How can you reverse the anxiety spiral? Understanding the power of the maelstrom can help you find your way back to calmer waters.
I was not cut out to be a deep-sea diver. As a child I was unnerved by the mere sight of my bathwater going down the drain. The idea of water being sucked down to unknown darkness was deliciously chilling. So you can imagine my reaction to the scene in Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in which the Nautilus submarine is sucked into the “Moskenstraumen” —the dreaded maelstrom off the coast of Norway. I’m lucky YouTube didn’t yet exist. Had I witnessed a video of that famous maelstrom—the most powerful whirlpool in the word—I might never have bathed again.
The force of maelstroms is awe-inspiring. The Corryvreckan off the coast of northern Scotland, the third-largest whirlpool in the world, is caused by flood tides forced into a narrow strait between islands. The sheer volume of water creates 30-foot-high waves. Their roar can be heard nearly ten miles away. Wikipedia tells us that—
…a documentary team from Scottish independent producers Northlight Productions once threw a mannequin into the Corryvreckan (“the Hag”) with a life jacket and depth gauge. The mannequin was swallowed and spat up far down current with a depth gauge reading of 262 metres (860 ft) with evidence of being dragged along the bottom for a great distance.
Reading this description, I quail. And no wonder. Wikepedia may be describing a whirlpool, but these words are also a viscerally accurate description of what it feels like to be sucked under by anxiety. [Read more…]