Sportspeople are actually one of the most likely groups in society to fall into depression, with some reports suggesting that it could be as many as one in four athletes that suffer from the condition at some stage in their life.
It is most common for an athlete to suffer depression after retirement.
The thrill and exhilaration of playing the game you love in front of thousands can be difficult to replace in life, and some fall down the path of drugs, alcohol and gambling in an attempt to feel the same level of excitement; which is of course a dangerous cocktail which often leads to struggles with conditions such as depression.
With such a high number of athletes having problems with depression, there was no shortage of athletes to mention. High-profile athletes, most of whom were at or near the very top of their profession. Thankfully, a number of these athletes got over their depression, while others still labor with the condition and some, sadly, took their own life.
Olympics athletes will leave the venue, “some carrying medals, others lugging the weight of falling short of expectations. Despite their varying degrees of success, many will have the same surprise waiting for them back home: a feeling that life suddenly seems ordinary”.
“This emotional drop, in its most acute form, might be called post-Olympic depression—or, to borrow a phrase from the sports psychologist Scott Goldman, the director of the Performance Psychology Center at the University of Michigan, an under-recovery”.
“Think about the rollercoaster ride prior to the Olympics, and just how fast and hectic that mad dash is,” Goldman says. “This ninety-mile-per-hour or hundred-mile-per-hour ride comes to a screeching halt the second the Olympics are over. … [The athletes] are just exhausted; it was such an onslaught to their system. And when it’s all said and done, they’re just physiologically depleted, as well as psychologically.”
“We’re taught we can push through anything … and we’re always told to not ask for help.”
This is the old “tough guy” mentality. When you are a coach or a friend of an athlete that you see is struggling encourage them to reach out for help, or talk to a specialized professional who can make sure they get help before its too late.
You can always read these articles when looking for help for mental illness