I've been snorkeling, even though it's on the edge of what my claustrophobia can tolerate. All I have to do is lift my head and I'm back to oxygen through my nose and nothing pressing down on me.
I've always said that I could never go SCUBA diving, though, because I'd be too freaked out by the weight of the water over me, and the regulator, the sounds of my own breathing, and the need to ascend slowly if I should panic and want to be above water. SCUBA diving has been pretty easy for me to avoid, though. It's outrageously expensive and usually most readily available in tropical areas, and my budget has kept me away.
I go SCUBA diving every night now. I got my CPAP machine. I wear a mask. Head gear keeps it in place. I have to keep my mouth shut or the force of the air pressure gags me. I have to take deep breaths or I get all out breath and can't get enough air. The mask moves around a bit if I do, and then the condensation from the added humidity drips on my face adding to the underwater sensation.
I dream water dreams. Boats, ships, dingys. They all sink. Swimming. Water skiing, only I can't get up so they drag me under water instead. I float in a womb (a very large womb) of some alien creature and try to use sign-language to communicate with the people I see waving to me, only they never respond. I wake up. Still imprisoned by my gear.
(looks innocent enough, right?)
All those water dreams make me need to use the bathroom. Off comes all the gear and the whole process starts again. I can't go back to sleep for a while, so I lay there, breathing too fast, feeling like I'm drowning, and there's no escape. It's hard to get comfortable with all those pressure points poking your head. I wake up with red marks striping my face. (If I loosen the contraption, it leaks and makes an awful rattling noise it took me 45 minutes to fix the other night.)
(here's me being ultra-brave and putting this on the internet for you - almost as scary as drowning every night - but I trust you not to put it on your facebook page of alien creatures your children are frightened by)
They promise me wonderful health benefits: lower blood pressure, an increase in the hormone which allows weight loss, more energy from a “good” night's sleep, higher oxygen levels (mine dropped to below 72% during the sleep study), and general better well being. Not sure my psyche can handle it, because so far it's claustrophobia, stress, nightmares, and sore spots on my face.
I know Jo (see my sidebar - Jo on Food, My Travels and a Scent of Chocolate) has a CPAP and has been blogging about it. She seems to be doing well. Anyone else? Any advice? Tough it out? Give up? Take sleeping pills or tranquilizers? Or just double my wine intake? All advice welcome. Not all will be followed...