- Clara Hughes wrote a memoir
- Open Mind, Open Heart links depression to eating disorders
- Body image and self-esteem are explored in Clara Hughes book
Clara Hughes has many achievements. She’s the only athlete to win multiple medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. As a passionate advocate for mental health, she is the national spokesperson for Bell Canada’s Let’s Talk Day. She donates time and funds to international organizations like Right to Play. And since 2013 Clara has initiated annual bike rides across Canada to help end the stigma around mental illness. But she hasn’t stopped there.
Clara Hughes turning point
Now she’s on tour with her memoir Open Mind, Open Heart; a book that describes her transition from wild child to decorated athlete. Her story explains how she drank and did drugs to escape a home ruled by an alcoholic father. Then she channeled that frustration into speed skating and cycling. After a decade of professional sports, Clara recognized that her:
- physical extremes
- emotional setbacks
- partying habits
were masking her severe depression. Understanding the connection was a turning point.
Clara Hughes book shares self-defeating patterns
In her book, Clara Hughes also discusses her ongoing struggle with an eating disorder and how it’s interlinked with depression. It is the first time she has shared her preoccupation with food and weight. In a recent interview with CBC she read her diary:
…why do I feel trapped underneath these layers of flesh that line the soul? …I feel guilt for these feelings of self-worth which hinge on my weight and my body fat count…
It’s so important she wrote this book! Clara’s willingness to open up about her complicated relationship with food will leave readers feeling less alone. By sharing her history she’s helping others understand their behaviour. Though we’re all different, recognizing patterns in other people’s lives helps us identify self-destructive patterns in our own.
Over the 10 years I struggled to lose weight, I had tons of self-defeating patterns. But it wasn’t until I spoke to a doctor that I realized I was starving myself, binging and then purging. I just thought I was disciplined, then had a weak moment. Once I was able to pair language with action I could prevent a negative pattern. Ask for help. Often you can’t see the barriers in your life because you’re at the center of the storm. Reaching out helps you break the cycle.
Clara Hughes uses her experiences to help others
Clara is a powerful role model, whether you set out to conquer a difficult home life, a competitive sport or a mental health issue. I love how she uses her personal experiences to help others. By connecting to the world through her community work and putting her honest story out there, Clara Hughes has proved to be a committed humanitarian in Canada and around the world.
Below an exclusive interview with Clara Hughes:
Clara Hughes: athlete, mental health advocate and author
From everyone who has felt isolated with an eating disorder or any other obstacle, thank you for sharing your story Clara Hughes.
Sharing what I learned makes those 10 years worth it
If you were going to ask for help, who would you talk to? A parent, teacher, friend, or ?