"Really, after every Olympics I think I fell into a major state of depression," he told David Axelrod at the fourth annual conference of the Kennedy Forum, an organization for mental health advocacy, according to CNN. Phelps revealed that after winning four gold medals and two silver medals at the 2012 Olympics, the depression got worse, and he couldn't leave his room for days.
“I didn’t want to be in the sport anymore … I didn’t want to be alive anymore,” he said.
Eventually, Phelps decided he needed to seek help.
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"I remember going to treatment my very first day. I was shaking, shaking because I was nervous about the change that was coming up," Phelps said. "I needed to figure out what was going on."
After getting his life back on track, Phelps started the Michael Phelps Foundation, which works with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. He also has been open about his struggles with mental health and depression.
"I think people actually finally understand it is real. People are talking about it, and I think this is the only way that it can change," he said. "That's the reason why suicide rates are going up; people are afraid to talk and open up."
Phelps said that now, he is thankful to be alive. He is now married to his longtime love, Nicole Johnson, and has a son, Boomer, with another on the way, due later this year.
"I am extremely thankful that I did not take my life," he said.