Michael Phelps opens up about struggling with mental health amid coronavirus pandemic

Michael Phelps opens up about struggling with mental health amid coronavirus pandemic

Michael Phelps wanted to remind people that his battle against mental health issues has no “finish line.” There’s no neat and tidy end to his daily struggles with depression, even if the media portrays him in way that show he’s somehow made a complete comeback — and that he’s beaten the disease.

He hasn’t — he won’t.

Amid the coronavirus outbreak and during the rigors of quarantine, Phelps admitted he is struggling more than ever. And he seems to want to encourage others to create a health discourse around mental health during the pandemic.

Here’s what Phelps, who is becoming something of a mental health advocate, wrote in a story for ESPN.com:

“It has been one of those months. Nonstop, my mood jumping up and down and all around. The pandemic has been one of the scariest times I’ve been through. I’m thankful that my family and I are safe and healthy. I’m grateful we don’t have to worry about paying bills or putting food on the table, like so many other folks right now. But still, I’m struggling.”

“…There are times where I feel absolutely worthless, where I completely shut down but have this bubbling anger that is through the roof. If I’m being honest, more than once I’ve just screamed out loud, “I wish I wasn’t me!” Sometimes there’s just this overwhelming feeling that I can’t handle it anymore. I don’t want to be me anymore. It’s almost like that scene in “The Last Dance” where Michael Jordan is on the couch, smoking a cigar and he’s just like, “Done. Break.” He can’t take it anymore.

“This is the most overwhelmed I’ve ever felt in my life. That’s why I have times where I don’t want to be me. I wish I could just be ‘Johnny Johnson,’ some random person.”

Phelps issued a reminder: the times when he’s needed help the most have often been the times when he’s least likely to seek help from a therapist. But that’s the time when people need to take care of themselves.

In other words, love yourself at a time when it’s enormously important to do so. Love yourself, even — and maybe especially — when you don’t feel like you can.

Follow For The Win’s Henry McKenna on Twitter @McKennAnalysis.

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