You’re Mindful When You Take In Water
An excerpt from Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Versus the Sea:
” The instinct not to breathe undersea is so strong that it overcomes the pain of lacking air. No matter how desperate the drowning individual is, he does not inhale until he’s on the brink of passing out. At that point there’s a lot co2 in the blood, therefore little oxygen, that chemical sensors in the brain set off an involuntary breath whether he’s undersea or not. That is called the ‘break point.’ Laboratory experiments have actually revealed the break indicate follow 87 seconds. It’s sort of a neurological optimism, as if the body were stating, Holding our breath is killing us, and breathing in may not eliminate us, so we may too breathe in.
When the first uncontrolled breath occurs the majority of people are still mindful, which is unfortunate, due to the fact that the only thing more undesirable than lacking air is taking in water. At this point the individual goes from voluntary to uncontrolled apnea, and the drowning starts in earnest. A spasmodic breath drags water into the mouth and windpipe, and after that one of two things happens. In about ten percent of individuals, water– anything– touching the vocal cords triggers an instant contraction in the muscles around the larynx. In result, the main nervous system judges something in the voice box to be more of a danger than low oxygen levels in the blood, and acts appropriately. This is called laryngospasm. It’s so powerful that it overcomes the breathing reflex and eventually suffocates the person. An individual with laryngospasm drowns with no water in his lungs.
In the other ninety percent of people, water floods the lungs and ends any waning transfer of oxygen to the blood. The clock is running down now; half-conscious and enfeebled by oxygen deficiency, the person is in no position to combat his way back up to the surface. The very process of drowning makes it harder and harder not to drown, an exponential disaster curve similar to that of a sinking boat.”
Christopher Hitchens on what it seems like to be waterboarded:
” You may have checked out by now the official lie about this treatment, which is that it ‘imitates’ the feeling of drowning. This is not the case. You feel that you are drowning due to the fact that you are drowning– or, rather, being drowned, albeit slowly and under regulated conditions and at the mercy (or otherwise) of those who are applying the pressure. The ‘board’ is the instrument, not the technique. You are not being boarded. You are being watered …
In this pregnant darkness, head downward, I waited for a while until I quickly felt a slow cascade of water going up my nose. Determined to withstand if just for the honor of my navy forefathers who had so frequently remained in hazard on the sea, I held my breath for a while and then needed to exhale and– as you may expect– inhale in turn. The inhalation brought the damp cloths tight against my nostrils, as if a substantial, damp paw had been suddenly and annihilatingly clamped over my face. Unable to identify whether I was taking in or out, and flooded more with sheer panic than with simple water, I set off the pre-arranged signal and felt the unbelievable relief of being pulled upright and having the soaking and suppressing layers pulled off me. I find I do not wish to tell you how little time I lasted.”
It Burns Like Hot Lava
” I nearly drowned three years back. Out in the sea, swimming, then oh crap I couldn’t move a single muscle in my body. I utilized my last breath not extremely carefully as I just yelled mindlessly as I sank gradually. I was panicking, I ran out control, I tried to wave my arms and my legs intensely but I was strengthened, like a statue. I was still breathing quite quickly while I was sinking so I got some water in my lungs. Which looked like an eternity to me, I was underwater and however usually I can’t open my eyes in seawater, I could see the sea and the colors yet as I frantically tried to breathe, I had more and more water swallowed.
I must’ve passed out for I don’t remember my good friend and dad pulling me up. I remember it burned like lava, the lungs and my stomach( they kept burning for a long time, I barely breathed for a week) and I keep in mind throwing up a lot while being carried, however absolutely nothing else. It was practically a near-death experience, sufficed to piss my shorts. How did it feel is, again, I can’t provide a clear answer, for it was taking place right there and I was too busy attempting to save myself than seizing the minute, so to state. I felt desperate and I kept grasping for air like an infant but hello, still not as detailed as one might want from a thread like this.”
It’s Either Peaceful or Brutal
” I’ve nearly drowned at least when. Depending upon the individual, it’s either tranquil if you accept the fact that you’re probably gon na pass away (which I did) or it’s brutal as you have a hard time.
I in fact realized that I was going to drown so I breathed the water in on function to just get it over with. It only hurt when I was coughing it up.”
