Very interesting detailed reply ! Lot of good signs in there. The fact that you have done awesome at confronting and apparently conquering the basic fears around water, oxygen deprivation etc are a real testament to how strong & capable you are. How much control you have over that brain.
You're swimming, holding breath under water etc - all things that in theory from your first post would have been major fear triggers. You're past that !
Are you maybe really faced here with control issues ? When you are sitting under water, swimming under etc - YOU are in control.
I wonder if maybe there's something in your past relating to oxygen deprivation or strangulation (outside your control) that's triggering the responses sometimes. The reaction to the surgery would fit this nicely. Muscle spasms etc are things that are largely out of your "control".
Our brains as you know do lock stuff away in an attempt to protect us but sometimes that's not the proper technique it should use because the blockage isn't complete. We all know of examples of that. Like in my recent example I have absolutely zero recall of my accident - seeing the other car coming at me, the impact etc. Zero. Yet I was fully aware - on my way to work etc and remember much prior to and after the actual moment.
Makes me wonder if there was some event in your past that you don't recall that may have left this "string" attached. You may have blocked out the actual moment but enough of the connection is left intact to serve as a warning device in case it was to happen again.
A psychiatrist would probably advocate digging deep in your subconscious to try to surface the actual event, but myself, I question the necessity of that (and the pain & expense). I wonder if the same result couldn't be obtained by just accepting that fact that something like that DID happen and processing it the same as you have about the water/drowning phobia. You seem to have that capability.
In theory you (and someone trustworthy) could replay some variety of choking (at least grabbing your neck) scenarios which resulted in no harm and "retrain" your brain accordingly. Similar to what you did with the water, swimming etc.
No "expert" but it seems for you it might be something to think on.
Good luck !
Last edited by GroundedSpirit; 01-08-2010 at 05:11 PM.