Former England cricketer Jonathan Trott details the severity of his anxiety in his new book Unguarded, revealing he briefly contemplated driving his car into a tree to get out of playing in a Test match for England vs. Australia.
Double Olympic champion cyclist Victoria Pendleton has spoken of her battle with anxiety and said she used self-harm to try and numb her fear of failure.
Fellow British athlete, Kelly Holmes, who also won two gold medals, used to self harm. She cut herself with a pair of scissors for each day she was out after injuring her calf a year before her triumphant Olympics in Athens in 2004.
Trott's anxiety began when he was one of England's star players and arguably at the top of his game. On his debut in 2009, he scored a hundred to help England beat Australia in an Ashes series -- one of the fiercest rivalries in the game of cricket.
Trott's good form continued on the tour of Australia in 2010-11. He scored 445 runs in the series as England won the Ashes Down Under for the first time in 24 years.
Trott thinks the turning point came when he got out in the 50-over Champions Trophy final against India in 2013. England had looked favorites to win but fell just four runs short. Within days, Trott and England were preparing for another Ashes series. "I didn't really have time to move on, process or park it and get ready for the Ashes. I think I carried that over," he said.
Even though England won the Ashes in 2013 -- the team and Trott's third success in a row -- the South African-born batsman was struggling. His average score against Australia had been 90 and he says he put too much pressure on himself to deliver.
By the time England reached Australia just a few months later, just putting his England tracksuit on or getting on the bus to go to the ground triggered a wave of anxiety within Trott. In the first Test match of the series, in Brisbane, he went out to bat in tears.
Ashes series are always played at a high intensity with "sledging" -- verbal intimidation of the opposition -- prevalent. Australia were unaware of Trott's struggles but he said in that opening match they "circled like hyenas round a dying zebra." He was dismissed cheaply twice by fast bowler Mitchell Johnson and flew home for treatment once the game was over.
After being diagnosed with situational-based anxiety and spending some time away from cricket, Trott regained his place in the England team in April 2015 for a tour of the West Indies. But he struggled in the three-match series and retired from international cricket once it had finished.
Trott continues to play cricket for Warwickshire -- the county he joined when he was 21. He recently led them to glory in one of England's domestic 50-over competitions and says he will continue for another season at least: "There have been times when cricket has been tough going but mostly, I've enjoyed it ever since I was three. It has always been the center of my life," he said.