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Yumi Uchida Ogawa – Aquaphobia

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Yumi Uchida Ogawa - Aquaphobia


My name is Yumi and I was born and raised in Japan.

I don’t have a history of drowning but I never learned how to swim.

I don’t want to have water splashed on my face and in my eyes. It’s very scary to think about! Even during a shower, I try not to get my face wet. Once I had a panic attack in the deeper end of the pool, I always have to stay by the wall where I can hold onto something.

When I went to Hawaii, I was staring at my friends swimming and laughing in the pool and the ocean. They looked so cool and I was envious. I wanted to be like them. I can do snorkeling and paddleboarding but I have to wear inflatable tube.

So when I got back, I joined YMCA right away but I didn’t take anybody’s classes. Instead, I watched YouTube videos!!! I finally mastered how to swim with my face in the water!!
But I’m still not happy that I can’t swim long distance though…


Then my husband told me about the beauty of underwater world. I challenged myself to take scuba lesson!! I was really scared in the beginning. But I loved feeling something special underwater that I never felt before on land.
I’m still nervous and too excited when I dive, so I’m not able to descend. (Inhaling too much air) Usually, Dive Master has to give me extra weights for me to descend.

Underwater portrait photography was another step for me to overcome fear for the water. I’ve seen Erena’s beautiful work with aquaphobic people and they gave me courage to give it a try! I was nervous and excited at the same time. Erena communicated with me through out the photo shoot so I could relax and trust. I still had hard time exhaling all the air from my lungs but after while, I could concentrate on my breathing and I was able to sink underwater.

That night, I was still excited and my heart was pumping but I slept deeply through out the night!

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