Until Gold’s life began to unravel, she couldn’t comprehend mental illness. “I’d hear someone say, ‘I’m so depressed,’ and I’d think, ‘Tough it out,’” she said.
That attitude is typical of elite athletes, said Caroline Silby, a sports psychologist who was a national-caliber skater. She has not treated Gold, but has worked with prodigies like her.
“Some of it is predestined,” Silby said. “The DNA is such that these individuals would be faced with these issues regardless of their Olympic prowess. Some of it is developed through habits and practices that feed the athletic quest for excellence but drive these individuals further away from being healthy, productive non-athletes.”