What Ian Thorpe has taught us about Depression

Over recent days we have seen a lot of news in relation to Ian Thorpe and his entry into rehab due to a number of factors but particularly depression. As a high profile figure and one held in very high regard by a large swathe of Australia this has generated a lot of publicity. Some of it has been factual, some positive and some full of tabloid speculation about his private life but no matter the tone we have certainly learnt something about depression.


  • Depression can happen to anyone – being famous, being high profile, being a former Olympic Champion, being someone who gets invited to cool parties is no protection
  • Depression is very common – according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics we will see 1 in 7 Australians will suffer from depression
  • Depression can be debilitating – like any illness it will leave you feeling weak, tired and unable to get the energy up to do “normal” things. In fact according to the 2010 Department of Health report it is the number one cause of non-fatal disability in Australia
  • Depression is treatable – like any illness if you seek help you can get treatment whether it is counseling, learning coping strategies or even medication if necessary

So how do you know you have depression?

Well there are many different symptoms and not all people will show all the same things however here is a list from Depression.com.au

  1. Lowered mood – feeling sad or unhappy most of the day, and nearly every day.
  2. Generalised negativity and pessimism – so that everything seems black or pointless.
  3. Loss of interest or pleasure in your normal activities.
  4. Tiredness, chronic fatigue (often not relieved by sleep).
  5. Avoiding social contact.
  6. Less talkative than usual.
  7. Reduced concentration, memory or ability to think clearly.
  8. Reduced productivity or ability to cope.
  9. Tearfulness or crying.
  10. Impaired sleep, appetite or sex drive.
  11. Reduced self- confidence, feelings of worthlessness.
  12. Anxiety and irritability.
  13. Thoughts of life being pointless, especially when losing hope of recovering.

Just because you exhibit some of these feelings or behaviours doesn’t mean you are depressed, when I read this I realise there have been many times where I felt one or more of these, however if it happens on a repeated basis then maybe you should seek some advice. There are now a wide number of resources and help networks you can access. These include people like:

Beyond Blue, LifeLine, Headspace, The White Cloud Foundation

These are just a few and you can always simply go to your GP if you want to talk to a familiar face. We all have days where things just seem so hard and if this is an ongoing situaton then talk to someone. If it turns out it is nothing then so be it but you might as well be safe rather than sorry.

Don’t be too proud. Remember if it can happen to an Olympic Champion it can happen to you.


Categories: What a world

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. Ian,
    I have suffered from depression since 1993…or I should say that is when I was diagnosed. I have suffered much longer. The one thing that has helped the most when I am in a (what I call) a GREAT FUNK is that I can get through it. Also remember, or picture it this way:

    You are sitting in the center of a triangle. At one vortex is your psychiatrist monitoring your medication; at another vortex is your psychotherapist helping you verbalize and work out the tough parts of your life; and at the last vortex is your support group–your parents and family, friends, and people like me who have been through it and still going through it and will fight it for the rest of my life. REACH out to all your vortices now and for the rest of your life. Do NOT THINK you you can or have to go through this by yourself: you don’t. If you need me, email me at monica2.brown@yahoo.com….I’m here.
    Monica Brown

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