Michael Phelps opens up about his depression: ‘I just didn’t want to be alive’

2018-10-26 13:55
Michael Phelps

Cape Town - Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps has been struggling with depression, which at its worst has caused him to have suicidal thoughts.

In an interview on The Today Show the swimming legend spoke about his mental health issues.

“From time to time I’ll have bad days where I do go into a depression state,” he said.

“There are so many people who struggle from very similar things that I go through and still go through.

“At times it was a little scary and challenging to go through, but I found a way to get through it and I’m addressing these issues that I have.”

The father-of-two also told the show’s hosts, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, that he’d been struggling with anxiety throughout his swimming career.

“For me, I think looking back on my career I was probably hiding a bunch or compartmentalising a bunch of the stuff that I was going through just because I think I was always told that we weren’t allowed or we weren’t supposed to show weakness ever because being an athlete you’re supposed to be strong and able to push through anything.

“So I think my struggles carried on throughout my career and I hid them really well,” he said.

Michael was arrested in October 2014 for drunk driving and at the time said he was suicidal, People reports.

“I was so down on myself. I didn’t have any self-love and quite honestly, I just didn’t want to be alive.

“It was a really, really, really crazy time for me and I didn’t want to see anybody. I saw myself as letting so many people down – me myself in particular. That’s hard to carry,” he said.

Michael – who’s been a spokesperson for Talkspace, an online therapy company that provides licensed therapists via text, audio or video messaging – hopes his story will inspire people to seek help, the Baltimore Sun reports.

“I’m lucky to be able to sit down with a therapist and chat and talk and open up,” he said.

“It’s challenging for people to do. And being able to work with TalkSpace, travelling as much as I do, to have the access on my phone where I can pop on whenever I want – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – and get the help that I need? It’s something that continues to teach me more and more about myself.”

Sources: Today Show, People, Baltimore Sun

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