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Olympic Gold Medalist Reveals She Used to Self-Harm by Cutting to ‘Release the Anguish’

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Kelly Holmes
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty

Olympic gold medalist Kelly Holmes is speaking out about the mental health issues that led her to cut herself daily, in the hopes that it could help others.

Holmes won gold for Great Britain in the 800m and 1,500m sprint during the 2004 Athens games, but just a year earlier, she was harming herself regularly.

The runner was dealing with multiple injuries that she thought would be the end of her career, and started cutting “to release the anguish,” Holmes explained at the Health and Wellbeing Live show, a mental health conference in the U.K., on Sunday, according to the BBC.

“At my lowest, I was cutting myself with scissors every day that I was injured,” she said.

Kelly Holmes at the 2004 Olympic Games
Andy Lyons/Getty

Holmes’ had “ups and downs for so many years,” but by 2003, her depression was to the point where she looked in the mirror and “didn’t want to be here anymore,” she told the BBC.

“The scissors were in the bathroom and I used them to release the anguish that I had. It was really a bad place to be.”

Looking back, Holmes said she hid her depression from the public out of fear of criticism, but she now knows it’s an issue that needs to be “shouted about more.”

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She wants people struggling from depression to know that there is hope.

“My biggest message to people is that you can get out of that and you can still achieve,” Holmes said. “There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.”