Finding New Activities – Hiking with Dad

going hiking

Me soon!

When I was at my lowest weight, looking back, it was pretty scary. I felt tired all the time and I was cold even  when everyone else felt fine. I never wanted to do anything but sleep and avoid people and even if I had decided that I wanted to go out and do something, I physically couldn’t, I was too weak and frail and got tired too quickly. Ana is a real b.

Losing interest in living life and enjoying activities totally sucks and now that I am stronger I have extra energy and I want to get out and explore and have fun. After spending so much time cooped up inside I really wanted to get outside and do something see the sky and the beauty of nature and just feel the warm sun. I also want to reconnect with the people in my life I care about, my friends and especially my family, who I lost touch with when I was lost in the darkness.

My Dad loves nature too and he often goes out hiking in all sorts of places, taking pictures of beautiful places and animals and going lots of places. So to kill two birds with one stone I asked him if he would help teach me what I needed to know and let me go with him sometime. Since he is really into it, he has all sorts of cool gear from fancy looking hiking boots and walking sticks to a big sun hat and nice camera but I was starting with just some sweatpants, a t shirt and a pair of running shoes. He was really excited when I asked and it actually made me more excited too seeing him like that and he began to go over some of the basics. Since I have weak bones and not a lot of strength for walking in my feet and ankles he said that the first thing to do was get a good pair of supportive, comfortable hiking boots. Being a guy, he wasn’t sure on the best hiking boots for women but he helped me find a pair that would give me what I need after some research online. I can’t wait for them to get here!

Another thing he taught me was about protection from the sun. I said I wanted to go out and feel the sun, but that doesn’t mean I want to turn into a lobster! I’m still really pale and so I need all the protection I can get. We packed a bag with sunscreen (SPF 60), a refillable Nalgene water bottle and one of his old wide brimmed hats that fit me. I used to faint really easily after doing even a bit of work, and even though I’ve been getting stronger I still want to take every precaution, so a bit of shade and plenty of hydration is important. The hiking boots are the most important piece of gear, since they connect you to the trail, he said, but all the other stuff makes the whole package work.

I also got a breathable shirt to wear since cotton shirts absorb sweat and get soaked in minutes and don’t dry out, which sounds pretty bad. So when that and my awesome new hiking boots get here me and my Dad are going to give it a try. It’s been great to reconnect with my Dad and I’ve been really happy just spending time with him learning about something he enjoys and really want to try it with him. I think he’s been glad too, it is really nice and feels like we are connecting a bit like we used to.

Welcome to the Jungle

welcome to the jungleI didn’t always have the same problems that I have today. In fact when I look back on some of my younger days things seem pretty great compared to today. From what I’ve gone through I’ve learned that myself and most other people have anorexia brought on by some stressful event happening in their life, and it doesn’t have to be some typical life changing event like losing someone close to you or bullying, though it can be.

The problem might come upon you suddenly like it did for me, or it could happen gradually over weeks or months. Either way, once you’ve entered that jungle you are in a lot of trouble. The only way out is to hack and slash and fight for yourself until you start to see the bushes and vines thin and you can see the path again on the other side. When you get out too it doesn’t end there, you need to be careful that you have friends and supporters to guide you along or else you’ll fall back into that thick jungle and it is a very scary place to be, you could literally be dying and not even realize it.

I was watching a TV show the other day and there was a scene I could really identify with. The character had taken a drug and was wandering around the area where he grew up remembering all the nice memories of the place. Seeing everything through those drug-induced rose colored glasses it seemed beautiful. I guess in some ways Ana is like a drug, I felt a strong need to “do it” and I couldn’t really stop, I thought I was alright but really it was hurting me and I needed help. That is what happened in the show too. The guys friends came looking for him and found him wandering around, but we saw everything through their eyes. The area was rundown and dismal, there was garbage and abandoned factories and it was a horrible place, but the character didn’t see that from his perspective. In fact everything seemed just the opposite and he was happy.

I know from experience how it looks to be under ana’s spell and it will probably take more than just reading this to realize that things might not be as great as they seem. I hope that at least reading this someone might take a second look at things and maybe reach out to someone, or let someone in who has been trying to help and let them help you down that perilous path to getting better. It is a scary place to be and I am so thankful every day now to the people who helped me get to where I am now and believed in me. You know who you are and I love you :)

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

There are lots of things that happen to those of us who struggle with ana that the “normal” people wouldn’t understand and just overlook.

those eyes

Some are mental; I have an ongoing flood of thoughts go through my head every day trying to convince me of different things. Thankfully, now, I have my own voice, speaking on my behalf and convincing me that I am OK and things are going to be alright, but it wasn’t always like that. Ana’s voice is there too, criticizing every decision, trying to make me weak and question everything and even though that voice is less prominent now it is still there nipping at my sanity.

Other problems are physical. Sometimes I get tired in the middle of doing normal things. I’ll be walking along and suddenly I’ll be so tired and have to stop and just rest and have something to eat. It is strange to other people when this happens. Things like fainting for no reason just aren’t something they would ever think about, but for me it is a part of my life. There are other problems too. If you spend some time with me you might notice that I’m always rubbing my eyes and blinking a lot or that I have trouble seeing things from time to time. This is because I suffer from floaters in my eyes. I see weird squiggly lines and black spots in my vision and it messes with me a lot. This started happening to me while I was struggling with ana and is something that I’ve had to deal with alongside of everything else. I don’t know if this trouble with my eyes was caused as a result of ana or if it would have happened anyway but it is a strange thing that I have to deal with every day.

