A life with Ana is no life at all!

I admit it: sometimes I thought about simply accepting Ana in my life. It happened especially in an early state of recovery when I struggled most and doubted that saying bye to Ana would be really worth it. Well, so I won’t find enjoyment in eating like other people do, I thought. But I can still have fun going out with friends, be creative or enjoy watching a sunset. I was wrong. With Ana at your side, a joyful life is simply not possible. I just found a very interesting graphic that illustrates this phenomenon. It’s called the Hierarchy of Needs and was developped by an American psychologist called Maslow in 1943:


Maslow put human needs in an order in form of a pyramide. The fundament are basic needs (like water, rest, security and, of course, food!), the middle is formed by psychological needs (like friends, being loved or prestige) and the top self-fulfillment needs. Important to know is: the single steps are based on each other. Which means that, as long as your basic needs aren’t satisfied, you can’t reach any other step above. Which means for somebody with Anorexia, that there is no fullfilment as long as Ana exists, because, with her, the first step of the pyramide will never be stable! I think, that’s the difference between existing and living. With an eating disorder, all you do is to (barely) eat, drink, sleep, breathe. With Ana, you exist, but you don’t live!

What the pyramide shows as well is, on the other hand, how incredibly difficult recovery is. If you starve yourself, you ignore your physological needs and basically haven’t even reached the first step. From your position at the bottom of the pyramide you can’t see the top. You are so far away from all the joys that life has to offer that you may get depressed and think that something like self-actualization is not even possible.

You have to accept that, even if you decided on recovery, it is a slow process. But, trust me, the better you get, the more little signs you will see. There will be these little moments, when you have to laugh spontanously or when you’re fascinated by something, let it be a good book, a person or whatever. These moments that reassure you that recovery is worth it. I mean, how sad would it be if you’d never reach another step of the pyramide except the first one? If all that people could tell about you at the end of your life would be that you managed to exist while never weighing more than 40kg!?

At the end, I want to share a thought experiment with you:

What if your life would be repeated over and over agein? Would you continue living as you do right now? Or would you rather change something?

When I thought about these questions the idea of living the past two years for a second time again frightened me. I mean, why should somebody seriously aim for repeating an existence that is mainly dominated by Ana? I took this as a clear sign to change something and to do more than just exist. I chose recovery and so should you! As a life with Ana is basically no life at all!


2 Gedanken zu “A life with Ana is no life at all!

  1. I agree with your concerns and worries about not eating. And not eating and through that, not being able to lead a fulfilled life.
    But I would like to put something to discussion, that you wrote in the end of your essay.

    „A life with Ana is no life at all“

    I think this us not completely honest and true. Somehow I find this quote very judging. Even if it’s not your intention it seems like by this sentence, those who suffer from Ana become stigmatized, judged. As if their life and their choices are worth nothing.
    Ana is not a choice. Its a psychological disorder. You probably know that, too.
    Second of all, if you suffer from a psychological disorder, it is a part of your life. And it will stay a part of your life. For some, only in the form of a difficult story about the past, for others as a daily struggle. So saying: „a life with Ana is no life at all “ is ignoring the effort and psychological strength it needs to become aware of it as a condition and starting recovery.
    I know that you probably just wanted to state the importance of the recovery process, but this last sentence can easily be misunderstood.
    Thank you for this interesting blog post anyway, I appreciate it when people talk about psychological disorders openly.
    Have a great week and easter holidays,


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    1. Dear manamanabadibidibi,
      thanks for your comment!
      It’s true, I didn’t consider that the title could probably be misunderstood. It wasn’t meant as a judgement, but as a motivation! I know that Ana is not a choice and that it usually takes a long time to become healthy again. The eating disorder is not a choice, but recovery is! Probably it would be more accurate to say “a life that is 100% dominated by Ana” or “a life in which you accept Ana” is no life at all.
      I experienced that, as soon as I recognized the illness and gave recovery a go, I little by little found joy in life again. This is what I meant by “these little moments, when you have to laugh spontanously or when you’re fascinated by something, let it be a good book, a person or whatever. These moments that reassure you that recovery is worth it”.
      Enjoy your easter holidays as well!

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