I am a 60 year old adult who is afraid to put my head under the water. I always keep my head up out of the water or I swim on my back. But I love being in the water…I am always on my guard and fearful that I will get pulled under the water. I took swimming lessons as a child and remember diving off the board into the pool and I remember my dad would throw objects into the pool and I would swim down and retrieve them. So I have not always been afraid.
But one time my older brother and I were swimming in a lake and he was playing shark attack. He swam up to me when I was not looking and pulled me under.  I struggled to get away and in the process, took in water. He finally realized that I was in trouble and got me out of the water. I have been scared of getting my head below the surface of the water ever since.
I am continuously amazed at how many e-mails I receive like this one from Project Participant #22- Annette. Before starting this project, I really had no idea how common this phobia was among adults. In fact, most individuals can tell me the exact moment the fear started; some have sent me e-mails describing the experience in vivid detail. For many, reading the article that Nicole (Participant #6) wrote stirred up some difficult memories, and even just admitting to and writing about the fear has been therapeutic.
AnnetteI can’t imagine how great it must feel to step out of one’s comfort zone and conquer a long-time fear. Annette’s experience was reminiscent of my lesson with Marty (Participant #21). She was so overcome with emotion that she broke into tears when I hugged her at the end. It was a really powerful moment, and she responded to it when we followed up the next day:
I was surprised by my reaction at the end (the tears of joy) of our lesson. I suppose it was the final realization that I can move on from my fear. I am looking forward to getting back into a pool to practice swimming – with my head in the water! You are an awesome teacher and I greatly appreciate what a wonderful gift you have given me.

AnnetteWho would have thought that giving an hour of time to someone could be so fulfilling! I asked Annette what her partner thought about being a part of my project:

She thought it was great. It was hard to explain to her because I am always doing “stuff” in the water. So she really had no idea what was going on in my head when I had to get into deep water. She did say that she remembered one time when I fell off my stand up paddle board and shot up out of the water like a breaching whale to get back on!

I could only imagine! I hoped Annette would make it back into the water soon, while she was still brave and confident. My wish came true when I received this e-mail from her a week later:
AnnetteI just wanted to let you know some more update on my “no-longer fear of water”. On Saturday my partner and I went stand up boarding and she said that she could tell that I was not as fearful as before. She said that I was standing more upright and when the wakes came I did not kneel on the board. She also said that she could feel that I was calming and lighter on my board. She said that it was remarkable! Thanks, again for all your guidance.
You are so very welcome, Annette. It’s experiences like this that show me I’m on the right track! And after watching this video, how could I not LOVE doing this?! Check out the smile on your face at the end.