Australian Olympian Cate Campbell revealed she was diagnosed with depression last year and opened up about her mental health issues, explaining how she first sought medical help just weeks before the Olympic Games. Tokyo.
The 29-year-old swimmer, who competed in her fourth Olympics this year, broke the news on social media and said she hoped her story sparked more conversations about mental health.
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“In July 2020, I was diagnosed with depression,” Campbell wrote on Instagram. “In June 2021 – four weeks before the start of the Tokyo Olympics – I finally admitted that I needed medical help, and I am very grateful that I did.
“Mental health is not a sign of weakness. He does not discriminate. It’s very real, and most of us will come across it at some point in our lives.
“I wish mental health conversations were more common – if they were, maybe I would have asked for help sooner than I did. So I share my story in the hopes that it will spark a conversation in your household, dispel a stigma, or encourage you to be a little nicer to the person next to you.
“I still find it hard not to be ashamed of my sanity, so please be kind.”
Campbell explained his experience in a first-person play for Mama mia, where she explained exactly what she was going through.
“I have always considered myself to be a tough person; someone who doesn’t hesitate to work hard. When I meet an obstacle, I go through it, ”she wrote.
“Faced with the pain, I clench my teeth and continue. When I’m tired, I still get out of bed. When I’m not motivated, I let go of it and try harder. Yet something had changed.
“It was as if my brain had turned into a dark vortex, sucking me in. As I was trapped in the deep ink well, neon words flashed before my eyes. They said: ‘You are weak’. “You should be able to overcome this”. ‘You are pathetic’. ‘You are better than this’. “Your life is beautiful”. ‘What’s wrong?’
“It was a deep, endless and unbearable sadness. On a scale that I hadn’t known before – and that I would have despised before my diagnosis. His weight crushed me.
Campbell began seeing a clinical psychologist, but she still struggled to gain confidence as her training intensified in preparation for Tokyo. When she reached the Olympic Trials she was “crippled by an overwhelming sense of impending doom”, but muscle memory kicked in and she secured her place in the Dolphins squad, despite the mental demons that she was fighting.
Still, the overriding emotion was the fear that Campbell might be back on the blocks in just over a month in Japan. She didn’t know if she could get away with it.
So she went to a GP and started taking medication to treat her anxiety and depression, which had a positive effect. Admitting that she previously thought drugs were the “easy way out,” Campbell’s perspective had changed dramatically by the time she arrived in Tokyo.
Medication helped and Campbell thought more clearly and felt more comfortable with herself. She then enjoyed an exceptional campaign in Tokyo, winning gold with the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay team and the 4×100 medley relay team, while also capturing an individual bronze medal in the 100m freestyle.