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20 Jan 2018

Michael Phelps says he contemplated suicide

Michael Phelps opens up about depression and suicide

The greatest Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps made some shocking revelations while speaking at the mental health conference in Chicago.

The 23-time Olympic gold medalist revealed that he battled severe anxiety and depression for most of his life and even contemplated suicide.

Phelps, who is now retired from the sport, has opened up about his troubles over the last two years.

In context

Michael Phelps opens up about depression and suicide

I didn't want to be alive anymore

"After every Olympics I fell into a major state of depression, I would say '04 was probably the first depression spell I went through. Hardest was after 2012 Olympics, I didn't want to be in the sport anymore, I didn't want to be alive anymore."

Phelps was battling anxiety and depression

Suicidal thoughts

Phelps was battling anxiety and depression

Phelps admitted he hit rock bottom after the 2012 London Olympics where he won four gold medals and two silver medals.

He locked himself all alone in his bedroom for four days.

He even retired from the sport for the first time after the 2012 Olympics before making a return at the Rio games where he won 5 more gold medals and one silver.

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Fight against depression

Alcohol and drugs are not the solution

Even after winnings 28 Olympic medals, Michael Phelps couldn't sleep.

He admitted that depression and anxiety problems have been there in his life for the past 17 years.

Since mental health has a stigma around it, Phelps admitted that he started self medication and as he got older, he resorted to alcohol and drugs.

Depression is not a weakness

"It would be me self-medicating, basically daily, to try to fix whatever it was that I was trying to run from. We're supposed to be this big, macho, physically strong human beings, but this is not a weakness, we are seeking and reaching for help"

Ace swimmer Ian Thorpe also battled depression

Not alone

Ace swimmer Ian Thorpe also battled depression

Phelps is not the first Olympian to battle the demons inside his head.

Australian ace swimmer, Ian Thorpe, who has broken 22 world records, revealed in his autobiography that he just didn't contemplate suicide but even planned how to do it.

Like Phelps, he too chose to self-medicate himself with alcohol to try and manage his vicious mood swings.

Get rid of the stigma behind mental illness

If you suspect someone, who is battling depression and may be at the risk of committing suicide, please do not leave that person alone. There is no shame in seeking help from a mental health professional.

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