaceful…
I know i keep ranting on about it but diving isn’t just good for my depression and anxiety; it works miracles on making the brain clear of negative thoughts. The dive was amazing and it did everything I needed that day.
Time for the theory. Chris and Kerry were really good at explaining the theory as per the manual.In fact, they were both absolute stars. Steve and I owe you a beer…..at least!
Did someone say Qualified Drysuit Diver?
Yesterday was a good day!
The first thing on my agenda was the Drysuit exam or knowledge reviews. Due to issues with my text book and learning materials being delivered late I hadn’t been able to revise… not like I’d be able to remember the information anyway!
I got to the diving centre at 10am and met Scuba Steve, Patsy and Chris. We headed to the classroom; Steve had already done the revision in the book.
Gemma turned up and knew that I had not received my book but just in the same relaxed way they had all week, the Glacier Dive Team helped me get to grips with the knowledge I needed in a format that my brain would accept. We sat in the classroom and talked about diving and the the things that ‘may’ come up on the exam.
We then went into the exam, wrote down our answers and once finished, Kerry spoke through each of the questions so that I knew where I had done good (and not so good).
Steve and I both passed with flying colours! Thanks to everyone for an all round awesome experience, especially Scuba Steve and the team at Glacier Diving. I feel reinvigorated and I can’t wait to go diving next time!
Jon Beever blogs at: https://jonbeever.wordpress.com
Find out more about the work of Deptherapy at: http://www.deptherapy.co.uk