Olympic gold medalist shares battle with depression

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – When Allison Schmitt came back from the 2012 London Olympic Games, she was tied with the most decorated athlete. A career record at just 22 years old but still something was off. “I felt like I had the success, everything I wanted and I didn’t feel right. Everyone was telling me how I should be feeling and I didn’t feel like that.”

She dealt with that feeling for another two and a half years before sharing it with fellow swimmer, gold medalist and friend Michael Phelps. ”I let it lopse and I cried on the pool deck for the next two and half hours with him and my two coaches.”

Schmitt had been depressed for a long time. But it still took her another five months to publicly speak about it. “It took the death of my 17-year-old-cousin who lost the battle and committed suicide to really publicly say out loud that I do see a psychologist, I have depression and I currently have depression.”

Now she is committed to helping other people speak up. Visiting Fort Wayne Tuesday, she shared her story at an event put on by the Lutheran Foundation and University of Saint Francis. Healing Our Community with Hope is aimed at trying to get rid of the stigma around mental health and wellness. “We have a common mission when we want pepople to be physically, mentally and spiritually well,” Marcia Haaff said.

Targeting youth, Schmitt talked with coaches, swimmers, trainers and other athletes. The 8 time medalist, 4 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze, says after all of her success, the biggest win is helping others. “For me. to be able to stand up and say the eight words ‘hey Schmitty its okay to not be okay,’ that means more than any of the other medals.”

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