“I Was Scared As Hell”: Michael Phelps, 37, Discusses the Untold, Vulnerable Side of Him

Published 01/24/2023, 8:45 AM EST

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It is natural to perceive the title of ‘The most decorated Olympian ever’ as incredible and dream-come-true. But it didn’t matter for the swimming G.O.A.T Michael Phelps, in the face-off with his mental health struggles. In an interview, earlier this month, Phelps revealed his vulnerable side of him.

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Besides being a champion of mental health, the 28-time Olympic medalist campaigns for it based on his real-life experiences. In connection with this, Phelps has been making significant efforts to raise awareness about its impact and practices to deal with it.

Michael Phelps hid his actual feelings

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Being a popular personality comes with a price. In the interview with Today.com, Phelps shared how he concealed his feeling in public and projected a “happy face in public.” However, he suffered from “meltdowns” deep down and refused to open up about them. Eventually, Phelps sought help from professionals because things worsened.

“I was scared as hell when I went for the first time,” the 23-time Olympic gold medalist admitted about opening up to a random guy about what he was feeling. “That’s hard,” he described. Phelps also highlighted that he couldn’t break from the general idea of being a male.

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Phelps was obliged to “be big and macho and tough.” Furthermore, he confessed that expressing feelings is contrary to the macho image and “is a sign of weakness.” Besides enduring the breakdowns, he felt ashamed of what “I was going through and feeling.”

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Feeling trapped and having nobody to open up to, Phelps’ mental health issues worsened with each passing day. Though he didn’t like to discuss his feelings with a random person, he did it. However, he emphasized the positive outcome of giving things a chance.

Moreover, he underscored that if he hadn’t mustered the courage to open up and seek intervention, “I don’t know if I’d be here.” Undoubtedly, it is not as easy as it sounds. However, coming from the swimming legend, it is difficult to dismiss.

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Watch Now: Paige Spiranac Hailed Olympic Legend Michael Phelps for His Courageous Act in 2018 

To sum it up, mental health requires greater attention than ever before. Don’t you agree? Share in the comments.

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Written by:

Ramya Bachu

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Ramya Bachu is a US Sports author for Essentially Sports. Ramya has a Master’s degree in Psychology. She strongly believes in the power of discipline, consistency, and willingness to learn to achieve greater heights.
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