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The Magic is in the Salty Water

Fit Mind Matters

The Magic is in the Salty Water

I have been asked on a few occasions over the years to write a book detailing my experiences and the learnings I have taken from them to inspire others. So I am writing this blog to condense and give an overview of how reliance, determination and an inner knowing that “Surely my life is about more than this” kind of attitude can be the vehicle of change and the perfect “pill” for those living with the impacts of Mental Health ill health.

Throughout my life I have always felt a strong urge to support others who’s energy moves me, to reduce suffering within people who tell their story through their eyes.

When I was a child I experienced all forms of abuse, this in turn provided me with a very confusing and altered way of thinking which had a huge impact on my mental “landscape” and inspired me to develop a very insecure and damaged outlook to life that only served to bring me more of the same experiences.

Through growing up and becoming an adult I perceived myself as damaged and vulnerable and built walls that were so high to keep me safe from the world and the people within it. The only difficulty was there was a back door that provided the very people I was trying to keep out an easy access.

Growing up in a household impacted and driven by the behaviour of addiction and Mental Health I developed coping strategies that enabled me to survive and get through life with the focus placed firmly on what I didn’t want in life. Of course this again only served to ensure these things always happened!! Within my family home I had mastered the art of reading energy and instinctively knew from the moment I opened the front door at home how to approach my journey from there on in. I was able to quickly identify what to do to create, support or stabilise the environment based on where others were located, by the tone of their voice, the smell and all the other little snippets of information that crucial first few seconds provided me with.

At age 15 I left home only to return 3 months later. At age 17 I quickly met and married a young man struggling with anger, resentment, guilt, fear, hurt and sadness at the loss of a life he never owned yet somehow felt it belonged to him. I thought I could “fix” him so I married him and spent the next 3 years at the hands of a monster, after being placed in police protection and him finding some other unfortunate young lady to torture I eventually got me and my son to safety.


My life then became about wanting to “fix” people. In this process I drank in the energy of the lost and lonely fractured souls I encountered before eventually going into counselling at the ripe old age of 30. While this was a great start I was nowhere near ready to talk – I mean how would I ever be able to verbalise what the issues were when I wasn’t even really sure myself?

Surely we all had stories to tell and I was just being a bit sensitive? Needless to say I never received the answers I searched for. I tried a few other therapies before realising the answers are all within. Why was I working to someone else’s approach? The decisions were all made in the back room of my mind therefore that’s where I needed to search to create any kind of change. I had tried to fit in a few “therapy boxes” and realised you don’t step into a therapy box, the therapy works best if it steps into your box that way it fits. It’s not too big where you rattle around getting lost, its not too small where you find it a little restricting in terms of personal growth.. Its like the 3 bears approach.. It had to be just right to provide me with the solace I sought.

The personal journey I embarked upon took a real boost when I entered a floatation tank in 2004. In there I was afforded the realisation that the most beneficial way for me to move forward was to work it out for myself, using forgiveness, kindness and appreciation to swap emotions for learning and to blaze a trail unique to me. My dad always said, “Vivian if there’s a long way to do things, you will find it”

That first experience in the floatation tank will live with me forever. For the first time in my life I felt free, I felt unrestricted in my thinking with a comforting safety I had never experienced before. I visualised a me that I always knew existed and at last I could see a way to develop her and bring her to life. I worked on this vision at an unconscious level for over 10 years.

The first float gave me the creative mindset to visualise the best version of me, one where I was managing the ripples from the huge drops in my life and suing them to my advantage. I studied Health and Social care, Social Psychology, Neuro Linguistic Programming, Time Line Therapy, Hypnosis, Clinical Hypnotherapy, Counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Auricular Acupuncture, Laughter YOGA, Havening. At one point I flew to London and trained with Dr Richard Bandler and Paul McKenna. I attended various courses while still in Scotland, then when I moved to Northern Ireland I attended courses delivered by the NI Health care trust around Personality disorders, Suicide intervention etc.

I became a Trust trainer in Mental Health First Aid and I applied myself to becoming the best version of me and in the process of doing all of this I found my soul mate who in February 2015 encouraged me to breathe life into my vision of owning a float centre. He approached a local business park and secured me 35 hours of free business advice. Comfort zones are for people afraid of the unknown and believe me, after the journey behind me the unknown was certainly not something I was afraid of. So in September 2015 I opened Hydro-ease – Northern Ireland’s only floatation centre. I gave up my salary and dared to create the dream… At last all my experiences made sense, it had all led me to this point.

For 20 years I smoked cannabis and self medicated with other drugs to ease the pain and heartache of a stolen childhood. I drank far more often and a lot heavier than most people and searched for the security I craved in strangers and other lost souls. I gave up on myself based on the actions and decisions of others. I have been in recovery from life for almost 10 years now, I believe we are all impacted by the experiences we have and how our unique systems process and encode these based on how resilient or vulnerable our internal landscape is. I also believe the answers we seek are just one thought away – Imagine the thought that would be the catalyst for change within you? If you ever dare to dream you might just come alive.

If you would be interested in any aspect of what Hydro-ease offer please contact me at;


E- vivian@hydro-ease.co.uk

P; 02895 215 155

M; 07483 918 411


Vivian McKinnon