Dubai, UAE, August 19, 2018: Olympian Michael Phelps sat down with CNN World Sport anchor, Patrick Snell to discuss his struggles with depression.
Phelps is working to raise awareness of depression and other mental health issues by telling others about his own journey. Phelps hopes to inspire others to openly speak about their struggles and help save lives.
Michael Phelps tells CNN why he is speaking about his struggle with depression:
“I'd like to make a difference, I’d like to be able to save a life if I can. For me, that’s more important than winning a gold medal.”
Phelps on why it’s important for him to understand more about mental health:
'It’s ok to not be ok. I was able to do some pretty incredible things in the swimming pool and I struggled outside as well. There was a part of my life I didn't want to be alive. You know, two to three weeks ago I went through a pretty scary depression spell. This is something that's going to continue to happen in my life, but the more I can learn about myself and understand why I'm going through these things...it’s going to make my life better…and I can teach other people or help other people and that is something that’s so important to me and I’m very proud and honoured to be able to do.'
The swimmer credits his wife with helping him through his recent ordeal:
“[My wife] is my everything and my rock and helps me through everyday life. I definitely wouldn't be who I am without her. She was somebody who really helped me through my most recent time.”
Phelps’s advice to others struggling with mental health:
'Making sure that you are staying open and communicating. Being able to not shut down is something that’s so scary for a lot of people. It's a dark, dark road sometimes and you just want to make sure you are staying open.'
Phelps speaks about the stability offered by a therapist:
“I didn't want to see a therapist in the beginning but once I did I found that I felt better and I was healthier, I was learning so much more about myself that I didn't know.”
The Olympian on how he is doing now:
'I do like who I am and I'm comfortable with who I am. I couldn't say that a few years ago. So I'm in a very good place and just living life one day at a time.'