Do You Have Thalassophobia, the Fear of the Ocean?

Do you have Thalassophobia?

You are a very good swimmer, but one thing you don’t do is to go for a deep swim in the sea. The very idea of swimming in the sea fills you up with dread, it makes you shake and tremble with fear. What if you get attacked by a shark the moment you wade into the sea water?

You are scared of the sea. So scared that as a petroleum engineer, you have given up on several wonderful job opportunities with high salary offers because they require you to visit an oil rig situated deep in the sea. The very idea of having to work in an environment where you are surrounded by the sea takes out the color from your skin.

You are on a vacation in Greece with your college buddies and everyone wants to go scuba diving in the Mediterranean Sea. But you say no. You are afraid of the scary underwater creatures such as sharks, electric eels and killer whales that might eat you alive!

You saw the movie Jaws a long time ago, back when you were just a kid. That movie scared the hell out of you – so much so that two decades later, you still get nightmares of being at the sea, and being attacked by sharks from all sides.

Your wedding anniversary is coming up and your partner wants you to take her on a Caribbean cruise. But you say no, even at the cost of upsetting her – what if your cruise ship gets hit by an iceberg, as in the movie Titanic, and everyone ends up drowning to death.

Okay, there are no icebergs anywhere in the Caribbean and the risk of dying in the sea or ocean is far less than dying in a road accident, but your fear is irrational there is little you can do to stop it from ruining your life. And yes, you have Thalassophobia, the fear of the ocean or the sea. It’s affecting you and you have to do something about it.

Thalassophobia is a compulsive fear of any deep body of water, it could be the sea or the ocean. It could be triggered by a number of factors. The symptoms of this phobia of the sea are generally the same -sweating, shaking, and vomiting, when confronted by a large body of water.

Like all phobias, even Thalassophobia is an irrational fear, which has no basis in reality. The psychology of Thalassophobia is the same as that of any other phobia. For example, as I said earlier, it’s a fact that many more people die of road accidents than by drowning in the sea – but for people who have a fear of the sea, that doesn’t make the threat or the danger feel any less real.

What about shark attacks? Isn’t it true that a number of people who have gone deep sea swimming have been killed by sharks? Well, here’s a fact – between 1958 and 2014 – which is 56 years – only 35 people have died if shark attacks in the waters around the USA. And yet, there are so many people who worry about it! The fear of shark attacks is clearly disproportionate to the reality of the situation.

But it’s understandable why people have this fear of the sea. After all, the ocean is all powerful, and as humans, we are helpless against it.

But really, much of the global trade is done by sea, there are millions of ships, big and small, traversing through the deep waters of the various seas and oceans of the world at any point of time. Everyone seems to get by just fine – if not, if everyone had Thalassophobia, the phobia of the sea, trust me when I tell you this – the trade would come to a standstill and the global economy would have collapsed!

If you have Thalassophobia, you can take steps to overcome it. Visit a psychotherapist or hypnotherapist. You can certainly get over this phobia with cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy or exposure therapy. If there is one good thing about Thalassophobia, it’s that it’s one of the easiest phobias to cure.