Former heavyweight boxing champion Frank Bruno was the victim of a knife attack as he endured the "living hell" of a psychiatric ward.
Bruno, who became one of Britain's best loved TV personalities, was sectioned twice as he battled mental illness.
He tells The Mirror newspaper he was saved by prayer and a punishing exercise regime of 4,000 press-ups a day.
Bruno said: "I have been sectioned twice this year and it is the most degrading thing. I don't want that to ever happen again.
"I don't want to end up dying and being known as 'that bloke who kept getting sectioned.'
Bruno said he was dancing to music on iPod at his mansion near Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire in April when six police officers arrived to take him away after concerned relatives became worried about his behaviour.
He explained: "I was in a state of shock. I couldn't believe I was going to be taken away again. I remember the doctor asking all these weird questions about how I felt and when I answered a couple of the officers laughed."
Bruno was taken to a specialist mental health unit at Basildon Hospital but did not understand why he was there: "There was a tiny window in the room but you couldn't open it. I wasn't even allowed to go to the toilet without being supervised. It was degrading.
"I was just pumped full of drugs and it didn't make me better... it made me worse. My children held my hand as I lay there in the bed."
He had only been on the ward a day when another patient staged the knife attack: "I was sitting in the dining area when I saw a guy out the corner of my eye. He'd grabbed a knife out the kitchen and was coming at me when security staff bundled him over.
I froze in shock at what was happening. A lot of the people in these hospitals are very sick and need help."
He was allowed home later than month but admitted to St Andrew's Hospital in Northampton amid worries about his strange behaviour in Scotland with new girlfriend Nina Coletta.
Bruno added: "I was in there five weeks but it felt like five years. It is harder than being in the ring. At least in boxing it is 12 rounds and then you come out. In hospital I could never see when it was going to end... Being put back in hospital was like living in hell. Now I am out and I am determined not to go back."
Bruno won 40 out of 45 professional fights and is still one of Britain's most loved sports stars.