News 8's Craig McKee takes the plunge to overcome his fear - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

News 8's Craig McKee takes the plunge to overcome his fear of sharks

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By News 8 Reporter Craig McKee

LA JOLLA (CBS 8) - His wife has always wanted to go kayaking with him in the ocean, but the one thing holding back News 8 anchor Craig McKee was his intense fear of sharks. This week, Craig faced his fear and went further out into the water than he's ever gone before.

It's one of the main reasons people live here -- sandy beaches and surf. But for someone like me who's deathly afraid of sharks, it's what's in the water that keeps me out of it.

The fear of sharks is something I've had for as long as I can remember. Could it be from the 1975 classic "Jaws", or is it perhaps I read the headlines on a regular basis?

Dr. Michael Lardon is a doctor of psychiatry and says while some have a fear of sharks, I appear to have a true phobia. Though I'm glad I'm not alone, this phobia affects my family. While my kids are ready and willing to jump right in, I won't go in any further than my knees.

"It can be genetically passed on, it can be a result of a traumatic event," Lardon said.

But recently I found one motivation to force me to tackle my fear head on: my wife. She's always wanted to kayak together, but thought she'd never get the chance, due to my fears. This past Monday I bit the bullet for love and on a kayak for two, we tackled the surf.

We took a spill right off the bat, but eventually made our way out into the open waters with my fear on the forefront of my mind and me wondering what can I and others like me can do to get past it. Lardon says by giving in to kayaking, it forced me to face my fears and start working towards a cure.

"If she really wanted to cure you she probably needed to take you out there where there were really sharks," Lardon said.

The big question, will I go kayaking again? For now the answer is no, but of course that's what I had said before to my wife.

In the meantime, Lardon says repeated exposures to the ocean environment is the best medicine to help those who face these types of fears to help desensitize you.

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