... but relaxation will eventually win out
That was obviously the wrong mentality to go in with. The experience is all about your mind, and turning the damn thing off. In the end, I knew I had to give myself a break, and once I decided not to care about the time, the emails, Leo's Oscar, my body started to drift.
I wasn’t totally unconscious, but I did dream lightly. And not to skip over any of the dramatic details of my floating and dreaming (I floated, I dreamed, there you go), but it seemed like no time at all before the music started playing and it was over. Sixty minutes -- gone, just like that. I had survived sensory deprivation, and I even felt -- dare I say it -- pretty refreshed.
The key, as I learned, is to take your time -- from getting in to getting out. Rushing around is a surefire way to miss out on the experience.
Finally, don't forget to wash up
Yeah, big lesson learned here when a few days later I noticed a rash all over my ears and neck from not rinsing my hair well enough (I had somewhere to be, but clearly not that bad). I've since read that some people like to use a little white vinegar on these areas afterwards, for this very reason. Rashes aren't fun, so take the time for a very thorough rinse.
All in all, though, the experience was a success. I tried something new and, in the end, conquered my fears. More importantly, the sensory deprivation tank (rash and all) showed me the importance of slowing down and smelling the... well, absolutely nothing. Now, where did I put my iPhone?
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Barbara Woolsey is a Berlin-based writer who now knows there is such a thing as Red Ear Syndrome. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.