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Freefallin66

Apprehension as I progress

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As old as this subject may be I still need some type of good feedback because I do not want to stop doing what I absolute love - I've already tasted it and I'm completely addicted.
I've graduated AFF and even have a few extra jumps - my next jump is the unsupervised jump. No problem with the actual jump(s) but the apprehension and nerves get ridiculous the morning of the jump day and by the time I'm done with a shower I've talked myself out of going to the DZ.
I'm sure I can take my time , no rush at all ... it's not a race and we all have our personal learning curves , or is it ? I do find myself pushing from time to time like I have to be there and jump or I lose everything I've done so far. I am also curious as to whether or not this feeling will ever go away - or at miminum grossly diminish.
I was going to go today and my apprehension again stopped me in my tracks. I guess I'm asking for advice on the best way to deal with this or a miracle to destroy it lol -
Thanks for any feedback - blue skies

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Apprehension is normal and healthy. You merely have more apprehension than most.

Your best course is to modify your self-talk.
Instead of your current random fears, learn how to focus your self-talk on a check-list of items that need to be completed before jumping.
Did you sleep well?
Did you eat a decent breakfast?
Did you pack snacks?
Did you pack spare clothing?
Is you car gassed and ready to go?
Is your credit card strong enough for a day's jumping?
How high is the cloud ceiling?
How strong are the winds?
Etc.

Similar IMSAFE check-lists are printed for pilots.

You will find yourself so busy working your way down your checklist that you will arrive at the airplane - fully dressed - with enough time to glance at the windsock one more time and think over your landing pattern.

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You might try this (skydiving duck cartoon) to provide a little comic relief and to realize you're not alone:

http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=4200157#4200157

If your apprehension is because of the gear, then you ought to get someone to show you more about how everything works together, how it is assembled. This would include a reserve-find a rigger and ask to see a reserve that is open. It can be natural to wonder about the reserves since you don't normally see them.

If your apprehension is because of how you will perform, then your tunnel time should be a big help for you to have confidence.

Even if you don't think you'll jump, go to the DZ anyway and hang out for a while. You might settle down and decide to go up, or you can take the time to learn from others.

I know that I've had the thought just after exit, about how wonderful it is. Ask yourself if you lose the apprehension after exit and try to remember how that will feel.
People are sick and tired of being told that ordinary and decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am

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Lot's of good advice here. But mine is slightly different. Take the apprehension and put it in a box tucked away in the corner of your brain. Ignore it. Pretend it does not exist. In it's place muster up false bravado and over confidence and dwell on how good you are. Just lie to yourself and others if necessary.

That's what most of us did.

And remember. Basic skydiving is not rocket science. The level of skill needed at the beginning level is not really all that high. You've succeeded in many other things in life. There no reason to believe you can't succeed in this.
Always remember the brave children who died defending your right to bear arms. Freedom is not free.

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I've always have a little bit before I go. On my 30 something jump after not jumping for a few weeks I was a bit nervous, on the ride up I was asking myself, why am I doing this. Door opens, I jump out, and nothing else matters at that point. Why did I jump? I don't know. Maybe it was the thrill of freefall, or maybe that I'm giving the grim reaper the middle finger. But I think I rationalize in my head that I did this 30+ jumps already and didn't die, no reason I can't do this now. With that said I was the least nervous jumping a few times a day.

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It seems to be that you're overwhelmed by the whole process. I'd recommend breaking it down into chunks.

There's the drive out there, manifesting, gear check, riding the plane up, exit, freefall, canopy flight, and packing.

I assume that you are apprehensive about the exit as that it the point of no return but you're not making it through the drive out there. I would say go through all the steps up to exit. If you decide not to exit, and that's totally up to you, then I'd say perhaps you're fear level is too high to enjoy the sport.

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I remember the feeling.
Nerves starting the night before, getting very little sleep, driving to the DZ with pupils like dinner plates...

It's interesting how the fear comes and goes, in fact it's part of why I kept doing it. It made me realise how much it's all in my mind and as a previous person said - related to amount of sleep... caffeine... diet... etc.

It's scary shit, but you've done AFF so you're trained to do it.

Give it another 100 jumps and you'll feel a bit more comfortable. :)

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Freefallin66

As old as this subject may be I still need some type of good feedback because I do not want to stop doing what I absolute love - I've already tasted it and I'm completely addicted.
I've graduated AFF and even have a few extra jumps - my next jump is the unsupervised jump. No problem with the actual jump(s) but the apprehension and nerves get ridiculous the morning of the jump day and by the time I'm done with a shower I've talked myself out of going to the DZ.
I'm sure I can take my time , no rush at all ... it's not a race and we all have our personal learning curves , or is it ? I do find myself pushing from time to time like I have to be there and jump or I lose everything I've done so far. I am also curious as to whether or not this feeling will ever go away - or at miminum grossly diminish.
I was going to go today and my apprehension again stopped me in my tracks. I guess I'm asking for advice on the best way to deal with this or a miracle to destroy it lol -
Thanks for any feedback - blue skies



I read this and kind of wondered if it was someone reading my thoughts!

