Depression: ‘I didn’t want to be alive’, says Michael Phelps

Clinical depression is the more-severe form of depression, also known as major depression or major depressive disorder. Swimming great Michael Phelps, who won 28 Olympic medals throughout his career, opened up about his battle with clinical depression at a mental health conference in Chicago


  • Clinical depression is not just grief or feeling sad. It is an illness that can challenge your ability to perform even routine daily activities. At its worst, depression may lead you to contemplate, attempt, or commit suicide. Depression represents a burden for both you and your family. Sometimes that burden can seem overwhelming.
  • After Bollywood celebrities like Deepika Padukone, Manisha Koirala, Shah Rukh Khan and Karan Johar who suffered from depression spoke about their battle with the same.
  • Speaking at a mental health conference in Chicago, the 23-time Olympic gold medal winning athlete Michael Phelps opened up about his battle with clinical depression. He said that he considered committing suicide at one point. 
  • The 32-year-old sought professional help after reaching an “all-time low” following London 2012.

The most decorated Olympian of all-time; Michael Phelps shared the story of his personal encounter with depression. Also, he locked himself up for four days after his success at 2012 London Olympics where he won four gold medals and two silver medals. “After every Olympics I think I fell into a major state of depression. I didn’t want to be in the sport anymore. I didn’t want to be alive,” said Phelps.

He further added that he contemplated suicide during his depression spell: “You do contemplate suicide.”

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“Mental illness should not be considered as ‘weakness’. “We’re supposed to be this big, macho, physically strong human beings, but this is not a weakness. We are seeking and reaching for help,” he said. He further added that the stigma around mental illness needs to be removed. “(Mental illness) has a stigma around it and that’s something we still deal with every day. 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,” said Phelps.

Talking about the Indian scenario:

Recently, President Ram Nath Kovind addressed the 22nd convocation of National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru. He said, “We need to ensure that by 2022, at least those who are suffering from severe mental disorders have been diagnosed and have access to treatment facilities. Let us take this up as a national mission.”

Anupriya Patel, the Minister Of State In The Ministry Of Health And Family Welfare in Lok Sabha stated that, Nearly 1 in 40 and 1 in 20 person suffer from past and current depression, respectively. And nearly 50 per cent of persons with major depressive disorders reported difficulties in carrying out their daily activities.