Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Monday 27 June |
The Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Aleteia logo
Lifestyle
separateurCreated with Sketch.

Michael Phelps speaks about his struggle with suicidal thoughts

MICHAEL PHELPS

Fotosagenciabrasil | Flickr CC by 2.0

Sophia Swinford - published on 03/01/18

Even in the midst of staggering Olympic success, the athlete continued to struggle with depression.

Michael Phelps holds the record as the most decorated Olympian in history with 23 gold medals, 3 silver medals, and 2 bronze, so it might come as a surprise that Phelps recently admitted, “Really, after every Olympics I think I fell into a major state of depression.” His struggles with depression began in 2004, and for all his drive to be the best, no amount of accolades could cure this.

His success at each Olympic Games was followed by drug and alcohol use. For up to five days, he would sit alone without eating. So when, after the 2012 games, he realized that “I didn’t want to be alive anymore,” he decided to enter a treatment center.

The 10th leading cause of death in the US, suicide takes nearly 45,000 lives every year, and for every death by suicide there are 25 attempted suicides, according to the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention. Phelps suggests that a big reason that suicide rates are increasing is that “people are afraid to talk and open up,” but for him the relief of sharing his feelings and experiences is “light years better than winning the Olympic gold medal.”

Learning to discuss his emotions, he says, was an incredibly important step in recovering. “I was very good at compartmentalizing things and stuffing things away that I didn’t want to talk about, I didn’t want to deal with, I didn’t want to bring up — I just never ever wanted to see those things,” he said.

You can read more of Phelps’ story here.




Read more:
For Michael Phelps, all that gold couldn’t glitter until he found God

Tags:
Mental HealthSports
Support Aleteia!

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Thanks to their partnership in our mission, we reach more than 20 million unique users per month!

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting and transformative Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Support Aleteia with a gift today!

jour1_V2.gif
Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Entrust your prayer intentions to our network of monasteries


Top 10
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.