Michael Phelps opened up about his battle with depression and said he thought about killing himself after the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history, told CBS News his depression took over his life despite his success as a professional swimmer.
“There was one point, I didn’t want to be alive,” Phelps told the network. “You know, as Olympians, you set four years to build up to this moment. And then, after it’s over, you’re kind of lost in a way.”
Phelps said the uncertainty after the Olympic Games takes a toll on athletes.
“And a lot of us do suffer from depression,” he added.
Phelps recalled an incident after the 2012 Summer Olympics in London when he checked how many pills of Ambien, a drug to treat sleep disorders, he had. The Olympian said it’s unclear what could have happened if he had more than one pill left.
“I think it’s something that nobody’s really talked about in the past because we’re supposed to be this big, macho, strong person that has no weaknesses,” Phelps said. “You know, we’re supposed to be perfect. And for me, I carried it along for so long and never really talked about it… part of that was probably just a fear of rejection.”
Phelps said his mindset going into the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro shifted after he sought help. He began seeing therapists and continues with sessions today.
Phelps previously spoke about his battle with depression to Us Weekly and said he’s speaking out about the “darkest part” of his life to let others know that “it is OK to not be OK.”