Campbell’s golden game came after seeking help for ‘paralyzing’ depression

Australian swimmer Cate Campbell imagined he would suffer a serious injury or illness so she would not force herself to torture trying to field the team for the Tokyo Olympics.

The sensational admissions came when Campbell on Friday night revealed she had been diagnosed with depression in July 2020, and in June this year, a medical course started a few days after she successfully qualified for her fourth Olympics.

Cate Campbell at the Tokyo Pool.

Cate Campbell at the Tokyo Pool.Credit:AP

Only a select group including her trainer Simon Cusack, Sister Bronte and the rest of her family knew of the diagnosis, which was made only after Campbell sought treatment from his doctor.

She revealed the heartbreaking details in a column for the website Mamamia, which she wrote during her time in quarantine after returning from what turned out to be an excellent encounter for the sprint freestyle veteran. She explained the dark thoughts she experienced in hopes that others would follow in her footsteps and seek treatment.

“But as I entered the Olympic trials, our only chance to qualify for the Olympic team, I was paralyzed by an overwhelming sense of impending doom,” Campbell wrote. “I fantasized about being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness so I could bend out of the Olympics and still save face. While driving, I had visions of crashing my car into a telegraph pole so I would be too injured to drive.

“To be so paralyzed by this fear and dread … it was a really scary place.”

Cate Campbell

“It was a deep, endless, unbearable grief. My eyes glowed and I stared at the world through a glossy, milky film, as if I had cataracts, not depression. ”

Campbell told Herald and Aging how it was a catalyst for her to seek professional help. The trials ended on a Thursday, she returned to Brisbane on Friday and was seen by her doctor before Tuesday.

“That was when I realized I needed help,” Campbell said Saturday. “I had done everything I could to be in the best mental shape for the experiment. Racing is something I enjoy and thrive on – that’s why I train. Being so paralyzed by this fear and apprehension and doing everything I could to help it and for it not to work, it was a really scary place.

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