Olympic Gold Medalists Michael Phelps And Allison Schmitt Get Real About Going To Therapy
Olympic athletes Allison Schmitt and Michael Phelps know what it takes to win in the pool: train hard, push yourself and listen to your coach. But both swimmers say they also had another source of support that made all the difference, a psychologist. “Every time that I came out of that office, I felt so much better,” Phelps told HuffPost. “I was so much more relieved just talking, it didn’t matter what I was talking about. I was getting it out and I was communicating.” Phelps and Schmitt were presented with special recognition awards at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s annual event to recognize National Children’s Mental Health Awareness in Washington, D.C. The pair has partnered with SAMSHA to encourage kids to view mental and behavioral health as a core component of their overall wellness.
Schmitt says not asking for help when you are struggling with a mental health condition is akin to getting swallowed “in the rip tide.” “Get that lifeguard out there,” she said. “It will make it a lot easier even during those rough water times.” The swimmers have a long history of friendship and support. Schmitt entered treatment in early 2015 to help manage depression and she credits Phelps with encouraging her to ask for help.
“Michael said to me, ‘I can tell there is something wrong,’. ‘I don’t know what it is. I’m here for you. I can help you or I can find someone else to help you.’ “That was the turning point for me,” Schmitt said, adding that she sought help soon after that conversation. Phelps has long been open about working on his personal life outside of the pool. As a child, he was diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and more recently, the Olympic champion entered treatment for substance abuse in 2014 after a drunk driving arrest. “We’re taught to persevere,” Schmitt said. “It works in the pool: If you don’t get a time you want, swim faster. But life is a lot bigger than that.” Schmitt says that when you’re hurting from any sort of life stressor or a mental health condition, it’s essential to ask for help. Research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that among children ages 2 to 8, one in seven experiences a psychological disorder, which is classified as a mental, behavioral or development problem. Approximately one in five adults, or 43.8 million American adults, experiences a mental illness in a given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “A lot of these people suffer silently,” Schmitt said. “But it’s okay to not be okay.” Words to live by, wouldn’t you say?
Do Phelps And Schmitt Help Make “It Real” For Others To Reach Out For Help?
Susan Z’s Conclusion:
Yes, in general. I feel there is still that “larger than life” persona famous people give off when supporting a cause to someone who is dealing with the same issue but they are definitely helping.
Eight of Swords:
This card is fear keeping you bound up from making choices. This card is very appropriate and what both Phelps and Schmitt are trying to accomplish, letting go of the fear and to seek help.
Ten of Wands: Inverted (Upside Down)
This card is carrying an unwanted burden. Being inverted is shows once again both of them being able to get the message across “if I can do it, so can you”.
Princess of Pentacles:
This card is young energy with a new creative approach. I feel this is exactly what both of them are presenting in dealing with this huge problem that no one wants to talk about because of the stigma attached to it.
Susan Z Rich is an emotional addiction counselor, spiritual intuitive and holistic therapist. She counsels others to see life in a more positive way and teaches personal accountability for life choices. She is also the author of several children’s books and Soul Windows…Secrets From The Divine. (life cycles) Learn more at her website: www.szrwhitewings.com