Humans of Westcoast SCI: Jannie

A 10-year-old Jannie is perched shaking on the diving board at Watermania. An unconfident swimmer, she wanted to prove she could dive into the deep end, just like everyone else. She hit the water, and the entire world began to turn blue as she sank and the CO2 levels in her blood rose. Drowning, being pulled out of the water by a lifeguard, she could feel water turn to become her biggest fear. She wouldn’t swim for 4 years after the near-death-experience, and not until she arrived at Tough Mudder 2 years ago did she have to face deep water head-on when they announced a diving obstacle. Terrified, she shakily did it, retriggering all her anxieties and catalysing the journey of conquering her fear with help from private swimming lessons and her physiotherapist from Westcoast SCI, Jack. And now, Jannie awaits a new season of tough mudder training, diving into the unknown waters of what may come next.

“I like new experiences I didn’t want to be missing out on what is a very enjoyable part of life… you always will [be missing something] if you let that fear conquer you...with fear, you have to be really motivated to actually get over it...It’s so cool understanding what it’s really like to be afraid of something and conquering it...You feel this unimaginable pride in yourself, in your character, in your tenacity. Don’t lose hope, it’s a long, ongoing process. It’s very scary to go to that place that you’ve been avoiding forever but it’s temporary and once you sit at that place and overcome it, it isn’t as scary anymore. Take your time, use the support of other people, know that you’re not alone - everybody’s got something that they’re scared of...It is a lot of your own belief and thinking, I just had to change my thought pattern and learn to love myself...Perfection is boring, so embrace it and become stronger from it”