Everything Goes Black
” Drowning is one experience that I can not discuss, and I do not think explanations suffice if you would like to know how it feels. All I remember is this.
I was on top of an inflatable tube (like a raft shape) and was wading my method into the middle while nobody was looking. Suddenly, I don’t understand how it occurred, however the next moment I knew, I was drowning. The only things I keep in mind definitely are that I was not able to breathe, since water was entering my nose and mouth rapidly, and consequently my lungs. Even as a child, I understood, that I had to remain above water, to be able to breathe again. And I was flailing my hands to remain above water, hoping I might bring my face above the surface area, but I wasn’t very successful at it. Then I started decreasing and didn’t have anymore thoughts.
There was no ‘I should push my feet on the bottom and try to come up,’ or ‘The color of the water is so blue.’ I simply blacked out. I don’t keep in mind anything from this indicate the point where the lifeguards were trying to get the water out of my lungs, and I choked it out. My parents were pretty frightened, I didn’t process the thing as too severe at that time, I do not understand why.”
No Discomfort, Just Convenience
An incident throughout “ undersea walking” in Thailand:
” I don’t understand whether it’s since I’m naturally fidgety, or because my rotten luck and the turbulent seawater concurrently conspired against me, however my helmet somehow got tilted backwards and some of the water was available in, into my mouth and nostrils. I stressed and began whipping my body, and the helmet came off totally.
The first three seconds were as follows: My body started to float upwards. My mouth was open, and my throat totally contracted. My body was distorted in an awkward posture; my torso was arched forward, my limbs were flowing backward, and my eyes were gazing directly, although I could not sign up anything I was seeing. I heard my sibling (who was next to me in the chain) scream my name through her helmet.
After the three seconds passed, I started to frantically flail my limbs, and my head had 2 simultaneous, continuous thoughts:
- breathe out very, extremely small amounts of air
- go straight upwards
My mouth was open, and I was discharging discreet, minuscule quantities of air through my esophagus, shopping as much time as I might before I ran out of air. I might feel my flailing slowly take my body upwards. I had to endure. I had to in some way reach the surface and make it through. I didn’t want to pass away.
More seconds elapsed. I was running out of air. I tried to admire see sunshine, but I saw none. It occurred to me that I would not make it. I blurt another breath of air, this one more copious than the others. My body went limp, my mind went blank and I gave up on all effort. I simply release, and my flaccid body just drifted in the water for a few seconds. My lungs had more or less provided, and there was no discomfort, simply comfort.
A few more seconds later, for some apparently inexplicable factor (or so it appeared in the minute), I all of a sudden had a huge burst of energy, and the will to get out of the situation re-emerged, therefore did the desperate flailing. However this time was different, I might feel myself going up much faster and with more force. Possibly I might make it. Maybe I would make it.
I made it to the surface, and then it struck me that this unexpected surge of energy was because among the swimmers had actually lastly gotten to me. My oxygen-deprived mind was believing that I was going up of my own accord. After taking in the much-needed lungful of air, a Great Deal Of coughing taken place.”
” For me, I went through 3 distinct phases, however the stage that lasted the longest was the sheer bloody panic stage.
I was at a water park with some friends and we remained in a wave swimming pool. I was being in an inner tube when somebody (do not know who, however it wasn’t among my buddies) turned my inner tube over. I went undersea, however I wasn’t panicking because all I required to do was kick up to reach the surface once again.
However right as I appeared, a wave hit me and knocked me back under. And for the next half a minute I was in the most scary experience of my life. Whenever I resurfaced, I was knocked back under by progressively larger waves. I could not breathe, I had water entering through my nose and mouth, and my mind was going absolutely nuts: it was racing and I was not able to form meaningful thoughts however at the same time it was continually informing me that I needed to get to the surface. For how little time I was under the water, it seemed like I had been going at it for an hour.
And then, I had a minute of extreme clarity. After being tore down once again the cacophony of my brain stopped and I unexpectedly realized that if I didn’t try to resurface right after I was pulled below once again, that I would be able to resurface after the wave passed. I waited too long and the most significant wave struck me, knocked me back under, and dragged my feet along the bottom of the pool, scraping my feet pretty badly.
