Amy Pejkovic: “I’m scared of everything and I don’t know why”

In 2012, Amy Pejkovic’s shiny, happy life took a turn for the worst. In pursuit of selection for the Australian team for the London Olympic Games and getting regular work as a model, the high jumper was diagnosed with a brain tumour at aged 19. But five years on from the successful removal of the tumour, and we are thrilled with news that Pejkovic is back in training – taking a crack at Australian team selection for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. But while her body is getting back on track (excuse the pun), she continues to deal with the mental effects of her illness.

On a recent shoot with the Popsugar team, Pejkovic chatted intimately with the title’s Health and Fitness Editor Carina Rossi: “I have kind of gotten over the physical side of being sick, but the past two years, for me, have been more of a mental battle. My surgeon warned me that within six months after a major surgery like mine, people can suffer from depression. It’s kind of like post-traumatic stress disorder.

Dave Wheeler/POPSUGAR

“But six months came and went and I seemed okay. However, my diagnosis really impacted my mum. She suffered from it at around the six month mark, but I was fine. I was like, ‘What is wrong with you all, why are you all getting so upset?’ It wasn’t until a year and a half to two years later it hit me and I’ve kind of been battling my inner demons and mental stuff for a while.”

“I started to think about it every day — all the time. I would have dreams about me dying, my friends dying. I don’t know what it was, but even now I’m still scared of everything and I don’t know why. I’ll just go to training sessions and be petrified of jumping, I’ll be scared of jumping over a bar, which is crazy because it’s something I used to be so confident at. I just don’t have the confidence at the moment, but I know it’s something I have to work on.”

She went on to reveal: “What I went through affected me in ways I didn’t think it would. You think it will be like, ‘Oh, I’ve had a brain tumour, that’s in the past now,’ but it affects all aspects of your life, it’s really strange.”

But don’t count Pejkovic down and out. Currently reading Face Your Fear: Living with Courage in an Age of Caution by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the athlete is determined to get back on the horse and is positive about her future: ”All my friends and family have been encouraging. I’m sure there are people who doubt I’ll come back, but there’s always those people in the world. I’ll just prove them wrong, I guess.”

David Wheeler/POPSUGAR

Click here to see the article and shoot in full at Popsugar.

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4 Discussion to this post

  1. Sophie Kate says:

    Awesome article Husskie. Thanks for sharing Amy’s story. Yes, the struggle is real and I too have previously suffered from paralysing fear. A friend lent me the book “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” by Susan Jeffers and this was definitely the first step in my very gradual, yet full recovery. I can’t recommend it highly enough to anyone else affected by this paralysing condition. @sophiekateloves xo

    • Husskie says:

      Thanks so much Sophie. It just goes to show that it’s so easy for people on the outside to look in and think someone is living the perfect life or has no problems – but I’m so glad to hear you have made a full recovery. I’m also so impressed that you are able to talk about it – I think when people share this type of thing, it grows awareness that there are so many out there with insecurities, doubts and dark places. It’s such a common thing, I think we should all speak up when we’re having an inner crisis! x

  2. Great article – very interesting. Good luck Amy!!

    • Husskie says:

      I so hope she makes the team! What an amazing story if she does. I’m definitely going to be following her journey with interest! x

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