Episode 58 – Staying afloat with Libby Trickett
Olympic gold medallist tells Aussies to take care of mental health.
Listen to Libby's story below:
Australians know Libby Trickett as the golden girl of swimming who brought home three Olympic gold medals, two silver and one bronze.
But behind the megawatt smile which lit up the podium at three Olympic Games, was a woman who struggled to stay afloat and used her sporting achievements to disguise a hidden battle with depression.
Following her retirement from swimming and thrust into the new and unfamiliar world of motherhood, Libby was forced to tackle her mental demons head-on.
“After my first little girl, Poppy, I had postnatal depression and that was a really difficult time for me,” Libby said.
“I came from a background where I was so in control of every aspect of my life and knew what I was doing, when I was doing it and told exactly what to do every single day for the better part of my adult life.
“I assumed I would be OK as millions of women around the world have babies and they all seem fine.
“But people don’t often talk about how difficult the transition into parenthood is or postnatal depression and its many challenges.”
Libby said it was especially tricky going from being the best in the world at something to having a screaming baby.
“Everything is all about the pregnancy and the birth and then you go home and there is no manual,” she said.
“It was a challenging transition as I was good at what I used to do and then I was navigating a little being who had a mind of their own from the very beginning.
“But I found If you take life too seriously you can get really weighed down by it, so I took to sharing my journey on Instagram.
“Instagram became a creative outlet for me because you can be silly and not take yourself too seriously.
“Part of my healing was to try and poke fun at something that would otherwise be a terrible situation.”
Out of the pool, Libby became Queensland’s Mental Health Ambassador and urged all Australians to seek help when they needed it.
“We go to a doctor regularly to check on our physical health, why can’t we do that for our mental health and check in with someone,” she said.
“We need to break down those stigmas that you’re crazy, not coping or overwhelmed. I feel overwhelmed every day.
“More importantly than just talking to someone, it’s about finding those tools that work for you, so when you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can go and employ those tools.”