Simone Biles: 'I was very depressed. I never left my room'

Simone Biles speaks with Megyn Kelly on NBC's "TODAY" Jan. 31, 2018. (photo courtesy TODAY)
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Olympic gymnast Simone Biles is opening up about her struggles after being sexually abused by team doctor Larry Nassar.

"I was sleeping all the time," she told Priyanka Chopra on her new YouTube show, "If I Could Tell You Just One Thing." "I told one of my lawyers, 'I sleep all the time because it's the closest thing to death'."

That reaction is not uncommon among depression patients. What are often referred to as "depression naps" are when someone sleeps as a way of escaping the world. Multiple studies have found 65 - 90 percent of adult patients with major depression and about 90 percent of children with the disorder experience some kind of sleep problem, according to Harvard Medical School. Most patients with depression have insomnia, but about one in five suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.

Biles revealed that she first opened up to a friend about the abuse.

“I called her, and I asked her the definition of ‘sexually abused,’ because some of my other friends, they had had it worse than me,” she recalled.

The now-22-year-old gold medalist said she stayed quiet for so long because she didn't want the abuse to define her.

"I'm not willing to put that out there for the world to see," she said of her initial response. "They're not going to see me as Simone the gymnast, they're going to see Simone as a sexual abuse survivor so I denied it."

Biles says therapy has been a major help and "it needs to be more normalized" in our society.

Regarding USA Gymnastics, Biles said in an interview last week the organization - which serves as the national governing body for gymnastics - is moving "in a positive direction" in the wake of the Nassar scandal.

"I think it's going in a positive direction, so I think that's good. We hope they are making the right decisions so that we can kinda get out of that dark place," Biles said.

Nassar was sentenced up to 175 years for sexually abusing athletes. In February, three of Nassar's survivors took part in questioning USA Gymnastics' CFO, Scott Shollenbarger, as part of the organization's bankruptcy process. He testified at the time they estimate all of the lawsuit claims against USAG could total between $75 million and $150 million.