Even Olympic Athletes Struggle with Combating Depression At Times...It Takes Strength and Courage to Reach Out For Help.
It's no surprise that to get to the top of your chosen sport, it takes an extremely high work ethic, structure, sacrifice and dedication. But who knew these same qualities that make elite athletes so successful, could also wind up leaving them vulnerable to suffering major lows or depressive symptoms after they have competed in their peak event? Studies have shown that athletes experience a dopamine and endorphin crash following major competitions- regardless of whether they win or lose. According to Bonnie Ford, in her article Out of The Blue, she reports that
" Studies on depression in elite and college athletes don't necessarily show a higher prevalence than in the general population, but evidence has emerged that athletes as a group are more reluctant to seek advice or treatment."
Athletes often times choose to keep mental health struggles a secret due to various reasons including fear over their playing time being affected, portraying an image other than strength and vitality, or fear over how their coaches or teammates may view them.
American swimmer and olympic gold medalist, Allison Schmitt, speaks out about her battle over depression in Bonnie Ford's article, Out of The Blue where she bravely shares her chronic struggles with depression in the hopes that she is able to help others who are going through similar issues. Part of the reason this topic is so very personal to Allison is not only her own struggles with depression, but the fact that her cousin, friend and fellow athlete April, unexpectedly took her own life after silently battling depression. Allison vows to use her status as a platform to speak out in efforts to eliminate the stigma of mental health issues, and give others the courage to reach out for help themselves should they need it.
You never know the power you may have to influence those around you. By reaching out for help, you are not only accessing the support that you need, but you may also be serving as an example and inspiring those around you who may be struggling to do the same.