I got injured on my second jump of PFF - like, carried off the DZ, surgery, metal in my ankle, three months unable to walk, still in physiotherapy 18 months later.

I don't really honestly remember what I felt like on my first couple jumps before I got hurt. I do remember a little bit of nervousness going back for a couple of tandems when I was recovering, and then I finally went to resume my program, and holy crap... I was fine in the plane until 8,000' or so when I had a complete helmet fire, started really freaking out overthinking it all. The plane took a second pass and I jumped, it took me 15 seconds to relax and get stable, and even though, my instructor dumped me at 9,500' because she wasn't sure if I was actually good to go.

So, here's what helped.

First - visualization sounds really hokey, but it works. When you're starting to plan your dive, go somewhere quiet, close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and basically go through the whole thing - every step in sequence, from checking your gear to walking in after landing. Go through each step on its own, don't let them all crowd together. See it all in your mind going perfectly. It really sounds silly, but it will help you get focused and relaxed.

Plan the dive, dive the plan - know before you do all that you want to do - and decide what the goal for the dive is - pick a skill you want to work on or what you want to accomplish during the dive, do that, and when you land write down how it went. One of the best things I've ever learned from a coach is to note what went well and what to improve for future jumps before you forget.

Someone already mentioned what was crucial for me - I was in the plane freaking about landing before even heading to the door. Break the jump into parts and worry only about the part you have to do next. There's no sense going to exit while being overwhelmed with thinking about when to flare. Nail the exit, then worry about being stable, then about what skills/manoeuvres you want to do in freefall, then about getting stable to waive off and pitch, then canopy checks, etc etc etc. One step at a time. There's a lot of components to your skydive, just do them one at a time.

Don't get down about something not going right either. I did canopy courses (also do those!), and the FIRST JUMP after Flight-102, I followed some guys into a downwind landing when I had all the room in the world to say, "those guys are f**ked, I'm landing into the wind over here just off, and landing safely!". That landing was ugly enough that people worried I was going to be injured out of it, my taking several minutes checking myself over before standing up didn't help. You can still learn from stuff that didn't go perfectly.

Eventually that fear thing starts to fade. I noticed it did after about 40 jumps. Yesterday, I did a hop and pop from a 182 at 4,000'. It wasn't until I landed that I realized I felt no anxiety at all the entire flight up - I was relaxed, I had fun, I did a gainer off the step, and everything went well on the jump except my slide landing into a muddy landing area, and that, that was nothing. It went away a bit gradually at first, and then it was gone.

Oh, and time at the DZ watching and talking to people and whatever is never wasted. Never feel rushed or pushed to jump. If you're not in the right headspace for it, don't. Go practice packing parachutes, or watch other people's landings, or whatever.

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That was me for the first 50+ jumps!:D
Praying for rain or strong winds on my way to the DZ so I could have an easy excuse not to do it.
What helped me and kept me going was remembering that feeling once you step outside the plane, where nothing else matters...and the feeling when you land where nothing is more alive than you. Those 2 thoughts for me were stronger than any fear.
HISPA #93
DS #419.5


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Consider what you are expecting yourself to do.
1. depend on the equipment to safely get you to the ground
2. depend on the equipment operator to correctly carry out assigned tasks to get you safely to the ground.

If you can depend on these two things happening then you should be good to go. As Chuck said, stop thinking and start flying. If you can't depend on these two things, time to study up and get square on the what you are expected to do.

I decided to jump long before getting up in the morning. Yes, I had times when I wondered if this was a good idea, but never let unwarranted concern stop me. Yes, after 20 or 30 jumps those feelings went to near zero.

If you have never been a bold and daring type person there might be things you have not learned yet that you will have to deal with. Brian Germain has a couple of books that might help you to read. Some by other authors as well might be helpful.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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Freefallin66

As old as this subject may be I still need some type of good feedback because I do not want to stop doing what I absolute love - I've already tasted it and I'm completely addicted.
I've graduated AFF and even have a few extra jumps - my next jump is the unsupervised jump. No problem with the actual jump(s) but the apprehension and nerves get ridiculous the morning of the jump day and by the time I'm done with a shower I've talked myself out of going to the DZ.
I'm sure I can take my time , no rush at all ... it's not a race and we all have our personal learning curves , or is it ? I do find myself pushing from time to time like I have to be there and jump or I lose everything I've done so far. I am also curious as to whether or not this feeling will ever go away - or at miminum grossly diminish.
I was going to go today and my apprehension again stopped me in my tracks. I guess I'm asking for advice on the best way to deal with this or a miracle to destroy it lol -
Thanks for any feedback - blue skies



https://www.amazon.com/Transcending-Fear-Doorway-Brian-Germain/dp/0977627705

Check this guys stuff out.

