Where I am up to…quite pleased really!

 

 

A model showing the overlap of anxiety, breathing and excitement
“Anxiety is excitement without the breath” – Fritz Perls

I have written a fair few posts about sharks these past couple of months; that has been quite deliberate and part of my ongoing therapy in managing my anxieties where sharks and my family are concerned. I feel like I am actually getting a grip on this. The boys and my hubby have come to two sessions with me, so they have an idea about what I am doing.  Working with my therapies we identified my fears in a progression chart, least to worst and we have been working threw them. My therapist has been using a guided imagery in our therapy sessions. This she told me was part of her training in Gestalt therapy – I had to look it up!! At first I found it a bit embarrassing really but after a couple of times I began to experience it differently. Maybe as I grew to trust wheat she was saying, I was more willing to participate in the imagery. While still using this method where I learn to control the anxieties I feel with breathing techniques and relaxation methods I am now preparing to face some of my concerns in real time. In the next few weeks I am going to visit an aquarium that has sharks.  I will tell you all about it in my next post.

One of my boys came home last week, full of himself, he had got a recording of the Discovery Channel shark week. Turns out one of his friends dads was into sharks (shudder) and had recorded it and the recording was now in my home waiting for me to watch it. Daft I know but I spent half an hour working up my courage to play the first episode, cannot say I watched it all. Thank goodness for fast forward but I think I made a good attempt and I am going to watch the second one tomorrow – with my friend! I am so pleased the boys are behind me on this. I know it would be so easy for them to ridicule my fear or make fun of me and while I get a bit of that, more off their dad than them, 99% of the time they are so supportive. Not sure they read this blog but if you do Thanks boys.

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Do you think you have galeophobia?

Galeophobia is the phobia of sharks. This is the fear that made Jaws that popular, after all. Who does not get shivers down their spine when they hear the theme tune, right?

But all jokes aside, galeophobia is a serious problem among a number of people. I have a crippling fear of sharks, but my doctor has not diagnosed with galeophobia. However, once I identified the source of my fear, I did a lot of research on the concept of galeophobia, and it is frankly incredibly scary.

Galeophobia

I am incredibly scared of sharks, yes. I had to go see a therapist when my boys started wanting to go to the beach because I was convinced they would be attacked. However, the life of a gaelophobic is slightly different. They are so scared of sharks that the mere mention of them might give them panic attacks. And of course, even if the possibility of a shark attack is slim or they are far away from the sea, they will still feel the fear.

This is a mental condition that needs to treated with care and respect. People need to accept the fact that being scared of sharks is normal and ensure that people get the care they deserve.

A bit of a rant…

 

Why won't people be sensible? Dont take the risk.I wrote about the shark shield in my last post and have decided my boys are going to have them. I am not naïve enough to think they are a panacea for my fears but actually being able to contribute to their safety whilst in the water helps me. I am still taking therapy sessions and I feel I am beginning to manage my concerns. The boys are surfing nearly every weekend and I have managed to not have a major panic attack; mind you I am glad we are not over in Newcastle. A big white, reported to be over 5mt has been sighted there along with 2 others.  Bruce they have called it, really giving it a name, what are people thinking?  Are we suppose to fear it less because it has a name? Ridiculous! The beaches in Newcastle have been closed for nine days for everyone’s protection and what do some folk do? Decide to, “do what they want…” I ask you, why pay for all the monitoring and safety devices when people won’t listen? I am afraid of sharks but I also now know they are endangered and by us, we go into their territory and take it over but kill them for being there. I do not understand the mentality of these people. Wait a few days, let them migrate on and then go back in the sea.  It makes me so angry that people take foolish risks when so much is done to educate and provide resources to prevent risk to life.

Well my boys assure me they will follow the advice of lifeguards and their coach, who I do respect, however I got a loan from Ferratum and ordered two shark shields and I am sleeping better at night knowing they are on their way to my home and the boys wrists.

Shark shield a innovaive development in safety for surfers and swimmers
Shark Shield

Shark Shields for your protections

Now that the Australian government has put an end to the practice of culling, it is time for people to come up with alternative strategies to keep themselves protected from sharks when they are swimming, diving or surfing. For those of you who do surf, Shark Shield is probably the best option.

