Michael Phelps opens up about battling anxiety, depression

Swimming great Michael Phelps revealed that he has battled severe anxiety and depression for much of his life which drove him to consider suicide after his success at the 2012 Olympics. (Shutterstock)
Updated 20 January 2018
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Michael Phelps opens up about battling anxiety, depression

LOS ANGELES: Swimming great Michael Phelps revealed that he has battled severe anxiety and depression for much of his life which drove him to consider suicide after his success at the 2012 Olympics.
Speaking at a mental health conference in Chicago on Tuesday, the 23-time Olympic gold medal winner talked openly about his long battle with crippling depression and is encouraging others to get help like he did.
“After every Olympics I think I fell into a major state of depression,” the 32-year-old Phelps said.
Phelps said he reached rock bottom following the 2012 Olympics in London where he won four gold medals and two silver. For four days he remained in his room without food or sleep.
“I didn’t want to be in the sport anymore,” he said. “I didn’t want to be alive.”
When he hit a low point in his depression, Phelps said, “You do contemplate suicide.”
Over the past two years Phelps has opened up about his struggles. Once again, Phelps said his depression and anxiety problems have been a staple of his life for the past 17 years.
“We’re supposed to be this big, macho, physically strong human beings, but this is not a weakness,” he said. “We are seeking and reaching for help.”
Phelps won his first gold medal in 2004 at the Athens Olympic Games. That same year the 15-year-old from Baltimore experienced his first “depression spell.”
Phelps said as he got older his depression led to his abusing drugs and alcohol.
In 2008, after winning a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Games, Phelps was photographed smoking from a bong. He has also been arrested twice for drink driving.
“It would be just me self-medicating myself, basically daily, to try to fix whatever it was that I was trying to run from,” he said.
Phelps isn’t the first Olympic national hero to battle dark demons outside the pool.
Australian Ian Thorpe, who broke 22 world records, wrote in his 2012 autobiography that not only did he consider suicide but he planned ways and places to do it in.
Like Phelps, Thorpe chose to “self-medicate” with alcohol to try and manage his vicious mood swings and silence the horrible thoughts going through his head.
In an interview with CNN this week, Phelps said he wants to eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness.
“(Mental illness) has a stigma around it and that’s something we still deal with every day,” said Phelps. “I think people actually finally understand it is real. People are talking about it and I think this is the only way that it can change.”
Phelps retired after the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio as the most decorated Olympian of all-time, winning 28 Olympics medals.


Mohamed Salah tops Cristiano Ronaldo this season, says Liverpool legend

Updated 4 min 16 sec ago
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Mohamed Salah tops Cristiano Ronaldo this season, says Liverpool legend

LONDON: Liverpool great Ian Rush says Mohamed Salah has outshone Champions League final opponent Cristiano Ronaldo during an incredible record-breaking season.
The Egyptian forward goes into Saturday’s showpiece against defending champions Real Madrid in Kiev needing an unlikely four goals to beat Rush’s Liverpool goals record for a single season.
Salah currently has 44 goals, three short of Rush’s mark from the 1983/84 campaign, when Liverpool won the European Cup, First Division and League Cup treble.
“If he beats my record I would actually bow down to him,” Rush, a Liverpool club ambassador, told Britain’s Press Association. “To score four goals in a final would be an incredible achievement.
“Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez were amazing in their first seasons at Liverpool.
“But I have to say Salah’s been even better than them, not only his goals and assists but his all-round game. What I like about him is that he’s such a humble guy — if someone’s in a better position he passes the ball.”
Salah became the most expensive player in Liverpool history last year when he joined from Roma in an initial £37 million ($45 million) deal, although January signing Virgil van Dijk has since taken the record.
But the 25-year-old has proved a bargain, with 11 of his goals coming in the club’s march to the Champions League final.
He won the golden boot with 32 goals, becoming the highest scorer in a 38-game Premier League season.
And Rush has echoed those who believe Salah should be crowned world player of the year if Liverpool become European champions.
“The two best players in the world over a long time, without doubt, are Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi,” Rush said. “But over the last season Salah has been the best player.
“He played a huge role in helping Egypt to the World Cup and what he’s achieved at Liverpool has been amazing.
“If Liverpool win the Champions League he deserves the best player award, 100 percent,” he added.