Michael Phelps opens up about his struggles with depression and anxiety

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He wondered why he didn't seek help sooner, but the answer was easy: he wasn't ready for it. "I am extremely thankful that I didn't not take my life".

The 32-year-old said: "After every Olympics I think I fell into a major state of depression. You do contemplate suicide".

Olympic champion Michael Phelps revealed his struggles with mental health, including anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts during a conference in Chicago this week.

Phelps - as the victor of 28 Olympic medals, 23 of which are gold - is most awarded Olympian of all time.

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.

Phelps revealed that he felt a certain emotion which according to him, wasn't just right and that happened every year around the beginning of October or November. That same year, as a 15-year-old, he said he experienced his first "depression spell", The Telegraph reports. After failing to medal in Sydney in 2000, Phelps pushed himself to the limits to be better, and was rewarded for his efforts with six gold medals four years later in Athens.

But when the games were over, Phelps said he was left feeling depressed. In early 2009 a photo of Phelps smoking from a bong went public, which had been taken in late 2008. He later apologized and called his behavior "regrettable."Drugs were a way of running from "whatever it was I wanted to run from", he said".

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One would think that after winning 23 gold medals, having a attractive wife with one child and another on the way, Michael Phelps would be on top of the world, but that certainly wasn't the case after the 2012 Olympics. "After 2012 that was probably the hardest fall for me".

"I didn't want to be in the sport anymore ..."

The 23-times Olympic gold medal victor said he wanted to talk openly about his depression to encourage others to seek the help he got.

Phelps, who is the most decorated Olympian of all-time with 28 medals, said he remained in his room for four days without food or sleep after the 2012 London Games when he won four golds and two silvers. "I didn't want to be alive anymore", he added in a lengthy on-stage interview with David Axelrod of CNN on Tuesday.

"I remember going to treatment my very first day, I was shaking."
"I was shaking because I was nervous about the change that was coming up".

"Finally people are aware of everything that's going on and are talking about it".

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