This all occurred November 2002, when I was 17. We had just finished high school, so some friends and I decided to head off to the beach to celebrate (I live in so it was quite warm in November). There were six of us, three girls and three boys. We all excitedly jumped in the water, and things took a turn for the worse extremely quickly. There must have been a huge rip in the water that we didn't see, and we all suddenly got swept off in very different directions. One second I was standing next to my friend, and the next I was unable to see anyone and could no longer find the ground. The waves became extremely powerful and kept forcing me under the water. I was then swept over to some rocks that were under the water which seemed to have massive pits that were even deeper. Now not only when the waves knocked me under the water I had to swim to the surface, but I had to drag myself out of these holes as well. Breathing was starting to become a problem, as I was progressively spending a lot more time under the water than above it. It was all I could do to get my head above water each time; I was not able to think clearly enough to work out how I could get away from this situation. My body was getting flung around like a rag doll. I heard some concerning crackling noises in my back and neck, but I didn't have time to think about whether I'd been injured.
I have no idea how long I was out there, but after coming up yet again just to cough up water and get a miniscule gulp of air and see the next wave about to pummel me I started to get tired - really tired. I stopped being scared and a strange calm feeling started to wash over me. Looking back now, this was the scariest part, because it was then that I started thinking things like "I'm really not going to be able to do this much longer. I can barely breathe and I don't have the energy to keep getting back up to the surface. Is there really much point in trying anymore?". It felt like it would be nice just to drift off to sleep. I was seriously about to give up and I was ok with that.
What happened next, is to me proof that God was watching over us that day. Although I'd been far away from my friends and hadn't been able to see them at all, I caught a split second glimpse of one of them raising their hand in the air. Stupidly, I'd completely forgotten that if you put your hand up and lifesavers can see you, they'll come get you! I shoved my hand in the air, and suddenly got my energy back to keep swimming back up to the surface several more times until I could get rescued. The lifesaver pulled me onto the board and brought me back to the shore. I was so shocked I don't think I even got to say thankyou. The two other girls were there and we just were crying and hugging each other in disbelief. It was then that we realised that the boys were still missing. Two eventually emerged from the water, equally as bewildered about what just happened. We started to freak out as our last friend was nowhere to be seen, but thankfully the lifesaver finally pulled him in to safety as well.
The effects of that day still haven't worn off. I did get quite bad whiplash to my neck which still causes me problems, and I haven't been able to go in the water at the beach without feeling panic (and I know a couple of my friends from that day feel the same). It wasn't all bad though. I was so shocked at my willingness to give up (though I think this was probably at least partly due to exhaustion and perhaps oxygen deprivation), and I am determined that if I am in such a situation again I will react differently. It also strengthened my belief in God. Perhaps we never we in any danger that day since there were lifeguards around, but it was a good reminder that He is in control. One other good thing that happened:
Around this time there was a boy I was seeing, but it didn't seem very serious. That day, after I got out of the water safely, all I could think of was seeing him, and being safe in his arms. I was not putting much effort in at this point, letting him do all the contacting, but I messaged him to tell him I missed him and really wanted to see him soon. We got married in October of last year. :)