Those having dealt with an eating disorder probably already know who Ana is. For those that don’t know it yet, Ana is short for anorexia. Ana is a name of the deadly illness that consumes all your body and soul and leaves you disinterested in everything else, except of Ana. Now when you have an eating disorder Ana may seem as the best friend one can have, it’s always here (in your mind). Although there are many reasons why one with an eating disorder might think so, and why one might glorify and befriend Ana, but let me tell you some of the lies that Ana will try to make you believe in.
- “Ana is always here for me”. Although being an imaginary friend that it is, Ana is not actually always here for you. Ana is here to make you more miserable, to convince you to hate your body and your looks. Ana is only always here against you, but not for you. It creeps into your mind when you’re most vulnerable and will try to turn you against yourself, consuming all your mind. It’s not here to save you, its here to consume you.
- “Ana will make me beautiful”. Although it will make you skinnier, but it will not make you prettier. Contrary, the more Ana consumes you the more beauty it destroys. It leaves your hair and nails dry and lifeless since it starts breaking off in enormous amounts. It dries your skin, and makes the hair on your skin grow faster as the body will naturally try to preserve the heat it’s lacking due to the lack of energy as you limit yourself of food intake. Your thoughts become only interested in Ana and so you soon lose your smile and energy for anything else. You become lifeless, you are here but not really here, and where’s the beauty in this?
- “I’ll be skinny so more boys will find me attractive”. As mentioned above, Ana will take all your energy and natural beauty away, there’s nothing attractive about this. And even if the guy would fancy you, you’ll soon become so obsessed about your relationship with Ana that you won’t have energy or time for anything else. You won’t be interested in boys or girls, simply because having a partner or a friend would bring you the challenges of eating out, and Ana limits your social life by not letting you enjoy the social situations which involve any intake of calories at all.
- “I’ll have Ana until I’ll become skinny and then I’ll stop”. This is the most common lie we tell to ourselves (and which Ana finds rather funny). Once you’re consumed with anorexia it is not so easy to step out of it. It will take lots of courage and change within yourself to like yourself for who you are and let yourself enjoy life again. The more time you spend with Ana the harder it is to leave it all behind. If it is still not too late (if you’re reading this article I am positive it is not too late), try to accept you for who you are. Ana will neither accept you neither help you to accept yourself. But it will build the walls around you, and the walls will only get higher and stronger to break as time passes by.
- “I’ll be happier because I will be skinnier”. Skinny body does not bring happiness. Lacking calories does not bring happiness. Neither does hating yourself and restricting your diet and social interactions. You think you’ll be skinnier so you’ll be happier, but it is rarely ever the case, not when we are talking about an eating disorder. It will make you see only the negatives within yourself, it will make you hate what you see and induce self-shaming. Ana never did and never will bring happiness to anyone, it is not here for the happiness, it’s sole aim is to make you ill, sometimes even deadly ill. In the end we all want a happy life, and Ana will most certainly not give you one.
Giving into Ana seems like a perfect escape from your daily life, and I guess that’s when people start giving into anorexia. And although at that point it might seem that anorexia is a perfect escape, but in reality there’s nothing to glorify about the illness. Ana will occupy all of your thoughts, it will change you into a miserable person, avoiding all the social interactions with your family and friends, it will damage our skin, your hair and nails. Being skinny to the bones won’t make you beautiful. And although to some of you this might sound cheesy, but beauty really isn’t skin deep. Just take a look at all these people around you, anyone. Aren’t they beautiful in their own way?
Don’t destroy your life, your relationships, your happiness due to the desire to be skinny. Aim to be healthy and fit instead, you’ll feel so much better (while maintaining all the friendship and building new ones, improving your hair, nails and skin, and having the energy to enjoy life). Anorexia can sometimes have a loud and demanding voice in your head, but don’t let it control you. There’s so much more to life, which anorexia will make it impossible for you to see.
By: Rai K, Anxiety In Teens Contributor