Olympian Missy Franklin recently opened up about her depression during an interview with CNN. Franklin touches on an especially important point during her interview: she says that people have asked her how she can be depressed when she's "so happy all the time." One common mental health myth is that depressed people are incapable of functioning at all. The truth is that while depressed patients can become bed-ridden or catatonic, most people diagnosed with depression still go to work or school and function "normally." The stigma around mental illness pressures many people into minimizing or denying their struggles and not reaching out for help.
Franklin's remarks come just several weeks after Michael Phelps' spoke publicly about his experiences battling against depression and anxiety, particularly after each of the last several Olympics ended. For Franklin, a big part of her recovery centered around having friends who have faced the same issues, including Phelps and fellow Olympian Allison Schmitt. Franklin says that Olympic athletes, like herself, struggle with the sudden drop in momentum once the Olympics are over making it difficult to find a new purpose. For many, a lifetime spent preparing and two weeks spent competing in the public eye leads to a difficulty adjusting to regular life once the athletes are back home.
For athletes, symptoms of depression manifest themselves in the same ways as other people. Symptoms include:
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