After finishing fourth at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships and missing the 2018 Winter Olympics, Olympic figure skater Ashley Wagner shared her experience with depression on her Instagram story, NBC News reports. Wagner took to Instagram on World Mental Health Day on Wednesday, says NBC News, to open up about what she's been going through. According to NBC News, the 27-year-old Sochi Olympic team bronze medalist is taking her first break from competing after 11 years as a senior skater and will be sitting out the Grand Prix series.
“I could barely get out of bed. I could barely function,” Wagner said via her Instagram, per NBC News. “The day-to-day was such a struggle for me. At first, I was just really disappointed in myself for letting one event in my life derail everything that I thought I knew was true about myself and how I saw my place in the world and how I felt about my own sense of worth and value. I think, as an athlete, it’s really easy to tie in your sense of self-worth with how successful you are in competition.”
Wagner said in her Instagram story that it was because she opened up to family and friends about how she was feeling that she was able to get the help she needed. Though she says she’s not 100 percent better, Wagner says she now has the tools to help herself continue to recover.
Wagner is the latest in a line of Olympic athletes who have shared their experiences with mental health. According to USA Today, Olympic swimmers Michael Phelps and Allison Schmitt have both been vocal about their experiences with depression, teaming up to become public advocates in the hopes of removing the stigma of talking about mental health.
“Mental illness is something you deal with every day,” Schmitt told USA Today. “Just because you go to a psychologist, just because you’re feeling better one day, doesn’t mean it’s gone, doesn’t mean you’re healed. It’s something you have and you live with the rest of your life. Learning ways to cope with it, learning ways to live with it is what we do.”
Phelps has been candid about having suicidal thoughts, telling USA Today, “For me getting to an all-time low where I didn’t want to be alive anymore, that’s scary as hell. Thinking about taking your own life, I remember sitting in my room for four or five days not wanting to be alive, not talking to anybody. That was a struggle for me. … For me, I reached that point where I finally realized I couldn’t do it alone.”
And anyone experiencing depression should never have to do it alone. As Wagner shared via Instagram, there is absolutely nothing wrong with sharing those feelings if you’re experiencing depression.
“Long story short, never discredit how you’re feeling and the fact that something can be done about that and steps need to be taken for you to get better,” Wagner said, according to NBC News.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. You can also reach out to the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386, or to your local suicide crisis center.