The Olympic figure skater details her mental health battle and her twin sister’s intervention in an exclusive excerpt from her new memoir, 'Outofshapeworthlessloser'
When Gracie Gold was achieving the most on the ice—winning a bronze medal at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and two U.S. Championships in 2014 and 2016—her life off the ice was rapidly declining.
In her revealing memoir Outofshapeworthlessloser, out Feb. 6 from Penguin Random House, the 28-year-old figure skater recounts her battles with an ongoing eating disorder—eating one tomato a day to lose weight—depression and anxiety, which only intensified after she was sexually assaulted by a fellow skater.
“‘Out of shape worthless loser’ is the name I gave to the voice inside my head that made me want to disappear,” Gold tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, out Friday.
Gold writes in the memoir that she can remember thinking, “Why should I brush my hair when I’m not going anywhere? What’s the point? Why should I take a shower when the sight of my body repulses me? Why bother?” She adds, “I was slowly withdrawing from the world. Nobody was going to see me. I was caught in a vicious cycle.”
Here, in an exclusive excerpt from Outofshapeworthlessloser, the figure skater writes about feeling defeated, her twin sister Carly’s attempted intervention and the shame she felt “taking up space in the world.”
I was unable to move on or make any progress because I could not shift out of survival mode. It was like I was offline, out of it. I think the psychological term for it is “dissociating.” The best way I can describe it is the snow globe analogy. I could see the world beyond my bubble, but I couldn’t access it. On occasion, people would tap on the glass to get my attention, but it was like there was a barrier between us that kept me from making myself heard or understood.
I was embarrassed to exist, ashamed to take up so much space in the world. I was by myself but not alone. Mean, judgmental, sarcastic Outofshapeworthlessloser was living rent-free in my head: You’re not messed up. You’re fat and that’s all on you. That’s your fault. Nobody is force-feeding you. You lack discipline. You are disgusting. A joke. You look like a potato with arms. You’re just wasting your life. If you just killed yourself, you never would have had this problem. You’d have zero problems. I’ll say this for Outofshapeworthlessloser: She’s awfully persuasive.
My depression made any kind of movement effortful, and the less active I was, the more depressed I became.
Toward the end of spring, [my twin sister] Carly flew to Detroit for a long weekend. She presented it as a girls’ weekend, but it really was an intervention. I hadn’t kept in great touch with her, which was shocking to anyone who knew us. We had been drifting apart since she retired from skating. By the middle of 2017 my id wanted nothing to do with her superego. I couldn’t see then that she was establishing healthy boundaries while trying to navigate the real world, college, and a social life. I just felt abandoned.
Her visit was painful for both of us. It was clear to Carly that I was seriously unwell. She had heard from coaches that I wasn’t coming to the rink, but to see the evidence of my physical decline up close was jarring. The situation was precarious. She waited until the last day of her visit to have a heart-to-heart talk. Her basic message, as I remember it, was, Gracie, can you please get your s--- together because Mom and Dad are flying off the rails?
For more on Gold’s untold story, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, out Friday.
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If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please go to NationalEatingDisorders.org.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.
Excerpted from OUTOFSHAPEWORTHLESSLOSER by Gracie Gold. Published by Crown, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2024 by Grace Gold.
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