The book, Outrunning the Demons, was written by Phil Hewitt, a marathon runner who struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder after he was mugged and beaten in 2016. In the book, Hewitt tells his own story and shares stories from 34 other runners who have used running to cope with trauma, bereavement, depression, addiction, and other mental health-related conditions.
Running has been a key tool for helping Ana deal with her depression, anxiety, and her eating disorder. “For me, the adrenaline that I get when I run—the runner’s high—keeps me distracted and helps me let things go,” she explained. “I’m not running away from my problems when I run. I’m letting them out of my system.”
Her passion for running led her to take part in the 2017 Boston Marathon, and she used the race to increase awareness about mental health stigma. Partnering with McLean Hospital, Ana established Deconstructing Stigma: Ana’s Marathon Fund and raised money to educate the public about the importance of getting treatment for mental health issues.
By being featured in Outrunning the Demons, Ana hopes to continue her work to educate and inspire others. “You don’t have to like running to read the book,” she said. “No matter what your struggle, I think the book may motivate people to find their own passion or outlet that can help them in their recovery.”