Dear OTM,

My family has always vacationed to the ocean growing up and I did use to go into the water to neck height and swim around as a teen. But As an adult and hearing of sharks so close to the shore and other things lurking in the water, an getting knocked under the water, I have developed a fear of the ocean, It causes panic attacks. I’m afraid of shark attacks or jelly fish stinging going wrong or more so getting knocked under the water and drowning. I’ve been knocked down before and had a hard time getting back up. Any who i still go to the beach but never go into the water and I usually just say i don’t want to. In a few weeks I am going to the beach with a big group of family. Everyone knows I don’t go in the ocean and i get teased about it enough already I’ve never mentioned my fear. My cousin told me there is a plan that my big cousins are going to pick me up and throw me into the ocean on our trip. I am panicking and have been loosing sleep over this,and have told them this better not be happening or i will leave the vacation. I don’t want to tell them my fear because I really dont think it will be taken seriously anyway and they are set on doing this. Should i just tell them of how my fear affects me and face teasing or just avoid the vacation all together?

Dear Hannah,

You absolutely should tell them how you feel and how it affects you. If they make fun of it or tease you they are jerks, family or not. Being picked up against your will and throw into the ocean is not only stupid, it’s not funny and dangerous.
Send everyone a quick note saying “I know you may not understand, it’s hard for me to explain but in these past few years I have developed tremendous anxiety over going into the water so please don’t keep pushing me. I want to have a great time with everyone and have as much fun as I can, so please try to understand. Love to all and can’t wait to see each of you”.
I am hopeful that will diffuse the plan.

Good Luck and Huge Muther Hugs,

OTM

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