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Is this anxiety. I feel sick to my stomach

Community Member

Hi, so i’m new but i’m really seeking advice and some support…

i compete in high levels of horse riding. this weekend i recently was in my competition and did something that embarrassed myself and everyone around me to the point that i couldn’t even look at anyone because everyone saw it happen. it was my own fault, and it shouldn’t have happened but it did and i let myself down and the people i ride for down.

i don’t know what to do with myself. the people i was around were telling me mistakes happen and that’s the only we i can learn and that i need to learn how to overcome my nerves in the competition and in general. since the incident happened, i have felt sick to my stomach. my throat feels so tight and my heart is pounding all the time. i don’t want to eat and i barely want to speak about what’s going on. i feel like i’m in a hole and i’ve tried so much to make myself stop feeling like this but nothing seems to be helping. i’ve missed school today because i simply cannot pull myself together enough.

please help me abs give me advice. i’m really in a puddle.

12 Replies 12

Hi Rotang,

Welcome to the forums and thank you for sharing this here. What an incredibly brave thing to do, we hope you can see this as a really big first step towards feeling better. We’re sorry to hear you’ve been feeling so anxious and are having to miss school because of it.

There are some relaxation tips that can be helpful when suffering from anxiety on the Beyond Blue website, here. We’d also recommend checking out this lovely thread with even more anxiety  techniques while you wait for other community members to spot this post and share their suggestions.

Do you think you might want to reach out to a trusted adult to talk about this? This could be family, a school counsellor or a trusted teacher, or your GP or other health professional. We know how hard this can be, but please know you’ve made an incredible first step in sharing on the forum today, so well done. There’s lots of information about anxiety here which might be helpful to you in figuring out if and how you want to get some help with this.

We really welcome and encourage you to call Beyond Blue to talk this through. They’re kind, understanding, and can give you some help with reaching out to your treatment team. They’re always available on 1300 22 4636, or you can use webchat or email, here: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/get-immediate-support

A few more options are KidsHelpline on 1800 55 1800 and Headspace on 1800 650 890. All of these options are also available through webchat, if you'd prefer: Many forum members will have experience with this, and they're wonderful advice comes from experience. We hope the support of other community members who will likely join us on this thread soon brings you some comfort. Do feel free to share some more, for example if oyu've felt like this before, or if there's anything you've tried in the past which has helped you to pause or break the cycle of anxiety?

Kind regards,
Sophie M

Community Member

Hi Rotang,

It sounds like you are a great horse rider and what happened really seems to have hit you hard. While the others saying it happens to everyone are trying to be helpful, when we are stuck in this headspace of "I failed", we can start to spiral into a dark place where we don't feel ok. As you described, you feel like you're in a hole/a puddle.

I hear you and I feel that you are harder on yourself than anyone else. Can I recommend something 🙏🏼 Sit and really SEE the people that care, go pat that beautiful horse and just BE. It may sound dismissive but please, I have anxiety and we tend to avoid and retreat. Animals are unconditional. Your horse will not be upset with you. Go, have a chat, then if you need more, talk to someone that you know won't judge you.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Gidday Rotang and welcome to our forum!

SophieM has made useful points and given you links to contact.

Your post is very brave, raw and very clear - I can imagine is has taken some courage to write that. Plainly, you have great determination to control such a large, powerful animal. People like me are in awe of what you guys can do with horses. Scary!

So let's look at what happened as a temporary behaviour lapse, how to acknowledge it and recover back to your normal supergirl persona when you are ready!

It is good to see that the rest of your team? and support crew has accepted what you did as a mistake with their 'anything can and does happen' approach. It seems your disappointment is within yourself, knowing that what you did was avoidable and has caused you all this embarrassment?

I'll relate what happened to me a few years ago which is a little bit similar. I was part of an eight person team in a 100km road race. We were the hot favourites and I was the key team runner. Not to far from the end of the race I was running hard on one of my turns, when my brain snapped, my confidence completely disappeared and I started walking. To this day I am not sure what caused it but it was an overwhelming feeling about 'I don't want to do this anymore'. Huge case of panic attack under team expectations I think. I told my team mates I was sorry but just wasn't into it. They were OK on the surface but later I heard otherwise.

