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Caitlin's Story

I finally conquered my anxiety and fulfilled my footy dream

Sport has always been a big aspect of life, with both my parents being involved in the local clubs.

I’d always wondered what it was like to be part of a team ....  to celebrate after a big win …  to support each other through a loss, and to share in that mateship between players, which I envied couldn’t wait to be a part of.

But I live with severe anxiety which stopped me from doing things that most people don’t even have to think about.

Things like attending school, being away from my parents, or even getting a good night’s sleep, are all things I’ve struggled with.

But worst of all it stopped me from the thing I was most excited about playing footy.

I signed up to a team, but even with training I’d still get too nervous to run onto the field and play.  This went on for two seasons.

I knew I had to overcome this fear.

I was sick of the feeling of letting others down, of letting myself down. I needed to step over that boundary line.

And when that fateful day arrived I was so nervous.

It was a practice match so my team-mates were very supportive of me, and it was amazing how their support made my anxious thoughts, ease..

When I crossed that line and played my first game it felt incredible!

With each week of footy I learned different ways to talk myself through those anxious and panicky feelings.

That year we made the grand-final!

On that grand final day, I remember everyone around me being pumped for the game.

But I just felt overwhelmed. It felt like my ears were filled with water, my stomach like a washing machine and my vision so blurry.

I don’t know how I did it but I still ran onto that field and played. 

We won the grand-final match and it was awesome to celebrate, but I’d say each time we accept the challenge of doing something new or hard we get stronger, and that was the biggest victory for me.