“Hockey is the best way to get my mind off my anxiety”

Swedish version here.

Trigger warning: Anxiety, Depression

The feeling of your body shutting down and the only thing you could do is cry and scream. The feeling of your body being in war with your brain. The feeling when you think you are going to die. 

It all started when I was 12 years old. I remember getting my first panic attack after studying for a test. Little did I know, for the next 6 years I would experience this feeling multiple times a month. The feeling of my body shutting down and the only thing I could possibly do is lay on the floor, crying, shaking and screaming. 

I was 13 when I was first diagnosed with GAD (General Anxiety Disorder), I went to therapy for the first time but nothing was helping. I had a hard time getting out of bed and nothing was entertaining anymore. Hanging out with friends felt worthless, sports got boring and life seemed boring. 

From the age of 13 to 15, I was depressed, I had no energy to do anything and I always had this sad feeling. The problem was I hadn’t told anyone. Except for my family, no one knew. 

When I was 15 I finally got the courage to tell my friends which turned out to be my worst mistake. They told my things like “mental illness isn’t a thing, you made that up” and “you only have anxiety to get attention”.  At this time I thought that no one would ever care about me and my health. The only people who cared were my parents. 

At this time a got really into hockey. I used to watch NHL playoff games that were in the middle of the night (I live in Europe) but it was the only thing that could get my mind off my own life for a while. 

Now three years later, hockey is still the best way for me to relax and get my mind off my anxiety. When I talk to people they don’t really understand that for a lot of people, myself included, hockey is more than a sport. It’s more a lifestyle and a way to get your mind off reality for a while. Hockey has changed my life. 

What I have learned from this and what I want people to remember is that there are people out there who care, it might just take some time to find them. Just keep talking and it will get better. Life might seem worthless right now but it won’t be like this forever. 

“Anxiety isn’t a weakness! Living with anxiety, turning up and doing stuff with anxiety takes a strength most will never know” 

Female, 18, daughter to former hockey player  

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