#SameHere Celeb Alliance Profile – Oluwale Bamgbose

Oluwale Bamgbose

7-Time Olympic Medalist in US Swimming (two gold, four silver, one bronze), Author of “In the Water They Can’t See You Cry,” Co-Founder Beard Swim Co.

What past life experiences, physical traumas or genetics do you believe have had an effect on your mental health?
I was always a guy who kept things to myself. I believe my dad was very similar. Whilst playing Professional Cricket I had major knee surgery that threatened my career. I believe this was the tipping point.

How did the effects on your mental health appear in terms of symptoms?
Hard to describe, but it’s a feeling of having no joy in anything you do. You also feel that when little things don’t go your way, the world is against you.

When and why did you decide to ask for help to get relief?
I knew I was in a bad state. My marriage was in meltdown & my career was at the crossroads. If I didn’t seek help I didn’t know how I would climb out of the hole I was in.

What methods helped you individually get/feel better?
Learning to communicate better was a big thing. Also learning to recognize there are 3 major areas of your life: Family, Work & Home Life…if you have a bad day in one of these areas it doesn’t mean all the areas are bad!!

Why did you decide to go public with your story? Who were/are you hoping to help and how?
Men in Australia would rather admit to having a sexually transmitted disease than admit to a mental issue.  We are brought up to be tough & “it’ll be right mate” …I felt that my profile gave me a chance to have a voice, I’m glad I am speaking up – for people in Australia and now the world.

How did people react when you went public with your story?
They couldn’t believe it. How could a guy who seemed to have the perfect world, professional sportsman, radio & TV personality – how could he possibly have an issue….No one is immune to mental health issues, that’s for sure.

Links and/or descriptions to any of your own personal resources you would like to share with the Global Mental Health Community:
Beyond Blue in Oz has lots of great stuff.  My other tip would be that if you go see someone & you don’t get a good feel, try someone else.  It took me a couple of professionals before I found the right fit. It’s worth putting in the time at the beginning, not to go on a long chase after you’ve spent time with the wrong person.

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