Olympic star Kelly Holmes has revealed how she put herself through two months of self-harm with scissors just a year before her double gold win in Athens.
Holmes, 35, said she began cutting her wrists and chest after a series of injuries threatened to ruin her career.
"I even thought briefly, just for a moment, about pressing the scissors harder in my wrists," she told the News of the World.
"I thought I was cursed. It's the lowest I've ever, ever been."
The British track ace, who was made a Dame in the Queen's New Year's Honours list, started self-harming 14 months before her historic victory in the 800m and 1,500m last August.
She was training with world 800m champion Maria Mutola in the French Pyrenees but was in constant agony from a damaged calf and tissue strain, leaving her unable to run properly.
"I'd locked myself in the bathroom and turned on the taps so nobody could hear me crying," she was quoted as saying by the British Sunday newspaper.
"That's when I saw a pair of scissors. I picked them up, opened them and started to cut my left arm.
"I made one cut for every day I'd been injured. With each one I felt I was punishing myself but at the same time I felt a sense of release that drove me to do it again and again.
"I knew deep inside that I wouldn't go any further. The whole episode was nothing more than a cry of despair."
Recently named Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, Holmes told the paper how she eventually went to see a doctor to get professional help for the problem.
But after success at the Olympics she feels the grim episode is firmly behind her.
"Now I don't think I'll ever get to that stage again because I've achieved what I've always wanted. I strove to be the best and not give up on it."