Breathing, what else
This forum has been so helpful to me. I thank all of you for your comments - lots of useful tips, lots of reinforcement for me to see others having the same issues.
For me, a few notables:
1. I stopped giving myself time limits to learn a particular skill. Now, I try to just let it come. I've been working this for over a year now and am just getting to feel comfortable with the breathing.
2. Try mixing it up a little, have fun - do somersaults, walk on my hands, always trying to leave the pool with something that is totally fun.
3. Using whatever tools i need to for help. The most important thing for me is to feel comfortable and relaxed in the water. I'm very lean, so I am a sinker - so, I wear a sleeveless neopene vest, very light wt, but it took my mind off being a sinker. Guess what, I have gotten to the point of good balance now and do not need the vest any more. Also, vest keeps me from getting cold and cold/swimming not a good combo, at least for me. Cannot relax if cold
4. I practice breathing on land, just walking around. At a minimum, it makes me more mindful of how I breathe. I take a quick bite, then exhale for 4, 6, or 8 paces, try to be mindful of how I am working the breathing and of any discomfort. One thing I have discovered that the mere fact of a bite of breath, vs the long inhale I do normally, creates some discomfort. Interesting fact for me, not quite sure what to do with it, but I think getting used to it is the big thing.