Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Dumbest Fears

For the past several weeks, as my hours have ramped up at work, it's been difficult to fit in swimming. The pool I usually go to (near our house) doesn't have lap swim hours after 7:00 pm or so, which is about or earlier than the time I'm leaving work these days. (Yes, they have morning lap swim hours too. No, getting myself up and out of the house that early was not going to happen.) I live in a parks and rec district that has several pools, though, and realized that one that's on the way home from work has later lap swims. Plus, they have two pools, and keep one of them at a cooler temperature, better for exercising swimming (most of the pools in the district are around 88 - 89°, since they are mixed use, including leisure swimming, but the lap pool here is 85°). 

And yet... I didn't. I only went swimming once the entire month of January (when I was able to fit it in at my regular pool)! There was the aspect of finding enough energy when it involves packing a bag, driving slightly out of my way, etc. - slightly more work than just getting dressed for a run and heading out the door. But mostly, I was scared. Yes, scared to go to a new pool. A lot of my anxiety (of which I do have an excess amount in general) is about social situations, interacting with others in circumstances I'm not familiar with. 

I had similar anxiety about going swimming in the first place, last year, so I went with my friend Jessica, and she was awesome at showing me the ropes and explaining the etiquette. This time, though, was about fitting in a swim on my tight schedule, I needed to do it by myself. And really, this pool is part of the same system, so everything should operate the same. I know that they scan my card in, I know that they require sharing lanes and circle swimming (if more lap swimmers than lanes), I know that there'll be a place to stow stuff on deck. But I simply could not shake this anxiety. I even packed my swim bag multiple times, planning to go, and yet at the end of a work day just drove straight home. This is all part of my depression and anxiety that pops up from time to time; I can't get rid of it, but I can try to manage it.

Yesterday, I planned yet again, I had my swim bag packed and in the car. I was really close to not going, too. In the afternoon, though, I was chatting with a coworker and mentioned I was planning to swim that night (rather than go running with her - we're planning to tonight, instead - yay for potential running buddies!). So I had to at least attempt to go. (And she did, in fact, ask me this morning how my swim went.)

I made it to the parking lot, and realized that this (one of their newer locations) was a pretty big recreation facility. Um, where's the door? How do I know if the main door is the one nearest the pool? I almost gave myself credit for at least finding the place, and thought that was a good first step, I can go home now and do the actual swimming next week. 

After sitting for a minute in my car, I got out and went in what appeared to be the main door. Oh, look, the pool is right inside here! Got my card scanned, put on a smile and told the lady that this was my first time at this spot, could she please direct me to the locker room? (Joking that I had figured out the pool was that way - through the large nearby spectator windows - so I hopefully didn't seem like a complete idiot.) When I got on the pool deck, I did kind of stand around looking confused for a minute, but that got a lifeguard's attention. I once again gave my explanation that I was a newbie for that location, and he told me where I could set my stuff and how the circle swimming operated there. 

You know what? This pool is awesome!

The lower temp is great - it's still not as cold as the PSU pool where the triathlon team practiced when I was doing that last summer, but so noticeably more comfortable than the other leisure pools in the district. They have lockers in the locker room! The other facilities have shelves  or racks to keep bags out of the way, but there are actual gym-style lockers here, that you can lock your stuff up if you bring your own lock! (Note to self: need to find the lock I own from when I belonged to a gym a few years ago.)

No one else was in the locker room,
otherwise I wouldn't have used my camera.
They also have twice the number of shower heads, plus individual shower stalls. And huge benches to set stuff on (on which I got to completely sprawl my stuff out on since it was pretty quiet and no one else was in the locker room while I was changing afterward). This seems to be by far the best pool in the district! 

Why the hell was I avoiding it, again?

I realize not every anxiety will have an awesome ending, but a great many of my anxieties are way overblown, and this just demonstrates how great I end up feeling when I push through it and do the thing I wanted to do. 

<-- I was also nervous about these pants (they're tapered! and not plain black! and fairly slim fitting overall - almost enough to warrant wearing a thong, until I remembered I stopped wearing them because they're really not that comfortable). (But they were on clearance at Target recently, and they're sold as ankle length, which for me means I can wear them as normal pants without having to hem them.) And I really enjoyed it when I got over that fear, too!


  1. It's so interesting to read someone else's story of the exact same type of anxiety that I struggle with. The whole time I was like me too, me tooooo!

    1. I love that! Err, not that you also have that anxiety, but that it resonated. :) It's such an obnoxious thing, to me, cause I know in my head that it's irrational - no more rational than being afraid of a tiny bug or whatever - but have such a hard time disregarding it, and unlike being afraid of a bug, it can seriously have an impact on my life!


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