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Question
Posted by: Fear | 2012/07/12

How can I overcome this?

Hi there 

I have an intense fear of the ocean, or rather big waves. I know it sounds silly, but the past 5 years or so I''ve had this really bad fear of drowning in a tidal wave (or mass of water coming from the ocean). Ever since the waves in Phuket! I''m petrified to say the very least. I have re-occurant nightmares of this, I can''t even think of actually going to the ocean, it frightens me so much.

We went on holiday to Durban 3 years ago and most nights whilst I was there I would wake up in a panic, so scared. Because I could actually hear the waves breaking. This resulted in me not going down to the beach very often with my family.

Now, we live in a very small town with only 1 MD in the area. I want to seak help for this, but financially I can''t. The nearest doctors are most probably 2 hours drive away.

An opportunity has now arisen where we''ve been offered very cheap accommodation in Durban, but I''m afraid to say that I just can''t bring myself to go. My husband laughs at me, and he wonders why now all of a sudden I have this fear. I just haven''t told anybody, because they''ll most probaby think its stupid and laugh at me.

My fears are really getting the better of me. I constantly fear of dying and leaving my children behind. I can not comprehend that I will leave this life. And sometimes I get afraid to even drive in a car because I fear I will be in an accident and die.

I fear heights, I just can''t go higher up than 3 stories before I start to get dizzy and my legs go weak.

Now I''m faced with all 3 - driving long distance to the ocean and staying on the 2nd floor. I don''t know how to handle this???

On top of this all, everywhere you look and people you speak to they are saying the world will end on the 21 December 2012 - I feel like I''m about to loose it!

How do I get over these fears?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

You don't mention where you live, but if you'd go on holiday to Durban, I'm guessing its not at the coast. If you live inland in most of SA, it'd require a tidal wave to end all tidal waves, an Apocalypse and End of the World to even manage to get your feet wet !
But then, this is typical of phobias - they are irrational and unreasonable but compelling and fearsome.
They are not vuluntary or stupid, but often seem so to people fortunate enough not to have experienced them.
Fortunately they respond well to proper treatment, from a shrink. Arrange to see a good local shrink for a full assessment and diagnosis, and a discussion of treatment options. Ideally, these should include some medications of the sort also used to treat depression ( and NOT sedative tranqullizers ), and CBT ( Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ) a special form of counselling able to help you learn to surpass those fears, control such concerns and feel calm and confident, even if you went to the beach and took up surfing !
Its much easier than you might imagine to conquer such fears. On the other hand, left to themselves, they tend to grow more severe and get more elaborate, so don't waste more time being handicapped by them.
People who believe they know when the world will end are total idiots and should be ignored scornfully. Everyone who irresponsibly makes such firm predictions should be sued for damages on December 22nd, by everyone who was worried by them.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Fransie | 2012/07/20

@ Ella

Jou ma se p0es

Reply to Fransie
Posted by: Ella | 2012/07/12

Jinne Fransie maar jy is vieslik!
Om ''n opinie te he oor iets waarvan jy duidelik niks weet of verstaan nie en dit nogals so kras doen, spreek boekdele van jou.

Reply to Ella
Posted by: Lilly | 2012/07/12

Omg it''s like i wrote this mail! i have exactly the same fears and it''s just getting worse as i''m getting older!!! I am petrified of the ocean and not even going to the coast this year - instead booked a place in a resort in Hartbeespoort which my family is not happy about at all but I just cannot go near the ocean again! Worse part is my daughter is going with her dad to Cape Town on holiday in December over the 21st and I am horrified and almost want to cry when i think about it!

I also think about car accidents all the time and no, i''m not some paranoid mother or woman - i''m actually a very level-headed person but yes this freaks me out to and as for heights - I watch a movie where people fall from dizzy heights or they show a picture of heights and I get this weird feeling in the pit of my stomach! I am super-alert when driving because I fear accidents with my kids in the car and I dream about loads of dirty water all the time - even went as far as googling what these dreams can mean lol

My hubby thinks it''s hilarious too - I don''t!!!

Point is gf you''re not alone! I suffer from the same anxiety and it''s sometimes driving me insane!!!

However, i''ve been trying to tell myself the fear of the ocean is maybe a sub-conscious thing from those silly movies ... or maybe not. Maybe i drowned in a previous life or have bad experiences I just cannot recall.

Anybody else experiencing this???

Reply to Lilly
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/07/12

You don't mention where you live, but if you'd go on holiday to Durban, I'm guessing its not at the coast. If you live inland in most of SA, it'd require a tidal wave to end all tidal waves, an Apocalypse and End of the World to even manage to get your feet wet !
But then, this is typical of phobias - they are irrational and unreasonable but compelling and fearsome.
They are not vuluntary or stupid, but often seem so to people fortunate enough not to have experienced them.
Fortunately they respond well to proper treatment, from a shrink. Arrange to see a good local shrink for a full assessment and diagnosis, and a discussion of treatment options. Ideally, these should include some medications of the sort also used to treat depression ( and NOT sedative tranqullizers ), and CBT ( Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ) a special form of counselling able to help you learn to surpass those fears, control such concerns and feel calm and confident, even if you went to the beach and took up surfing !
Its much easier than you might imagine to conquer such fears. On the other hand, left to themselves, they tend to grow more severe and get more elaborate, so don't waste more time being handicapped by them.
People who believe they know when the world will end are total idiots and should be ignored scornfully. Everyone who irresponsibly makes such firm predictions should be sued for damages on December 22nd, by everyone who was worried by them.

Reply to cybershrink

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