Having something frightening happen on a dive can do more than put you off your day. It can leave you with aftershocks that show in sometimes obvious, sometimes subtle ways. It can make future dives or diving in conditions similar to those in which the incident took place uncomfortable. A dive incident can put you off diving altogether. One of the most common results of someone experiencing a dive incident is - no more diving. That's right! You might have made a conscious decision to hold off for awhile before going for a dive again and the weeks turn into months then years. Or you may not remember ever saying "I'm not going diving again" yet your gear has been gathering dust in the back of the closet for ages.
A dive incident does not have to be the kiss of death to your love affair with SCUBA diving...
If you have been involved in a dive incident, you may be wondering:
"What can I do?"
Here are some things that can help:
- Understand that what you are going through is a normal reaction to an unusual event. You are not going crazy!
- Allow yourself to be with people with whom you feel safe & comfortable.
- Talk, talk, talk! Talk to people who you believe understand what you are going through. This can be spouse, partner, family member, friend, co-worker, or a mental health professional (psychologist, counselor, etc.) Tell them your story - focus on what happened, your reaction, what you are experiencing now. Avoid "walling off" or "burying" what happened.
- Avoid alcohol or taking other drugs
- Read the reactions people have to a dive incident on the PsychoDiver Web site (Go to "Reactions")
- Write out the story of what happened - include your reactions at the time (e.g., what you were thinking, feeling, etc.) and now.
- Read the stories of others who have had trouble with something that happened on a dive. (Go to "Close Encounter: Personal Accounts")
- Consider writing up your experience and sharing it with others by sending it to PsychoDiver
If someone you care about has been involved in a dive incident, you may also be wondering:
"What can I do?"
Here are a few ideas from others:
- Give someone who has been involved in a dive incident some information about reactions
- Offer to just listen quietly to someone who has been involved in a dive incident
- If you have had a close encounter yourself, share your own experience with someone who has just been involved in an incident
- Point someone who has just been involved in a dive incident to the PsychoDiver Web site
- Tell your local dive store or charter operator about the PsychoDiver Web site