Anna Dyvik, 23, a two-time World Champion in the age-category U23, a Scandic Cup winner is well known in the skiing circles for her always-sunny disposition. Her Instagram account is filled with pictures the world over where just about one thing remains constant – Anna, smiling into camera.
But now an Olympic hopeful, who prepares for the Games in the Swedish A-team, has opened up in her personal blog about severe panic attacks, that she was prone to last few years.
“In the last four years I have had some panic attacks, most of them during sleep, – writes the skier. – I’m very embarrassed, because it sounds like I’m sick in my head or I disentangle the consequences of a terrible childhood trauma. But nothing terrible has happened to me. I live almost a privileged life. It’s just stress and anxiety. I’m a happy person, my life usually feels fun, and I’m not sure I would like to change something. But that’s not the first time I crash like this. I’ve crashed before. I hate when it happens, but at the same time it’s like when it happens, I can finally breathe out.
Anna also describes the last panic attack that happened to her: it was a World Cup stage in La Cluzac (France), in December 2016 – the last stage before Christmas. “I had competed in my first World Cup race: it was really well and so much fun. I was so happy! But that night I got two panic attacks: I jumped into a closet, and hit myself… (If you look at pictures from the day after there’s a bruise on my cheek and a puffy lip.) In these nightly panic attacks, I usually scream and sometimes I run off. Later I sometimes start to hyperventilate. Luckily I lived with Maria Nordström who was so kind to me and helped me – thanks!!!
The medical science describes panic attack as “a rush of intense psychological and physical symptoms, that onset suddenly and are extremely intense”.
Although very unpleasant to those experiencing them, panic attacks are not considered to be a mental health condition and are not , in itself, damaging to one’s health.
“…I feel actually relieved now for the first time in a long time. It finally feels like it catches up and I can stop and rest. Realizing that I have not done everything right and I now dare to admit it. And publishing this is my extreme way of owning up to it…” – writes Dyvik.
It’s worth remembering that Dyvik’s former teammate, the Olympic champion Johan Olsson together with professional psychologists Lars-Eric Uneståhl and Stig Wiklund wrote a bestselling book Huvudrätt: Mental träning för alla (Main course: mental training for all).
Top photo courtesy of: instagram.com/annadyvik
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