Everest has left me fighting depression

Victoria Pendleton is suffering from depression as a result of the oxygen deprivation she experience during her Everest climb.

The former Olympic gold medallist was forced to abandon her attempt to reach the summit last month due to hypoxia.

Kenton Cool and Victoria Pendleton

Victoria Pendleton with Ben Fogle Credit: Fisher Creative

Now recovering in the UK, Pendleton told the Radio Times: “I’ve been suffering with depression since I got back from Everest. I feel psychologically and physiologically damaged.

“It’s really put me through the wringer, and that has been harder than any disappointment about not making it up to the summit. It’s like I’ve taken a real battering. I’ve never felt so overwhelmed with illness.”

Pendleton has spoken in the past about her mental health, writing in her autobiography that she self-harmed during her track cycling career.

Doctors told her that oxygen deprivation can trigger depression, and Pendleton is also struggling with the physical after-effects of the climb.

“I came back with chest and ear infections that took three weeks of antibiotics to get over, and that on its own is enough to send you into despair.

“I had it in my sinuses. I couldn’t hear anything. I had other things going on too because nothing heals, a cut or a blister, at that height.”

Pendleton undertook the expedition with Ben Fogle, who went on to complete the climb.

Their adventure will be shown in a CNN film, The Challenge: Everest which begins on Saturday.

Source: The Telegraph