National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Book review: In the Water They Can’t See You Cry by Amanda Beard
Touchstone (2012), $24.99
Review by Stephanie Corkett, NAMI Communications Intern
Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard’s memoir In the Water They Can’t See You Cry provides an engaging look into Amanda’s struggle with depression, cutting and eating disorders while swimming competitively.On the surface Amanda Beard had it all, an Olympic champion from the age of 14, Amanda was a sports icon and always in the spotlight. In her memoir, Amanda opens up on a wide range of topics in a candid and brutally honest way, revealing a side of her that many viewers and fans had never seen.
This honest account documents Amanda’s struggle with crippling depression and low self-esteem with a changing body. It portrays her descent into drug use while trying to save a romantic relationship.
The world viewed Amanda as a winner and a beautiful woman; however, she didn’t see herself that way, which lead to self-destruction. This memoir pulls no punches about overcoming and battling those demons head on and finding some middle ground.
Not until Amanda met her husband, photographer Sacha Brown, was she guided into seeking professional help to recognize and manage her depression and begin to truly enjoy her swimming and her relationships and succeed in both realms. After seeking help, Amanda began to realize her own self-worth and came back stronger than ever to compete in the Olympics a record four times in a row, which is unheard of in competitive swimming.
Now living with her husband and son in Arizona, Amanda no longer has destructive tendencies and has a positive self-image. Amanda’s memoir highlights the good and bad about living in the spotlight with the incredible pressure of being a national icon while hating her own body. It reminds readers that even those who seemingly have it all can struggle in life but it’s how they deal with those struggles in the end that really matter.