We probably all know someone who suffers with their mental health – and that sucks. The good thing though, is that more and more people are talking about it to help try and get rid of the stigma that has surrounded it for such a long time. Our latest blog is from one of our skaters whose anxiety crept into her derby life, and how she tries to deal with it.
It’s no secret that I suffer from bouts of anxiety in my non-derby life. I don’t really like being around people I don’t know, I avoid crowded places as best I can, and I try to stay home as much as life allows.
I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember – heart palpitations, clenching my jaw, uncontrollable shaking – and it’s now just part of everyday life for me. I don’t like it but I’ve accepted it, and I deal with it as best I can.
What I dislike even more and what I can’t accept, is that anxiety crept it’s way into derby. The thing I do that’s just for me, the thing that I use as a stress reliever after a bad day, sometimes makes my anxiety unbearable.
It used to be constant; I would dread training sessions as much as actual games – not because I don’t enjoy them, but because of the fear of letting people down. I’d attend training and leave feeling like I was the worst person on track, I would go home and go over everything I felt I could have done better – which in turn ended up with me having sleepless and unsettled nights. Game days were without a doubt, 100 times worse than this. I wouldn’t sleep well the night before which left me fatigued for actually playing. I would hyperventilate before, during, and after the warm up. I would shake uncontrollably when I wasn’t on track and if our LUM even mentioned me being the first to jam, I would shut down right there.
Why am I sharing all of this? Because if you’re like me and suffer from anxiety, you aren’t alone. I can almost guarantee you that there is someone else within your league, who feels exactly the same way you do.
I still get anxious on game days, but the anxiety that shrouded my training sessions is pretty much gone. I’m in no way qualified to give particular ways of dealing with anxiety but, here are some things that I do which may be beneficial:
- Try and have a healthy state of mind – go easy on yourself and set goals that are realistic.
- Positive self-talk – focus on the things you are doing well, there is no doubt that everything you’re doing, is to the best of your ability.
- Breathe – if you have a few minutes before you need to be on track, practice some deep breathing.
- Take a break – don’t be afraid to sit out and catch your breath if you need to. Take a seat, grab a drink and concentrate on breathing.
- Give your coach/captain/teammates a heads up – you don’t have to go into detail, just explain that you’re giving it your all but just need a moment to regroup your thoughts. Not everyone needs to know, speak to someone you trust.
Don’t be afraid to talk, and never blame yourself. Your feelings are valid.