Two-time Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes has revealed she struggled to cope with a string of potentially career-ending injuries.
The Kent-based British athlete won gold in the 800m and 1,500m at Athens 2004, just a year after she was “cutting” herself regularly “to release the anguish” of being sidelined.
Speaking at a Health and Wellbeing Live show in Tunbridge Wells on Saturday, she shared an image taken immediately after suffering an injury during the 1997 world championships.
It was one of seven, the 47-year-old confessed, which led her to self-harm.
Dame Kelly said: “At my lowest, I was cutting myself with scissors every day that I was injured.”
Speaking to BBC South East, she said after “ups and downs for so many years” she got to the point where she looked in the mirror and “didn’t want to be here”.
She added: “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.
“But my biggest message to people is that you can get out of that and you can still achieve.
“There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Becky Randall, co-founder of Health & Wellbeing Live, said: “[Kelly] struggled but she kept going.
“So many of us are inhibited by a black cloud that sometimes descends, by feeling not good enough.
“I want people to be able to understand that they are not alone and that talking about it is what really helps. It’s got to be out there.”