Lindsey Vonn is only 28 and has accomplished feats many would envy: she is the most decorated skier in the history of the United States and has plenty of exposure and popularity. However, Vonn revealed this week that she has struggled with depression since approximately 2002.
"Everything about my life seemed so perfect to people, but I struggle like everyone else," Vonn told People magazine.
Her symptoms first came to light after she debuted at the 2002 Olympics. It was a stressful time for Vonn, given that her parents were having problems with their marriage. Mental illness runs in her family, she explained, which is also a factor in her having depression.
In 2008, she felt "hopeless, empty, like a zombie. I couldn't get out of bed anymore," Vonn explained. But she got help and has been on an anti-depressant for several years to help her cope with the emotional highs and lows. One of those lows involved divorcing her husband Thomas Vonn, who was also her coach and manager.
The couple met in 2005 and began working together professionally before dating and then marrying. When Vonn released a statement about the divorce, she said it was "an extremely difficult time in my personal life, and I hope the media and my fans can respect my need for privacy on this matter."
Her ex-husband Thomas told the New York Times, "I honestly can't discuss anything. It's just a sad, sad situation. Out of respect for each other, we're not going to discuss it publicly."
Now Vonn says she is happier than she's been in quite some time: "I feel like I just needed to get everything off my chest. All the parts of my life are finally in sync. I accept who I am, and I'm moving forward."
Mood disorders, which include major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder currently affect nearly 20.9 million American adults, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.