Shark Shield is a device that will go on your surf board. It will help repel the shark from your surfboard, and you, so that you can remain safe. Sharks have these gel-filled sacs in their snout. These sacs are called Ampullae of Lorenzini. They use these to hunt, by tracking down the electric current every living body naturally gives out. The Shark Shield will produce an electric current to- but one that will cause the shark to feel a high level of discomfort, spasms and trauma. This discomfort will dissuade the shark from approaching the body emitting the currents.

Shark Shield for Protection

Of course, even the Shark Shield cannot assure 100% protection from sharks when you are out in the open. You would still have to exercise other cautionary measures- try not to wear bright clothes while in the open sea, try staying near the coast as much as you can, and try not going on oceanic adventures all alone.

Questioning my anxieties

 

An anxiety spiral is managed not curedI am so tired of getting stressed out every time the boys go surfing. I know they and their dad are getting pretty fed up with me as well. It has begun to spoil my relationship with them. I have been looking for things to do to try and change the situation. For past couple of months I have focused on the sharks but today’s post is about me. I have been researching my fear.

Selachophobia is shark phobia, I do not think I am actually phobic but I am well on my way.  Everytime the boys say they are having a surfing weekend, I can feel this sense of panic I get sweaty and agitated and I can’t seem to think of anything else. I know the boys are capable and aware, their instructor is one of the best and is not some young idiot. Its me, the whole time they are away I am worrying and constantly calling the mobiles to the point they turn them off.  I decided I needed to do something and that something is cognitive therapy. This is a therapy that assists in changing the way you feel by changing the way you think about a situation.  I like that it is goal orientated and focussed and that it will give me back some measure of self control. I have been for two sessions now and am starting to understand the anxiety spiral I get into every time surfing is mentioned. At the moment I am working at stopping my anxiety spiral from accelerating. I am using some breathing techniques and a wristband technique and feel like I am gaining some perspective on the problem. The boys and hubby are coming to the next session with me. they have told me they are proud of me for tackling the problem.  I keep reminding them and myself that I am learning to manage it not cure it but if it lessens the rising tension in my home it will all be worth it.

Shark trailing behind unknowing surfer
For those of you who expected to see a shark on this blog: My biggest fear.

 

Sharks

Dusky shark and baby found in Western Australia seas
Dusky Shark

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) once said “What signifies knowing the names, if you know not the natures of things”. In reading and researching sharks for this blog I have come to understand not all of the species are dangerous and some are actually at huge risk of disappearing because of us, the Homo sapiens species.  Of the most dangerous in W.A. waters it is the Dusky Shark. Now another old saying is “Don’t reinvent the wheel”  so I am not doing to write or copy reams about this sharks but point you to the websites with in my opinion the best info. So follow the links to upgrade your knowledge, for dusky sharks go here .

Another of the most feared of our sharks is the Whites including the great white. They are known to be aggressive and attack with little or no provocation. Whites are often the star of action/horror movies – who could forget Jaws – The Movie?  I couldn’t swim in the sea for a month after watching that, unfortunately the kids found it hilarious when I let them watch it, so much for introducing caution.  I debated about this link but decided in the end to add it as it gives a perspective that doesn’t deny the danger they pose but asks you to look to how we the people create some of the incidents in which they are involved with our thoughtlessness, greed and ignorance. Happy reading…

Great White shark the predator of the seas
Great White Shark

 

Attacks or Encounters – Tech aids information

Surfing the waves on beaches in western Australia

Just this week there has been an incident of a surfer getting bitten. Pro surfer Ryan Hunt was dusk surfing when he accidently trod on the sharks head, as you can guess the shark was not overly happy about that and attacked. Ryan was lucky to get away with a bitten foot. Not nice but at least he is alive. Of course the 20yr old has joked about it and said he will be back surfing as soon as possible. While I admire his bravery I do wish these boys were just a little less macho and more sensible and send a message out to their followers (like my boys) that it is dangerous out there.  All they can see is he battled the shark and won.

Now Western Australia seems to have got on board re the danger and have information that is available to everyone. They have a Twitter account that keeps you up to date on shark sightings – both boys have Twitter most kids do so come on put this on, a glance might just save you going to the wrong beach and catching the wrong wave. I know you use it to let all your mates know about good waves, here is another use. For me Shark Smart says it all. Come on boys this is as good as advice from your dad.

Sharks in the waves, surfers beware!
Sharks in the wave.