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“I had this overwhelming feeling of hopelessness”: Libby Trickett

One of Australian Swimming’s Golden Girls, Olympian Libby Trickett has a new book out called Beneath the Surface.

It’s a brave and inspiring memoir of not only her success, but also her battle with mental illness.

Despite winning an incredible 7 Olympic medals – four of them Gold – she told David Morrow and Mat Thompson on Macquarie Sports Radio that her success was mixed heavily with depression.

“On reflection I can see moments during my swimming career where [depression] started to pop its head up,” Trickett said.

“Certainly in 2007 I feel like I had about three months of quite a depressive period. Which is so bizarre, because it was off the back of my most successful World Championships in Melbourne in 2007… it was off the back of my wedding day.

“But I had this overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and no direction.

“It heavily impacted my swimming and preparation.

“It was around twelve months before Beijing [Olympics]. At a time that I should have been absolutely riding high, I plummeted into my lowest of lows at that stage.”

However it hasn’t been smooth sailing for the Townsville born champion after retirement either.

“The most recent and the hardest experience of mental illness was my post-natal depression after the birth of my first daughter,” Trickett revealed.

The 34-year old says she was inspired to write her book to join the conversation about mental health in the hope that by normalising it, she might be able to help someone else who is struggling.

“I’m really passionate about breaking down the stigmas and stereotypes that we might imagine people with mental illness to have,” Trickett said.

“You can be very successful and on the surface look incredibly happy but mental illness can look different on different people.”

Listen to the full interview with Libby Trickett about her book Beneath the Surface, her battle with mental illness and her remarkable swimming career here:

Watch Libby Trickett talking about the rollercoaster start to her Olympic career: