Pendleton has ‘turned corner’ after being ‘minutes away’ from taking own life

Victoria Pendleton

Pendleton won gold at London 2012

Olympic track cycling champion Victoria Pendleton has “turned a corner” after admitting she “was minutes away” from taking her own life last summer.

The Briton has had mental health issues and was diagnosed with depression after a failed bid to climb Mount Everest.

Pendleton, 38, said once, when she “did not want to see tomorrow,” she phoned sports psychiatrist Steve Peters, who she worked with at British Cycling.

She said: “I’m grateful he picked up. I don’t think I’d be here if he hadn’t.”

The nine-time world champion, who won gold medals at both the 2008 Beijing and London 2012 Olympics, pursued a career as a jockey after retiring from cycling.

Last April, she took part in a charity climb up Everest, accompanied by TV presenter Ben Fogle, for a three-part documentary for CNN.

However, the attempt was ended when Pendleton showed signs of hypoxia – a lack of oxygen – at the expedition’s second camp and doctors put her on medication, explaining that oxygen deprivation can trigger depression.

At the time, Pendleton said: “They’ve assured me that it’s quite a normal thing and in time it will pass.”

In an interview with the Telegraph, published on Wednesday, she said: “Everything I took made me feel less like myself. There were mornings I woke up and I thought ‘I don’t want to see the end of the day’.”

She credits a surfing trip to Costa Rica as the turning point in her recovery and has since become a patron of The Wave Project , a charity which uses the sport as therapy to help young people.

“Since November I have felt much better,” added Pendleton.

“I’ve turned a corner. That doesn’t mean I won’t be more cautious in the future, if I start to feel similar symptoms. But I feel I’d be better prepared at least. I guess that’s why I’m speaking out now. In case my personal experience can trigger something of use and value for someone else.”

If you’ve been affected by issues in this story, help and support is available via the BBC Action Line.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/46970230

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