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I'm reading each post that arrives and I'm receiving a great deal of very helpful information. I wanted to say thank you for the advice and that it is very helpful -
I'm truly blown away by how awesome my sky family and extended sky family really are. Never in a million years would I ever have believed how close this family is - never. I'm one lucky SOB B|
Thank You - All of you - Blue Skies

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If it's only apprehension you're feeling, just get there and do it!

I have a theory that the older you are when you start, the more intense the fear. Just about all the new jumpers in their 20s that I've met are much more gung-ho about it than I ever was.

I started at the age of 36. During AFF I experienced the most acute fear I ever felt in my life. Many times in the plane I asked myself "do I really want to do this?" but every time I managed to force myself to jump. It was a very, very close thing on a couple of occasions. Be assured, the fear passes gradually and just butterflies remain. For me, the feeling of achievement having beaten that fear still hasn't faded, even after more than 200 jumps. The satisfaction of knowing I can climb outside the plane, hang on for a little while, and then jump — and all without being scared, is still very strong.

So please force yourself to jump because the hardest part is already behind you and very soon it'll feel like the most natural wholly unnatural thing you have ever done. And that's a really, really great feeling! : )

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philipturneraa

Just about all the new jumpers in their 20s that I've met are much more gung-ho about it than I ever was.



Many of the gung-ho jumpers I know in their 20s should be more scared than they are.
--
"I'll tell you how all skydivers are judged, . They are judged by the laws of physics." - kkeenan

"You jump out, pull the string and either live or die. What's there to be good at?

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push through it, it will subside.. i think jump 23 was my first free fall that i actually relaxed and saw the horizon "open up".

that and smile, just pretend you're fine :)

breath

relax

you got this

im on 70 now and it's all so much nicer, still thoughtful, focussed, mindful... just much more relaxed.

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philipturneraa


I have a theory that the older you are when you start, the more intense the fear.



I agree with that.
I did my first 2 jumps at 16 and 17. Jump 1 was scary as fuck, jump 2 I had a lot more fun.
Fast-forward to 13 years later and going back to complete AFF at age 29.
Very scared again, maybe even more scared. I think that if it weren't for knowing I'd done it before, I'd have found it a lot harder.
It just started with 1 jump to try it, but that post-landing buzz left me high for weeks afterwards, and I couldn't stop thinking about it.
The thoughts that maybe the sport wasn't for me were persistent and hard to shake, but I was confident with the training I had that I'd survive and now here I am.

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philipturneraa

If it's only apprehension you're feeling, just get there and do it!

I have a theory that the older you are when you start, the more intense the fear. Just about all the new jumpers in their 20s that I've met are much more gung-ho about it than I ever was.

I started at the age of 36. During AFF I experienced the most acute fear I ever felt in my life. Many times in the plane I asked myself "do I really want to do this?" but every time I managed to force myself to jump. It was a very, very close thing on a couple of occasions. Be assured, the fear passes gradually and just butterflies remain. For me, the feeling of achievement having beaten that fear still hasn't faded, even after more than 200 jumps. The satisfaction of knowing I can climb outside the plane, hang on for a little while, and then jump — and all without being scared, is still very strong.

So please force yourself to jump because the hardest part is already behind you and very soon it'll feel like the most natural wholly unnatural thing you have ever done. And that's a really, really great feeling! : )



I was 54 when I started and there was about zero emotion on my first jump. My biggest worry was to pass the level and that is where all my thoughts were. I will add that I had rode in a jump plane with the Army team 15+ years prior and on that ride, I was strapped in at the door and I mentally when through what it would be like to jump out.

By jump 15 or so I was thinking, "Is this really a good idea", but when the door opened I was out as soon as possible. The waiting is what I hated.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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I pretty much had panic attacks on the way to the dz. I'd wake up and see blue skies and start crapping my pants. Even in the plane we would be over the golf course and I'd be thinking why can't I golf like those people. They all enjoy it without scaring the crap out of themselves.

After a jump..... ugh yeah that's why I skydive and not golf. It's effin epic!

The nervous feeling goes away with time.

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What you are experiencing is biology just as much as psychology. In mammals, the autonomic nervous system, the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system are part of our brains, brain stem and spinal cord. They act largely unconsciously. Over the course of evolution, this functionality came to be because some threats are so great that an organism simply does not have time to sit and ponder what to do in a dangerous situation. So what is happening is your autonomic, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, along with your logic and reasoning systems are perceiving the reality of what you are about to do. This triggers the classic "fight or flight" response that happens automatically and unconsciously without you being able to do anything about it. All of what you are describing about how you feel are classic responses. It basically just means your brain and spinal cord are working exactly how they are supposed to. You might also be experiencing other responses like increased heart rate, dilated pupils, sweaty palms, ringing in the ears, etc. One of the biggest challenges in skydiving is being able to function in the face of this normal stress response. The brain doesn't need to use logic and reason to recognize that jumping out of an airplane at 13,500 feet is a major threat.

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