Dame Kelly Holmes opens up about self-harm and depression battle
Dame Kelly Holmes opened up about her mental health battle during an appearance on Loose Women earlier today, with the retired athlete speaking candidly about her experience with depression and self-harm.
The 47-year-old star confessed that she found herself in a dark place when she was preparing for the Athens Olympics in 2003, with the constant injuries that she suffered in training making her hate her own body.
Kelly said that at the time self-harm was a “release” for the pain that she was feeling internally after her injuries, including a ruptured calf and torn achilles, prevented her from training to be an Olympic champion.
Speaking on the show, Kelly explained: “For me, 2003, it was a year before the Olympics in Athens, I’d already been to another Olympics where I’d got bronze, and [I had] only had six weeks training because I’d got a 12 centimetre tear in my calf and I’d had glandular fever, tonsillitis, ruptured calf, torn achilles, all through these years.
“But I still believed I could be Olympic champion. So this one year, 2003, I’d already won a silver medal in the world indoor championships, I was going to the world outdoor championships, and I got another niggle.
“I was in France, and just something came over me, like I suddenly hated myself. I couldn’t believe I’d had this other injury.
“No-one knew about this until I retired. It was just the pressure in my head of hating that I was injured again, I was on this rollercoaster. [I hated] my body.
“So I stared self-harming every day. I took it out on my body every day. It was a release, for the mental pain,
“I think people will take it out on alcohol, drugs, sex, whatever it is, and, unfortunately, suicide. And for me, self harming was… it’s a horrible word but it was almost a release.
“The pain I was getting, but the pain was the mental pain, you know, the stress.”
Kelly also confessed that she was too scared to get help for her depression because she didn’t want to admit to having a “weakness”.
She explained: “When I got into my state it hit me like a brick. I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want them to think differently of me.
“The main thing now, is to stop the stigma.
“I started talking about this first in 2005, and no one paid attention. Now people are listening, eyes are open, we need to make sure people are helped through these situations to avoid this happening.”
If you have been affected by this article please call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit their website for further guidance.