PDA

View Full Version : Do I have Vertigo?



cajunfla
08-17-2008, 21:36
During a group dive yesterday at a familiar place, I got the same weird feeling that I always get on this particular dive. It's a beach dive with steps to get in the water, snorkel out about 50-70 yards, drop down to 40', 50', 60' or so, then head across a deep section to a reef about a 7 minute swim away. This particular crossing is 'blue water' all around, 50+ ft of vis, and I cannot see the bottom, and start breathing hard. Once I get to the reef, I am OK. The hard breathing means I am first to be at 'turn around' air, and head back across. Leading the way, I concentrate on my compass and depth gauge, and normally have no breathing problems. On other dives, I have been as deep as 126fsw following the sloping bottom with no problems.

This only happens on this dive, it is the only one, so far, where I cannot see a wall, or bottom, or something to give me perspective. I have thumbed this particualr dive one time in the past because of this, but I usually fight thru it.

Do I have vertigo?

tonka97
08-17-2008, 21:48
During a group dive yesterday at a familiar place, I got the same weird feeling that I always get on this particular dive. It's a beach dive with steps to get in the water, snorkel out about 50-70 yards, drop down to 40', 50', 60' or so, then head across a deep section to a reef about a 7 minute swim away. This particular crossing is 'blue water' all around, 50+ ft of vis, and I cannot see the bottom, and start breathing hard. Once I get to the reef, I am OK. The hard breathing means I am first to be at 'turn around' air, and head back across. Leading the way, I concentrate on my compass and depth gauge, and normally have no breathing problems. On other dives, I have been as deep as 126fsw following the sloping bottom with no problems.

This only happens on this dive, it is the only one, so far, where I cannot see a wall, or bottom, or something to give me perspective. I have thumbed this particualr dive one time in the past because of this, but I usually fight thru it.

Do I have vertigo?

No signs/symptoms of vertigo.:smiley20:

Stress may be your challenge.:smiley5:

Tip: emphasize exhalation and relaxation. Ridding your body of excess carbon dioxide along with a relaxed mind set will minimize overbreathing and stress.:smiley20:

Diver Kat
08-18-2008, 00:41
Nope, doesn't sound like vertigo ...


Vertigo (http://www.healthscout.com/ency/68/462/main.html) is a type of dizziness felt as a shift in a person's relationship to the normal environment (a feeling that the room is spinning is common) or a sense of movement in space

Sounds more like an anxiety attack, maybe just because you have no visual reference to lock onto while making the crossing.

bubbletrubble
08-18-2008, 03:33
No, you don't have vertigo.

It sounds like a lack of visual cues is causing you to be uncomfortable. I wouldn't call what you describe a panic or anxiety attack. However, the symptom of "hard breathing" is one that may indicate anxiety. Agoraphobia (or agoraphobic episode) may more accurately describe your anxious behavior.

Perhaps the lack of visual references causes you to kick harder than you normally would. Are you keeping a constant pace with your dive buddy?

In the absence of any "natural" visual cues, and provided that your buddy makes the blue water swim at a constant depth...let your buddy lead. Play the wingman...and watch him/her. Presto. A visual reference.

Let us know if any of our suggestions help.

Have fun and dive safe.

cajunfla
08-18-2008, 05:42
Thanks, this group is the best. :worship: I appreciate the responses very much. Went back thru my dive log, and I did the deep part of my AOW there, sitting on the slope at 104fsw. Never had a problem.

As for following a buddy, I usually do this dive with a group of at least 6 or more, so following along is not a problem. I just like to look around to see whatever might be swimming in the area. :paranoid:

Maybe I need to dive that spot more often until I get over it?

mm2002
08-18-2008, 23:34
Don't look up or down, just check your depth gauge frequently, and concentrate on holding depth, trim, and relaxing. It is a good workout in buoyancy control and relaxation. I have experienced exactly what you describe, and this mindset is what helped me. The mindset you achieve will also help with safety stops without a reference.

Coaster
08-19-2008, 20:51
mm2002 seems to have a good idea...sometimes when people are really nervous about being near the window/edge in a very tall building it helps not to look down.

mm2002
08-19-2008, 23:08
mm2002 seems to have a good idea...sometimes when people are really nervous about being near the window/edge in a very tall building it helps not to look down.


It happens because you mind doesn't have a reference point as to where you're at. Looking out that window gives your mind the feeling that you're moving, or possibly going to be moving (falling), but you're body is stationary. Your mind is confused. The same feelings can happen if you have an ear that won't clear well, etc., causing a feeling of imbalance. I can't name the types of vertigo, but there are different types.

cajunfla
08-20-2008, 05:11
Thanks guys. I guess it must be the 'no reference point' thing. I have no problem with heights or going to the windows to look out tall buildings. Those 2 things, I actually enjoy. At least on those, I have something under my feet and / or a railing or window to grab onto.

Guess I will just focus on my depth and compass when i get into that situation again.

Coaster
08-20-2008, 10:15
Thanks guys. I guess it must be the 'no reference point' thing. I have no problem with heights or going to the windows to look out tall buildings. Those 2 things, I actually enjoy. At least on those, I have something under my feet and / or a railing or window to grab onto.

Guess I will just focus on my depth and compass when i get into that situation again.

Sounds like a good plan...when pilots fly through fog and clouds they lose references and easily are overcome by vertigo...in those times they are trained to concentrate on altitude and heading (instruments).