USA’s Most-Decorated Olympian Gets Real About His Depression & Suicidal Thoughts

It’s been reported as many as 55% of the population have seriously considered suicide at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, suicidal behavior and completed suicides are also common. Often associated with untreated anxiety and depressive disorders, suicidal behavior often occurs when a person feels as though he or she has no other option in life.

That’s how Olympian, Michael Phelps felt

Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time. He’s won 28 medals in swimming, 23 of them gold. But he’s just as human as the rest of us, and he’s experienced serious bouts of depression in his life. And he revealed to CNN this week that at one point, he even contemplated suicide.

This week Phelps spoke to CNN’s David Axelrod at the Kennedy Forum, a behavioral health advocacy group, and opened up about his experience with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.

When Success Isn’t Enough

To be such a successful athlete and make the most of his talent and potential, Phelps had to be dedicated, intense, and unforgiving of himself. When the Olympics were over, Phelps said he began to feel a big let-down, and it started to get more habitual.

“Really, after every Olympics I think I fell into a major state of depression,” said Phelps when asked to pinpoint when his trouble began. He noticed a pattern of emotion “that just wasn’t right” at “a certain time during every year,” around the beginning of October or November, he said. “I would say ’04 was probably the first depression spell I went through.”

Depression is a real illness

If you or a loved one suffers with this debilitating condition, we want you to know you are not alone. Over 40 million Americans struggle with anxiety disorders, roughly 18 percent of the population, and only one-third of those suffering will receive treatment.

Depression and suicide devastates families, often leaving parents, spouses, and children feeling abandoned, guilt-stricken, and depressed.

We Can Help

It is very important to determine the nature and origin of these behaviors because that will predict appropriate treatment. If you or someone you know is suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts we would love to speak with you today. Please reach out at 888-288-9834 or schedule a visit. You are not alone.

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