US Olympic Legend Michael Phelps Admits Therapy Saved His Life From the Worst

Published 09/22/2021, 9:53 AM EDT
NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 28: Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps attends the Press Room at the 2016 MTV Music Video Awards at Madison Square Garden on August 28, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage)


Even today, talking openly about mental health is looked upon as taboo. However, there is a gradual shift in the conversation towards a more sensitive approach to the topic. Athletes face immense pressure and expectation from countries to perform well in their sport. Significantly, Michael Phelps is a prime example of that. Despite winning a lot of medals for his country, he spoke about how he overcame mental issues.

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Michael Phelps opens up on his struggles

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Famously known as the Baltimore Bullet, Phelps spoke about being depressed at a point in time because of different issues he dealt with. In a recent SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) Annual Conference, he spoke about the problems he faced in his life and how he made it a point to seek therapy to solve them up.

“There are other people struggling just as much or more than [me], and we’re supposed to be the most prepared. I wanted to do whatever I could to help.”

“As a male athlete, I always thought it was a sign of weakness if I showed I was being vulnerable. It’s not weakness. If we’re injured, they’re going to fix our broken bones, but if we’re mentally struggling, we have to get help and we have to get it in safe places,” said Phelps.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 14: Michael Phelps of the United States wipes his eyes during a press conference at the Main Press Centre on August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Moreover, the legendary swimmer spoke about getting arrested for the second time after driving under influence. Thus, checking into a facility helped him to control his emotions.

“It probably was one of the hardest things I ever did. I checked myself into a 45-day facility, and it was a lifesaver.”

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A prominent advocate for mental well being

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The importance of mental health is important as Phelps helped spread awareness on the issue. Likewise, he supports Talkspace, a digital platform that helps people to see help through video calls and sessions.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 14: Simone Biles of the United States looks on prior to the Women’s Vault Final on Day 9 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Rio Olympic Arena on August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

In addition, Phelps applauded famous gymnast Simone Biles for withdrawing from the Olympics due to mental health issues. Not being in the right frame of mind could cause serious injury to a gymnast. Thus, Biles set an example for many people in the world. Tennis player Naomi Osaka is a huge advocate for mental health as well.

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Phelps looks happy now. Free from stress, he joined the commentary booth at Tokyo Olympics 2020 and continues to work for the mental well-being of many athletes and other people in the world. An inspirational personality indeed!

WATCH THIS STORY- Top 10 Moments of Olympic Sporting Spirit

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Jacob Gijy

482 articles

Jacob Gijy is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the centre the respect he deserves.

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