Imagine having everything you could ever want, but feeling alone and empty inside. For Amanda Beard that was a very familiar feeling. She is a seven-time Olympic medalist, in swimming, who has been in four Olympics. She is gorgeous and very successful. As a young adult she had a very prosperous career as a model as well as a swimmer.
However, she reveals the truth in her memoir In the Water They Can’t See You Cry. For much of her life she was depressed. She convinced herself she was ugly and not good enough to the point that she suffered from anorexia, bulimia, and clinical depression. To get through her dark moods, she even resorted to cutting herself.
Nevertheless, she kept this a secret for several years. Her family did not know, nor the boyfriends who were so self-centered they never thought of her feelings and needs. It was only when she met a man who really cared and who talked her into getting therapy that she found a balanced life. With great honesty and bravery, Amanda Beard tells her story of incredible highs and lows.
Whether you recall Beard as a 14-year old phenomenon at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, or as the swimmer who took gold in 2004, or whether you do not remember her as a swimmer at all, you will find her amazing story riveting, and you will finish it with respect for her resilience and for having the courage to finally tell all of her secrets to the world.
Truthfully, I was disappointed with the way Amanda handled her problems. In my head I was frantically searching for a way to help. I was mad at her family for not noticing what she was going through. When she ached, I ached.
Maybe In the Water They Can’t See You Cry will help others who think they are the only ones who think the way they do, who realized that they have been blessed in many ways and yet scared and unhappy inside. Maybe it will make some of the rest of us more aware of the feelings around us. Either way, this book is eye opening, fascinating, and ultimately, uplifting as Amanda Beard finds her way to loving herself and thus being able to love others and enjoy her life.