Ian Thorpe’s Battle with Depression and Alcoholism
He didn’t have words then to describe how he feeels, but there were times he’d feel sad for no apparent reason. By the time those sad periods were getting longer and more frequent, but he just tried to ignore them and get on with what he was supposed to be doing that day.
Ian Thorpe, one of Australia’s greatest ever Olympians with five gold medals to his name, recently has made public his problem with depression that carries almost all his life. In order to encourage young people to speak more openly about their problems with depression and anxiety, for the first time in his life, the famous swimmer speaks publicly about his battle with depression that led to alcohol addiction.
Today, many young people are struggling with depression. Among Australian teenagers depression is the most common mental health problem. Around 25% of them will have had a depressive disorder by the end of their adolescence. The consequences of untreated depression can be very serious. It can include not only non progress at school and social activities, but also the substance abuse and preoccupation with thoughts of death or suicide.
Ian Thorpe has battled severe depression through most of his career, actually he has suffered from depression for much of his life. But when did he realise he had depression? He was a teenager when realised that there was something that wasn’t quite right. At that time he didn’t know what that was, but he found out it was depression some time later when he decided to seek help. He also learned of many institutions that can provide help. He didn’t know what resources to use in battle with depression but now he know they have very good resources in Australia and within the UK and Europe, available to people. Today there are many online centers and modern effictive methods for the treatment of mental illness and drug addiction treatment with naltrexone implants but unfortunatelly people are often not well informed.
A lot of the time people with depression go to alcohol addiction because they just don’t want to have to deal with dark thougths from time to time, as Thorpe says. It’s taken him a long time to accept that being depressed wasn’t his fault, it is actually a genetic disposition. He was nineteen when he needed to seek out other ways of managing depression so decided to find some answers. He began secretly goes to a psychologist and taking medication, but with that therapy he has not given any explanation.
So he turned to artificial ways of managing his feelings, and ironically, athough he was never drunk alcohol since he hated yet he became addicted. But more he drank to getting rid of negative thoughts, his emotions were more suppressed. As he says, he was alcohol addict behind closed doors, where many depressed people choose to fight their inside demons before they realise they are not able to do it without help of professionals.
When he finally began to seek help again, his psyhologist discovered an extremely high level of depression and anxiety at Ian, so he concluded that his medication had stopped working and it meant he had to change his therapy.
He belives the key is to accept depression as an illness that can be managed properly – every day is potentially a dark one and that’s something that depressed people will have to live with all their life. Ian doesn’t want that his depression define him, he is getting help from medical professionals in managing his depression and anxiety.
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