Olympic badminton silver medallist Gail Emms has admitted she is "feeling lost" and increasingly struggling to cope since retiring from her sport in 2008.
In a candid post on the women's sports website The Mixed Zone, Emms revealed that she has been rejected for a series of jobs and forced to sell personal items on eBay in order to make ends meet.
The Olympic medallist wrote: "I am feeling lost and with no direction, no purpose, no career, no identity and who the hell do I go to?"
Emms won Olympic silver at Athens in 2004 with mixed doubles partner Nathan Robertson, and the pair also claimed the world title in Madrid in 2006. But having turned 40 last month, she decided to publish personal details of her plight and called for more to be done to assist former athletes facing mental health issues in retirement.
"I have a big pile of them now. Letters from my bank to say I have missed yet another payment... and every time I open them, it is another reminder that I feel like I'm failing," Emms continued. "That I, Gail Emms, Olympic silver medallist, am a failure.
"As anyone else in my financial situation will testify, it hurts. I cry a lot and do what I can to make the payment, sell stuff on eBay and hope there is enough work next month."
Emms said she has been rejected for a series of positions, including many in the sports industry, and questioned whether there is enough after-care in place for athletes in retirement.
"A sportsperson relies on ego and feeling great. A sportsperson is ambitious, determined and wants to show off what they can do. Rejection, failure and losing just doesn't compute.
"There has been a lot of talk about supporting athletes post-retirement for mental health and, right now, I need that support.
"I feel ashamed and it's a massive dent in my pride to admit that an Olympic medallist is struggling. It's not just the financial situation, it's the mental battle I am facing at the moment.
"I am usually an optimistic person, but I do wonder if the powers-that-be at UK Sport realise that the athletes they rely on for the country's feel-good factor can sink into this situation."