Even the most decorated Olympian of all time isn’t immune to the effects of mental illness.
Michael Phelps made headlines back in 2014 when he was arrested for driving under the influence for the second time. Afterward, the 23-time Olympic gold medalist became so depressed that he contemplated suicide, Phelps told USA TODAY recently.
“I didn’t want to be alive,” Phelps said. “I didn’t want to see anyone else. I didn’t want to see another day.”
Phelps said back then he suffered from ongoing “depression spells,” and, in some respects, his problems were connected to the very thing that brought him fame and fortune: the swimming pool.
“You’re at the highest level of sport you can possibly get,” Phelps said. “Then you’ll want to do something new, something crazy. That high to low can put you in a dark spot.”
But thanks to what he describes as a “life-saving support group,” Phelps got the help he needed, and now he wants to help others suffering from similar issues.
“Once I started talking about my struggles outside the pool, the healthier I felt,” Phelps said. “Now I have kids and adults come up to me and say they were able to open up because I was open about my life.”
While there’s no cure for depression, it sounds as though Phelps is in a better place. He and his wife, Nicole Johnson, announced Tuesday that they’re expecting their second child.
Thumbnail photo Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports Images