I struggled with that for quite a few weeks then build up my mental strength and decided to send all my team mates an email apologising for what I did. No excuses, my fault and no one else's, and how much I regretted betraying all the faith the team had invested in me. Their responses were amazing. So very supportive, I felt much much better immediately. I returned quickly to my old form and that lapse never happened again. I am so glad I was able to resolve my issues that way and so too was the team.

Where is this leading to? I just wonder if you might look at doing something similar? An email to your team mates, supporters, school buddies etc that will clearly state how you feel about what happened and how much you regret it. Importantly, don't make any excuses - then ask for their forgiveness.

I am 100% confident this will end positively.

So what do you think? Give it as long as you like, do a few edits, then when you are ready send it! Perhaps even 'test' it with a close friend in confidence.

Let me know how you go! All the best, The Bro

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Rotang,

Competing in high levels of horse racing sounds very stressful for you. I'm sorry to hear that. While I'm not sure what requirements are needed to be able to compete in high level horse racing, but I'd assume it requires a fair amount of talent and skill to be put into that category. I'd like to commend you on reaching this far at such a young age, well done :).

If you don't mind me asking, as I'd like to understand you more, are you were able to recall the last time that you've failed in something, only to be given a negative feedback/comment that set you up to never want to fail ever again? It could be failure in school homework, or as simple as breaking a something at home. Feel free to skip the question as well if you're uncomfortable with answering.


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Horse riding is a demanding pursuit that pushes your body to extremes, and when you have all the techniques mastered you still must contend with your mental and physical preparation on the day.
Embarrassing moments are secondary to your role but, as in any real time performance, some things will happen regardless; so you just brush it off and carry on.
With experience, you will develop a routine prior to events to ensure no unforeseen issues arise - exercise/rest, what you eat and drink, and even certain types of music, can hone your body and mind into purpose. All the Pros do this since skill is just one part of the equation (and most have also learnt this the hard way!).

Community Member

Hi, thank you for replying. it means a lot actually!

i think what got me the most was the fact that obviously i let my coach down the most because it was an incident that shouldn’t have happened if i didn’t let my nerves get the best of me. they are the type of people to say one thing to your face and something completely different to someone else (i know this because it’s happened right in front of my eyes to someone else)

i think this is was makes me panic so much and have so much built up anxiety. sometimes i then question whether it is right for my continue competing with the team because i always have that in the back of my mind. but i have had some of my highest high with them in my life so far! so many great opportunities. but then things like this happen and it can cause me distress for weeks to come…

Community Member

thank you jt for helping. i am under a lot of stress from my family to do well in school. as well as much coach in riding.

my family is often black and white and if i don’t succeed in something of like winning or achieving the highest grade i won’t get applauded for it. rather told to just do better. this does give me a chance to prove them wrong but it also can be very harming to my mental health and my mentality towards things

Community Member

i have only competed in this sport for roughly a year. i am a highly competitive person and have done track sport prior for horse riding.

i excelled in long jump and 100m sprints before this and would get slightly nervous before running in the 100m. nothing this serious though.

the difference with doing track sport is that you are amongst other people, you are competiting all at the same time. where is for my discipline of horse riding i am getting judged on my own and riding whilst everyone is watching, not all riders are riding at the same time. this is what causes the the most amount of stress and anxiety. and obviously working with horses, i don’t have time to be feeling like this and freezing up.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hey Rotang,

Wow it sounds like you're a really high achiever in athletics, well done. That's brilliant.

While I've never done anything like that, I did do music performance competitions as a teenager for various events and I can certainly relate to the nerves of all eyes on you. Feeling embarrassed can be crippling, I totally get it.

It does sound like you've put a lot of pressure on yourself to be the best you can be (which isn't a bad thing) but perhaps you were more nervous or had higher expectations of yourself than you realised?

As your peers said, everyone makes mistakes and they are a great way to learn and grow - but I think given how upset you've been feeling by this, how you care for yourself now is important.

Maybe try some grounding exercises or a guided meditation to try and soothe your nerves?

I also find laughter is a good medicine - could you distract yourself with some funny movies today to help you settle?

Be kind to yourself however you can - hope this helps.