After that time I was lastly able to resurface, mainly since the waves were decreasing in size and the waves had pressed me to where I might walk and I just walked out of the swimming pool, albeit due to the reality that my feet were bleeding, and I was still disoriented and coughing up water, etc. I still have scars (well, more like red marks) on my feet where they scraped along the bottom of the swimming pool, and that was a great 3 and a half, 4 years back.”
You Enter Into Total Shock
” First time I drowned was at age 12 when I had no understanding of swimming. I was playing in the river with my father and other relatives when suddenly the currents pulled me into the water. There were at least 10-12 loved ones of my own, each hectic in their own world. I consumed water twice and could not scream and my mind was definitely blank.
Out of no place, my cousin, who was on his bike on the banks, jumped into the water and pulled me to safety. My mind was recording all those things but I could not respond. Maybe I remained in overall shock and could not respond or scream. What followed next was great deals of guidance from elders and my granny informing ghost stories on how the river had actually taken [the] lives of so many in the town.”
Everything Turns Yellow, Then Black, Then Pure White
” I chose a road trip with camping and rafting to spend the long weekend with a group of 9 people. On Saturday, we were supposed to do rafting. In the early morning we were cooling on the bank of The Ganges nearly 4 feet in the water with red bulls, volley balls, clicking pics and things when I felt the sand getting displaced listed below my feet. I asked my swimmer pal to hold me securely so I can get back to the coast, he held me securely and we started moving towards the coast when we felt the tide moving backwards dragging us back in the water. There, we were 5 friends at 4 feet depth and everyone stressed including me. And I’m 5’11” high so I can inform you that being a non-swimmer I was playing it safe.
The tide was tough, we lost the hold versus the water and I was dragged inside like a vacuum. I tried to wave so everybody understands I’m drowning and they understand my position and regrettably no one came. I kept having a hard time for 10-15 seconds, which I remember, then water began getting inside me as I ran out of breath and automatically opened my mouth, leading to more water inside, which’s when everything began turning yellow and whatever faded. That’s what I was feeling, even now I bear in mind that yellow sight that I had while drowning … And all of a sudden everything turned black, sharp black. It didn’t change from yellow to black in 4 or 6 seconds. In milliseconds, it just turned BLACK.
I stopped feeling anything and can’t remember after that, as if I wasn’t there or there was no presence. I just never ever existed in that minute. After a few seconds (I do not know the number of), everything turned pungent WHITE, ABSOLUTELY CLEAR COLOR, the most pure color that I can even picture. And I saw a figure who came closer to me and stated something with affection and love (I still couldn’t determine what that was, tried too hard to think of it a lot of times). At this specific minute, I was feeling damn enjoyable, like everything is fine and I’m high maybe. And that was exactly when I was dragged out of [the] water. And everyone was stating so lots of things and patting my back, pushing my stomach and chest to eliminate water from my lungs and belly.”
Discomfort Lets You Know You’re Still Alive
” This is what it seems like [to drown]:
1. Panic – this is the state where you don’t understand what to do. For a person who never ever swam, the first thing that comes to your mind is whether you flail or flap your limbs anywhere to surface area (I know, it sounds stupid) or to inhale in really small amounts. You can not make a sound except for coughing.
2. [I don’t know] what it is called but your lungs suddenly quit working and [you have] an intense wish to breathe oxygen. After about 10 seconds of being underwater, pain occurs. For me, this is the last possibility of survival since discomfort tells your body to act. And unexpectedly, adrenaline comes to the rescue. My body then kicked from the water so heavily, it felt like I flew, and after that back in the shallow waters. And that moment I understood I was still alive because you can’t feel discomfort when you’re dead. I began to [drink] lots of seawater and it felt uncomfortable. In some way, I was pleased that I was in discomfort.
3. Flashbacks – I saw my life flashing through my eyes in an extremely short moment. I understood that I was still too young to welcome death. I [could not] leave my parents, my good friends, my research studies, my memories and my life in this alien environment. I suddenly felt a lack of energy, I understood at that minute I could not do anything, I was not prepared to bid the world goodbye. My back touched the seabed … All these things[made me angry] I [was] upset to leave the world without reaching my dreams.
And then, my pals came to rescue me.”