The three-time track and field Olympian (and former Las Vegas call girl) told Good Morning America Monday that yoga and running are her new “vices.”
Hamilton, 47, said that living a secret double life provided her a manic high and that the feeling was addictive. But now that she’s healthier she’s found healthier habits
“My vices to keep me sane and keep me happy are yoga, working out,” Hamilton told the morning news show. “I need an intense workout, running hard, racing people on the streets when I’m in California. So something that really helps to bring out that high I think is crucial for somebody with bipolar.”
Hamilton, who said she struggled with feelings of anxiety and worthlessness her whole career, was shocked to learn she had the disorder, even though her brother was also bipolar and committed suicide in 1999. “I didn’t see the signs of it,” she told GMA.
She said that in retrospect, her husband Mark, an unfailing support to her, was able to put the clues together. “In looking back now, obviously he can put everything together and it makes sense.” Mark has stayed by Hamilton’s side and kept a close watch on their daughter, Kylie, now 10. “I see him as a hero. He doesn’t see himself as a hero but I totally see him as a hero,” Hamilton said.
Initially misdiagnosed with depression, Hamilton was prescribed an anti-depressant, but it only exasperated her condition, she said.
“I want people to understand mental illness. We can’t see it as a broken arm, but everybody has their issues in their life,” she said. “Mental illness can destroy lives, it can destroy relationships.”
In 2011, for her 20th anniversary with Mark, Hamilton suggested a trip to Las Vegas and a night with an escort. At the time she had not yet been properly diagnosed with the mental illness. “After that, my bipolar [disorder] really started to develop, which I didn’t know that I had, and it brought on this hyper-sexuality.” Six months later, she became an escort.
Now that Hamilton is more “level,” as she put it, she makes a conscious effort to work out very intensely to ward off her demons.
“When you are bipolar, you miss those highs,” she told GMA.
Hamilton details her thrill-seeking behavior, her battle with mental illness, and her suicidal thoughts in her new memoir, Fast Girl.