5 weeks sober. Wow.
My alarm went off at 6am after an awful nights sleep. This was mainly down to the fact I was up at 3am talking myself out of the wild swimming, I’d optimistically signed up for when filled with the joys of a pink fluffy.
5am someone walked past the house, presumably drunk, singing badly and loudly.
So when the alarm went off at 6am all I wanted to do was roll over and go to sleep. My hubster, planning ahead for this, had already packed my bag for the morning. My clothes were laid out. He gave me a shove and told me to go and get on with it.
So on with it I did. After driving down the motorway in the wrong direction to which I needed to go, I managed to get to the venue 10 minutes before starting. I felt sick, like an electrifying fear was stuck in my wind pipe and under my chest. I think they call it fight or flight.
I queued to register, got my ticket and looked for a bag drop. There wasnt one. I’d only brought to the lake my car keys, phone and towel damn.
A lovely lady called Vicky saw me panicking and struck up a conversation. Whilst chatting she asked if I’d like to put my stuff in her waterproof bag. I gratefully accepted.
We lined up and Vicky and I continued to chat then another lady Michelle joined in. The line moved forward and before I knew it, it was my turn to get in.
The water felt cool but delicious against my skin. I felt panicky again with my breath coming out in puffs. I passed the swim test and off I could go.
Vicky caught up with me and we swam together. We were both quite slow doing breast stroke but I was really enjoying all the sensations.
The sight of the lake, with the old house to the side and the beautiful old trees. The mist coming off the lake. The water smooth like glass. Chatting about everything and nothing with another swimmer. Feeling the anxiety subside and a sense of joy fill my soul.
The hour was over in what felt like 5 minutes. I clambered out and walked over to the bridge to take a photo. Vicky followed and I took one of her too on the bridge.
Due to Covid we weren’t allowed to hang back and chat, but as we were leaving she thanked me. I was surprised and I think it showed on my face. She laughed and said she’d been really nervous about coming as everyone seemed like proper athletes. She’d been up in the night thinking about cancelling (me too) and had been gripped with anxiety when approaching the lake (same again for me). She said she saw me with my minimal kit and thought there was someone who knew what they were doing (I clearly didnt) and because I was smiley she had the confidence to approach to start the chat. I laughed and told her I was exactly the same and when she’d offered me her bag, I thought thank god.
Michelle then came over to ask how our swims were and we all swapped numbers to arrange to meet at this swim again.
So lessons learnt today:
1) Anxiety sucks and can hold you back. But if you can over come it you get to enjoy great things like lake swims.
2) Everyone thinks that everyone else is gliding around confidently like swans, when most the time they’re paddling desperately like ducks.
3) Apparently open water swimming is one of the top ways to help combat depression (I have no stats for this, I just overheard it whilst swimming so dont take my word for it).
3) And last but not least, I really love lake swimming.
Have a great day all
Love JS x