SAS Australia star Matthew Mitcham has opened up about his past trauma, with the former Olympian saying he started using drugs like crystal meth shortly after winning his gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games.
On this week's episodes of SAS Australia, the diver opened up to Chief Inspector Ant Middleton about his past struggles, from growing up in a difficult childhood home to his battles with his mental health, and his subsequent drug addiction.
CW: This article deals with topics of self-harm and suicide.
“In 2008, I won an Olympic gold medal with the highest-scoring dive in Olympic history. But after that I began a bit of a downward spiral,” he told Ant.
“I was using a lot of drugs, particularly crystal meth. But even though I’m an addict in recovery, I am still ruled by self-doubt and fear.”
The star talked about quitting drugs 'cold turkey' but said he never really addressed the underlying causes.
Matthew then opened up about his low self-esteem growing up, his struggles with realising he was gay from a young age, and how he eventually turned to self-harm to deal with his 'hate' of himself.
“When I got overwhelmed with feelings, that I couldn’t keep on the inside, I used to cut myself out of anger," he shared.
“I tried to take with my own life once,” he continued. "I just wrapped it up in the same thing. It’s just that whole self-esteem stuff, you know and it got too much and luckily it didn’t work.”
Matthew also said he tried to 'train' himself out of his sexuality.
"I put a rubber band around my wrist and every time I had a gay thought I would snap the rubber band against my wrist to try and associate pain with it to try and train myself out of being gay," he said.
Ant offered Matthew words of encouragement after he shared his story.
“That’s some f***ng hardcore stuff, that. No wonder you have been in your f***ing own head for all those years,” he said.
"But you need to focus 100 per cent. Don’t over f***ing think, don’t over f***ing analyse, walk and go with it. Be you.”
Mental health support for yourself or a loved one can be found by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, Mensline on 1300 789 978, or the Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800. Online support is available via Beyond Blue.
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