Michael Phelps says coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on his mental health
US Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps says the coronavirus pandemic has had an ‘overwhelming’ impact on his mental health.
He has spoken publicly about suffering with depression in the past and has now said the current situation has added to his struggle.
He told ESPN: “The pandemic has been a challenge I never expected. All the uncertainty. Being cooped up in a house. And the questions. So many questions. When is it going to end? What will life look like when this is over? Am I doing everything I can to be safe? Is my family safe?
"It drives me insane. I’m used to traveling, competing, meeting people. This is just craziness. My emotions are all over the place. I’m always on edge. I’m always defensive.
“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."
He added that his wife, Nicole Johnson, and their three sons are helping his mental health during lockdown.
"The thing is – and people who live with mental health issues all know this – it never goes away. You have good days and bad. But there’s never a finish line.
"I’ve done so many interviews after [the 2016 Olympics] where the story was the same: Michael Phelps opened up about depression, went into a treatment program, won gold in his last Olympics and now is all better. I wish that were the truth.
"There are moments, those times where I’m stuck in my own head, I don’t think it can get any worse, and Boomer, my four-year-old, will walk up to me, give me a hug and just tell me he loves me. When you absolutely least expect it. It’s literally the greatest thing in the world.”