Most of us last saw motivational sports speaker Molly Seidel crossing an Olympic finish line while pumping her fist in celebration after winning the bronze medal in the Tokyo 2021 marathon. Seidel's accomplishment was historic as she was the first American woman to win an Olympic marathon medal since Deena Kastor in 2004.
Seidel has been busy since, signing a sponsorship with Puma, setting a new American record, and running her first Boston Marathon, where she was forced to withdraw due to hip pain. She has also been an in-demand motivational sports speaker, in part due to how candid she has been about her mental health.
She has regularly shared via social media her battles with an eating disorder, OCD, anxiety, and depression. Recently, Seidel announced that she would not be competing in the New York Mini 10K for several reasons – mostly her mental health and the medications she takes to manage it.
Seidel previously was very “anti-medication” due to adverse reactions to numerous SSRIs, a popular type of antidepressant. Additionally, she said that taking new medications would frequently "lead me to a really dark place,"
As a result, she made the decision to go without medicine for a considerable period and manage her mental health only through counseling, "which helps, but honestly can be extremely difficult."
Following the 2021 Olympics the previous year, Seidel claims she struggled greatly, changed therapists, and was ultimately identified as having mixed-type ADHD. This type of ADHD is a condition in which a person may exhibit signs of both inattention and hyperactivity as well as impulsivity. One who exhibits both symptoms is deemed to have mixed-type or combined-type ADHD (these are the two common kinds of ADHD). After being diagnosed, Seidel was given Adderall as a prescription, which he started taking after the Boston Marathon this spring.
"It would probably be appropriate to describe it as life-changing," Seidel writes. "For the first time, I felt like I was able to get the quiet, functioning brain in my day-to-day life that I could previously only achieve with intense physical activity."
Seidel continued by stating that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has not approved Adderall for use during competition, so she asked for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE). This permits an athlete with a medical condition to use a prohibited medication. She claims that although the application process is drawn out, she was able to get the required approvals and signatures from her therapist and psychiatrist.
Seidel wrote on Instagram: “since I can't stop my medication without some serious mental health ramifications, I will not compete with Adderall in my system until I have full approval from both USADA [US Anti-Doping Agency] and WADA."
Seidel was "gutted" by the choice, but she claims to be "committed to a clean sport and respecting my own mental health needs." As Seidel explains, "mental health takes work, and I want to be transparent about the fact that medication is sometimes a very necessary part of that work."
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