It’s difficult to imagine that one of the most celebrated Olympians, swimmer Michael Phelps, might be struggling with depression despite winning 28 Olympic medals. Understanding the need of help required by people struggling with anxiety and depression, Phelps has urged the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) to help such players who battle depression in silence.
Phelps has come forward at a time when many former and current athletes are gradually revealing their mental health problems in order to remove the stigma and discrimination surrounding these issues. Phelps wants people to know that mental illnesses are real and by talking about them, one can hope to bring a change. According to him, USOC hasn’t done much to help the athletes recover from their state. The organization does have a Pivot program to help athletes navigate through the games to their next level passion and goals. The program promises the athletes that they are not alone and that they will receive a platform to share their problems with others and get all sort of support for their future. However, Phelps shares a different view.
Tryst with depression, drugs and DUI
Phelps shared that he suffered with depression three to four times after the Olympics and it was so bad that he contemplated suicide. After the 2012 Olympics, his mental health further deteriorated and he wanted to leave the sport. He started smoking, taking drugs and alcohol, and driving under influence (DUI). He even got arrested twice for drunk driving. Substance abuse became a way to self-medicate and escape the misery he suffered from. The swimmer recalled how he was prescribed Ambien as he was traveling extensively and luckily, just one tablet was left with him, otherwise he might have overdosed. He felt so low at that point that he asked for help and subsequently, got treated at a rehab. Phelps hopes that the USOC helps the players before they reach dangerously low point in their lives. According to him, nearly 90 percent of the athletes struggle with depression after the games. Olympics leave a void, which the athletes do not know how to fill. They find it hard to step down from the competitive high while the organization looks for the new kid on the block to become the torchbearer.
Phelps recalled that as a child he was struggling with ADHD and he didn’t like taking the medication. Once in sport, he just did not want to lose and became very competitive. Despite painful workouts he would keep pushing himself in order to win. The intense pressure of winning and being the best took a toll on his mental health.
To help budding swimmers learn the game and raise awareness about physical and mental health, he has started an organization Michael Phelps Foundation. For Phelps, helping people to break the shackles of stigma and get support is way bigger than winning a gold medal.
Recovery from depression and other mental disorders
Most people battling a mental health condition also grapple with stigma at some point in their lives. The set of false beliefs and opinions makes a person ashamed and guilty for something over which they have no control. It also prevents a person from seeking much required treatment and support. It is indispensable to talk openly about mental health and institute support for those who need help.
Sovereign Health is a leading provider of mental health treatment for both adults and adolescents. If you or your loved one is exhibiting signs of depression, our depression treatment centers in California and other parts of the country can help. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our trained specialists to get connected to our reputed treatment centers for depression offering holistic recovery programs.
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