The book: “In The Water, They Can’t See You Cry: A Memoir”
The author: Amanda Beard with Rebecca Paley
The publishing info: Touchstone, $24.99, 248 pages
The background: The seven-time Olympic medal-winning swimmer lives with husband Sacha and son Blaise in Tucson. At one point, she was the most downloaded athlete on the Internet. But she says she felt unworthy.
Depressed, she became more self-destructive, cutting herself, using drugs and becoming bulimic.
Pages 133-134: “I liked to cut across my arm in the meaty section between my elbow and wrist. Sometimes I did one little slice, sometimes three or four in a row. It varied. There was never any thinking, just instinct. After I’d finished, I took it all in, allowing myself to breathe and enjoy the clear-headedness that dried up the darkness sloshing around and threatening to drown me from the inside. I always left the bathroom feeling better than when I entered it …
“I fell into my own dark world where I cut myself every day for three straight days. I was so enraged, it came to a point where I couldn’t be near (her boyfriend, Ryk) without wanting to take a blade to my arm. I felt emotionally and physically sick … I got my cutting spiral under control not only because I didn’t want to hurt myself; I also didn’t want anyone finding out my secret. …
“Being in a swimsuit all the time made hiding my habit harder. When I still used tweezers, people were naturally curious about the scratch when I arrived at swim practice. There was no way I could ever tell the truth. What happened to your arm? Oh, I scratched it because it feels good to me. I knew that was crazy talk and didn’t want to get close to having a conversation like that. So instead, I blamed the cuts on my rough and tumble lifestyle. I was mountain biking and a twig scratched me. Or a dog did it. I was playing rugby with Ryk. People didn’t think twice about it. I had fooled everyone again. Just like my purging. I kept my cutting a controlled secret.”