Rugby World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson has revealed that the Coronavirus lockdown triggered an anxiety attack which left him “shivering like a child.”
Wilkinson, a key member of England’s World Cup winning squad in 2003, said that the anxiety was “surprising” and hit him “without warning.”
According to The Times:
Wilkinson, 42, told a podcast of his experience and that the bout was “not the kind of one where you go, ‘oh, there’s the old anxiety’, but [it was] one that hits you and floors you so you’re shivering like a young child again.
“You ask what creates this resistance, but it’s a lot of emotional reactions to old traumas that have embedded themselves. Chemically, mentally-stored pathways, everything linked in… it hits you and it floors you.”
Wilkinson said that he has learnt to accept these types of intense experiences as a challenge – rather than try to fight feelings of anxiety.
The rugby star, a former England and Newcastle fly-half, has often spoken about his battle with anxiety and depression. In 2020 he joined
Prince William to widen his mental health initiative from football to involve other sports.
Wilkinson is also with the Mental Health Speakers Agency, whose website explains that the sportsman “experienced first-hand the devastating effects high-pressure situations can have on someone’s mental health.”
Following England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup, he reported experiencing heightened anxiety which snowballed to a severe disorder and depression.
In related news, a survey has revealed that 3 in 4 mothers of primary school kids are concerned about the impact that lockdowns have had on their child’s mental wellbeing.
More than 2,000 parents were polled by BBC Bitesize and Netmums.
74% of parents said that they are concerned about their children’s mental health and that it had become a greater priority for them since the pandemic.
Nearly half of them (44%) said that their children had experienced mental health challenges, and 46% said their children had been lonely because of the pandemic.