With strength and grace, these sporting legends are using their own personal experiences to create awareness and break down the stigma that surrounds mental illness.
#1 Chamique Holdsclaw
This former basketball superstar and Olympic gold medalist was initially diagnosed with major depression in 2004, but was re-diagnosed with bipolar disorder when her antidepressants triggered her mania and sent her into over-the-top spending sprees. Her message to others living with bipolar: “I want them to understand it can get better. I went through a period when I had no hope, when I didn’t want to be here,” she revealed to bp Magazine. “I hope they see my journey and get inspired to keep moving forward every day … and utilize the resources around them.” Read more about Chamique Holdsclaw
#2 Amanda Beard
The former Olympic swimmer has battled bulimia, unhealthy relationships, drug abuse, clinical depression, and self-harm. “Some days, it was hard to just get out of bed,” Beard told Esperanza Magazine-HopeToCope.com. “There were all these great things going on in my life, but on the inside, I hated everything about me.” Her life turned around when she found therapy and antidepressants.
#3 Keith O’Neil
The former NFL linebacker has a long history battling heavy drinking, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and major manic episodes until finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder. “I was mentally in a cold, dark, sad place and no one could help me,” O’Neil told bp Magazine. “Finding the right medications, along with my faith, has made all the difference in the world.” He’s now tackling stigma and helping to raise awareness to mental health. Read more about Keith O’Neil
#4 Dorothy Hamill
This Olympic figure skating legend was diagnosed with depression in 1993 and has a strong familial history of anxiety and depression. She advises that having a core support group, medication, and therapy helped her find happiness. She is now a motivational speaker for mental health sufferers. “I think it’s important for people to know that just because it looks like everything’s fabulous on the outside, it isn’t always.” Read more about Dorothy Hamill
#5 Suzy Favor Hamilton
The former Olympic runner harbored intense hypersexuality linked with her bipolar I disorder and suffered from intense peripartum depression. “In my case, my bipolar was driving me toward sex. It could have just as easily have been driving me toward drugs and alcohol or gambling,” she told bp Magazine. “The message, though, is that it can be treated if diagnosed correctly, with the help of medical people and family and friends. There is hope, and I’m living proof.’’ Read more about Suzy Favor Hamilton
#6 Clint Malarchuk
The former NHL goaltender is perhaps best known for having his neck slashed with another player’s skate blade during a game in 1989, almost killing him. Following this he was plagued by PTSD, alcoholism, OCD and a suicide attempt, until finally pulling himself out of depression with medication, talk therapy and meditation. “I realize now that playing hockey gave me the platform for my real purpose—to raise awareness of mental illness, and to help reduce the stigma surrounding depression and anxiety so that no one has to feel alone.” Read more about Clint Malarchuk
#7 Terry Bradshaw
While celebrated as an NFL star quarterback, Bradshaw is also a broadcaster, writer, musician and actor. He was diagnosed with clinical depression in 1999 after experiencing anxiety attacks, anger problems, drinking issues and sleeplessness. He now maintains his mental health with medication, therapy and faith. “You know what, I’m not ashamed of who I am,” he told Esperanza Magazine-HopeToCope.com. “It’s the way I was made. I just got some issues here, and I dealt with them. And I’m proud of it.”