Dame Kelly Holmes' battle with depression
12 October 2017 - 2:00 PM

Dame Kelly Holmes' battle with depression

Dame Kelly Holmes used her appearance on "Loose Women" on Thursday (12.10.17) to open up about her battle with depression.

The 47-year-old retired athlete has admitted she found herself in a dark place with her mental health in 2003 when she was preparing for the Athens Olympics, as her battle with constant injuries made her loathe her body for failing her, and caused her to develop depression.

Kelly admits that self-harming was a "release" for the pain she was feeling inside her head, after being angry that her injuries - which included a ruptured calf and a torn achilles - were preventing her from becoming Olympic champion.

Speaking on the talk show, Kelly said: "For me, 2003, it was a year before the Olympics in Athens, I'd already been to another Olympics where I'd got bronze, and off of only six weeks training because I'd got a 12 centimetre tear in my calf and I'd had glandular fever, tonsillitis, ruptured calf, torn achilles, all through these years. But I still believed I could be olympic champion. So this one year, 2003, I'd already won a silver medal in the world indoor championships, I was going to the world outdoor championships, and I got another niggle. I was in France, and just something came over me, like I suddenly hated myself. I couldn't believe I'd had this other injury.

"No-one knew about this until I retired. It was just the pressure in my head of hating that I was injured again, I was on this rollercoaster. [I hated] my body. I think people will take it out on alcohol, drugs, sex, whatever it is, and, unfortunately, suicide. And for me, self harming was ... it's a horrible word but it was almost a release. The pain I was getting, but the pain was the mental pain, you know, the stress."

But the sports star is conscious of making sure she doesn't "glorify" her struggle, as she wants to make sure young people understand that many people battle mental illness.

She added: "I don't want to glorify anything because young people need to understand that it's a part of life that a lot of people go through, you know, we sit here now and there's people watching this show, people in the audience, so many people would have suffered in different ways, it's just the extremities of it really."

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