When I’m relaxing with a book, or working on the computer the floaters invade. When I’m outside walking somewhere or inside trying to read a menu they strike. It is a strange thing to happen and it gets annoying but luckily it is not something that other people can see, just me, so I don’t have to explain it to people or have them judge me for it which I am really thankful for. It is annoying though and sometimes it feels like all the problems stack up at once and it makes me feel like it could be too much, so a little while ago I decided to see what could be done about it. I checked with my doctor who I am visiting every two weeks to monitor me and he said there are surgical options but they are pretty invasive and he didn’t recommend them for me. I decided to do the research on eye floaters myself online and found a lot of information and am starting the program. It really makes me feel good to be doing something to make myself better just like I do every day with the support of my friends and family to get over ana.

If you are also recovering and have issues, with your eyes or anything else, I totally recommend that you try to find ways to deal with those issues as well. Just don’t overdo things and get swamped. Take it slowly, once you feel comfortable with anas voice being restrained you can move on to something new. I think that voice will be with me my whole life or at least for a while yet, but I can deal with it and I know that what it says isn’t true and I have people who can help me.

Live life beautifully and keep your eyes shining with your smile for the world to see. I can do it and so can you so let’s believe in each other and get things done.

What things do you have to deal with? Let me know about what other things you deal with that other people might not know about, remember sharing is caring.

Eat Free – Life in a Cage


Thanks to Beyond-Illusion for the picture

When you see food as the enemy and avoid it at all costs, it is hard to really be free. Eating isn’t an optional activity, it is a basic need which everyone must do simply to stay alive. Being forced into something each and every day is like being in a prison of your own devising.

When I was suffering my worst days, every moment being awake was tough. Constantly having to think about something, knowing that the time is growing nearer and nearer to the thing that you are dreading makes life awful. I wanted so badly not to eat anything, but at the same time I knew I had to and I knew in the small part of my rational mind that I needed to eat something. Then after eating, no matter how much, the feeling of shame for having to eat was there, not replacing that fear but just adding to it. It took a toll on my mind which I didn’t fully understand until I got some help and opened up about what was going on.

I can look back at my cage and wonder how I ever managed to live inside such a small, limiting and scary world, but when I was inside I didn’t understand what I had given up. It is as if I had shrunk my cell a little bit each day, not noticing the change but becoming more and more constricted and unwell.

Today I try to question everything I do and every choice I make and I have to make sure I am not tricking myself into doing things that I know aren’t good for me. They say that freedom isn’t free and that is true for Ana too, the problems are still there waiting to come back into your life and it takes real work and truth to fight them off.

My relationships play a big part in making things better. I talk with my mom all the time now. She is such a positive influence on my life; she encourages me, inspires me and helps me up when I’m down and without her support I don’t think my journey would be this successful. When I was suffering with Ana it was my only friend, and it was a jealous and spiteful relationship which I couldn’t see from the inside. I didn’t get close to other people or talk about things because I was scared of what they would think, scared of what they would say and scared that they would try to change me or take away my coping methods. Ana had me convinced that I needed it to be OK and that without it I wouldn’t be able to survive.

Talking with others, sharing stories and experiences and learning about what other people are going through or have gone through really helps too. Staying closed off is the worst thing for recovery and you need support to make it out. Talk to someone, anyone, it can be a stranger or someone close to you and find that support.

Will you talk to someone if you’re having problems? Why/Why not? What would you do instead?

If you want to share with me I’d be happy to listen, just write a comment and I’ll do my best to help.

Kickin’ Ana’s Scrawny Butt ~ Day One

Today I get down to leaving Ana behind me.

Thanks to  for the picture!

Jenn gets the credit for this picture!

Starting today, November 9th I will be taking note of all the progress, good and bad, that I make, whether they be for my spirit, mind or body.

So here’s the list for today!

GOOD STUFF I DID ON 11/9/2013:

  • Took an hour to walk through the park and experience nature.
  • Ate the things I liked, when I felt like it.. but not being excessive.  (I am crazy about caramel corn)
  • Remembered to think positively during my day. This helped me avoid sinking into a bad mental state which sometimes happens.


  • Found that I was paying too much attention to my thighs and hips jiggling the fat and thinking that there was too much cellulite.
  • Kept touching my love handles to see how flabby they felt.  (This will no doubt sound weird to normal people, but I’ll bet those with an Ana past will understand.)

Tomorrow is another day and the challenges will be back. All I can do it take it one step at a time, one day, one experience. Hopefully I will continue to have the support of those around me who will look out for me, love me and hold their judgement for my past problems.

My mom is a big help for me, she is always there to talk to, which can really make all the difference sometimes. Knowing that someone loves me and accepts me, especially when I don’t feel like I am worth loving or even worth anything at all, can really help pull me up out of the dark hole that Ana drags me into.

Writing things down helps a lot too. I’ve kept a journal before and just getting all my thoughts out, and rereading them lets me see where I am and gives me perspective on my situation. I’m now writing here, getting it out of the privacy of my own mind and out into the world to help make it more real and hopefully help someone and get some support back as well. I know that the journey is hard; mine has been, but it is possible and I hope that I can be proof of that.

How about you?  What happened to you today with Ana (or Mia)?