How Scuba Diving Changed My Life after Domestic Abuse

life after abuse scuba diving changed my life

In 2018 I finally got out of a 30+ year relationship.

It was packed with domestic abuse and coercive control. Over the years, I was reduced to nothing.

I had no friends.

Because you can’t trust people. 

No hobbies.

Because my family should be my life.

There was no life outside of my home and family.

Because if I did it meant I didn’t care or love them.

Not even a front door key.

Because I didn’t need one. 

Years later I was still dealing with post separation abuse and financial abuse that my ex continued through using our children and the family courts.

A lifetime of being told how I was too stupid, useless, ugly and a bad mother had broken my confidence beyond belief.

I had nothing, was driven from my home and kids and hit rock bottom.

He had always told me I would be nothing without him.

I was told often how I was too fat, ugly, stupid and worthless for anyone else to want me.

Plus who would want a mum of 13 kids anyway?

In 2020, two years after escaping this relationship, I discovered scuba diving. This was one of the two activities I swore I would NEVER do.

And something I never imagined being brave enough to do as it involved, you know, getting a swimming costume on IN FRONT OF PEOPLE!

Oh, the horror!


tania ryby and kids scuba diving family blue ocean diving


And I was way too fat and ugly for that.

The other activity I swore I wouldn’t do was bungee jumping, by the way.

Which I’ve still not done.

Would I?

Never say never, I guess!

I Finally Broke


Earlier this year I experienced a full nervous breakdown.

Mentally, emotionally, physically, in every way shape and form, I simply could not take anymore.

Trauma build-up and a result of C-PTSD following years of fighting and abuse caused me to finally break.

I became tired of constantly trying – and consistently failing – to get the help I so desperately needed.

The support I naively thought was out there wasn’t.

It became apparent he legal system was an abuser’s playground. An incredibly convenient way to continue their abuse and control.

And of great financial, mental and emotional cost to me.

I was nothing.

There was nothing left for me to give.

I felt worthless.

I felt everyone was better off without me.

After all, I was too fat, too ugly, too stupid, too *insert whatever insult* to achieve anything.

Scuba Diving Changed My Life Completely


tania scubamama
A few months after deciding to dive in (*groan* – bad pun, I’m sorry), I fell in love with a man who has loved me through the worst of times. I have made incredible friends, started a new career and changed my life in more ways I ever thought imaginable.

I have also proven myself more capable than I ever gave myself credit for.

In the last seven months I have achieved my Tec 40, 45 and 50 diving qualifications and my PADI Divemaster qualification.

A couple of weeks ago I took two of my eight sons scuba diving in the ocean for their first time.

Finally, after months of hard work I am extremely proud, happy and excited to announce that me, who was told I was nothing, am now a fully qualified PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor.

I was told I was nothing.

I truly believed I was nothing.

He was wrong.

I was wrong.

And now I am living my best life teaching and taking people scuba diving!

My future is here.

I have moved on.

The past means nothing to me.

There is nothing more he can do to me.

He is nothing.



family scuba diving BLUE OCEAN DIVING


If you have been told you can’t, f*ck that shit.

You totally can.

Whatever it is.

You can.

If you have been told you are nothing.

They are wrong. 

If you feel broken and worthless…


Not for a single second.

Look at me!

Scuba diving really has changed my life. 

The past happened.

It’s history – it has gone.

It has passed.

The past is over.

And I have a brand new, absolutely fantastic life ahead of me, teaching and taking people diving all over the world.

I get to introduce people to the hobby that not only changed my life but saved it too.

I don’t think that’s bad going for a 47-year-old mum of 13, who was told they were – and would always be – nothing.

I now share my story and hope to inspire others through writing, speaking and events. To discuss further please contact me at

There are many people with inspiring stories in the world. Booking after dinner speakers will open the world up to a wealth of inspiration and motivation.

Did you turn your life around in an unexpected way after abuse? Do you have a story to share? I’d love to hear it!

Please do leave me a comment below or drop me an email at

And if you fancy giving scuba diving a go for yourself, get in touch with us at Blue Ocean Diving. I’d love to see you there!


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