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7 Inspiring Quotes From Athletes Who Live With Mental Illness

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If you think you have nothing in common with professional athletes, think again. Mental illness can affect anyone, even our athletic heroes who go for the gold. But mental illness can be especially hard for athletes to talk about because they’re not supposed to show signs of “weakness.”

But some athletes have openly discussed their mental health issues, proving strength and mental illness can go hand-in-hand.

Here are seven inspiring things athletes have said about mental health: 

1. “It took putting one foot in front of the other every single day to get through it to the point where I made it back on the team and won a gold medal in 2008. You’re always going to survive the pain of loss.” — Hope Solo, USA, soccer, on depression


2. “I know talking about mental health problems is a difficult subject matter to many people, but I hope me being honest about my illness offers others some support and helps people realize they are not alone. I have made a full recovery now, but felt a break from the pressures of competing professionally was necessary for my mental health.” — Jack Green, Great Britain, track and field, on depression

3.I remember looking at myself in the mirror and wondering where the Olympic Athlete went. She was still there, but I had to find her. I had to learn how to appreciate all aspects of myself — including accepting myself as someone who lives with a mental illness. Bipolar disorder is not all of who I am, but learning to live with it has impacted who I have become.” — Amy Gamble, USA, hand ball, on bipolar disorder


4.A lot of people have to accept that psychological and physical injuries are at the same level of intensity. They can do the same level of damage to somebody’s self confidence and their ability to perform.” — Oliver Bone, Canada, sailing, on depression

5. “Mental health is not a very easy thing to talk about in sports. It’s not perceived as very masculine. We’re so trained to be “mentally tough,” in sports. To show weakness, we’re told, in so many words, is to deserve shame. But I am here to show weakness. And I am not ashamed.” — Mardy Fish, USA, tennis player, on anxiety

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6. “Today, guys, I take my medicine every day, and I try to inspire others to do the same. Because I finally listened,” Charles Haley, football, on bipolar disorder

7.Nobody wants to feel dependent on something. Nobody wants to think she can’t be in control, especially an athlete. But we can’t control everything.” — Wendy Williams, USA, diving, on depression


Originally published: September 17, 2015
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