I think this is Gloria’s favourite weapon. I can’t award myself a star if I feel I enjoyed a meal too much. You know, only FAT people enjoy food like that? Is that what you want to be? Well, it’s what you already are, so, no star for YOU. She tries to turn it so I want to reward myself for restricting.

I am fantastic, apparently, at sabotaging any attempts at recovery as Gloria manages to twist my intentions for good to work it out so I end up doing what she wants anyway. Like I’ve said previously, she really knows me and how to fight dirty.

Look at how starting running again turned out. It was great to help me lose the weight and I could hide in plain sight – of course I’m losing a bit of weight I’m exercising heaps – all for a good cause, will you sponsor me? I really did start with good intentions. Exercise to help fight my depression and raising money for destiny rescue in the local running festival. But a meeting with my mentor showed me that effectually I was asking for sponsors to fuel my anorexia. After that I felt I couldn’t in all conscience ask for sponsorship. My health was deteriorating rapidly at that point, anyway, as Gloria really took hold. Even my doctor told me to stop running. In the end close friends were telling they would sponsor me to not run. But I felt obliged to run, or at least walk, so I could collect the money pledged. Which I still feel too guilty to do. I will collect it, when I remember more what I started out to do, not what I ended up doing.

The hard thing is that not even wanting to be able to run again and be strong is motivating enough to want to gain. I did love running and how it made me feel, but I’m confused as to which side of me was getting the most pleasure out of it. And the terror I feel at having to choose to gain weight is just overwhelming. Seriously, right now you might as well ask me to offer my children as child soldiers.

Gloria tries to tell me that I can regain health and strength and remain at this weight. But no one else agrees. She uses guilt to keep me from eating more than necessary as this lie festers and keeps me stuck here.

Gloria even uses the times when I’ve chosen her dumb ideas to beat me over the head. I am so looking forward to the day when they stop coming and I will be able to say:

Gloria is not me.

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A Day in My Head

Are you ready for this? (Gloria’s words in parentheses)

Wake up. (How much do you weigh today? I hope it’s less than yesterday. It had better be less than yesterday. Not good enough, Hannah)

Get up. Breakfast of muesli [my own special handmade concoction of all the right stuff] and plain probiotic yoghurt (Wait. Where’s my Bunnykins bowl? Where is it? WHAT? Tony’s hidden it so I can’t use it to control my portions? THE JERK! Can’t find it? Well, just use a ‘normal’ bowl then. That’s enough, Hannah, too much! How are you going to eat all that? Only FAT people eat that much, tsk!). Coffee and for some reason I’m allowed full cream milk. I did fight Gloria by eating all of my meagre portion of muesli. I do actually enjoy it, after all.

Bana- ? (no, you will not). Another coff- ? (Nope, don’t even think it – you know you’re going out for coffee later, just clean your teeth so you won’t want anything else)

(Pull your stomach in. Aaargh! You’re so lazy and fat! Did you see the flab on your legs as you were washing them? What are you gonna do about that? You better not eat nearly as much as you did yesterday. That was REAL stupid. How on earth can you be lighter if you eat? Yeah, you look ok from this angle but turn a bit… there! See that FAT? That’s all you are. How are you going to get rid of it? Cos it has to go. Don’t hold your arms like that, look at how pudgy they are. Yuck, I can’t look at you)

No, I’m sorry, that’s enough. And it’s only been about 30 minutes. And this is the cut down version. I know and you know that our thoughts are not linear like this but I just wanted to give you a general idea of the kind of dialogue I have going in my head.

I don’t know how to describe the physical feelings I have when I’m thinking about food. If you’ve never had an anxiety attack you might find this hard to understand. For me, I get breathless and my heart starts to race and I have that washy-tingly feeling over my arms and chest you get when you’ve just missed being hit by a car.

WHEN I THINK ABOUT HAVING TO EAT. Do you know how many times this happens every day?

When I give in to Gloria’s voice the feeling goes and I’m ok. She tells me not to eat, or think about eating whatever it is I’m looking at or thinking/hearing about. The only foods I don’t get this feeling over are my muesli and some dinners. I even get it looking at Woolworths and Coles catalogues. Walking past a shop where food is sold. People talking about food. Every. Single. Day.

So when you put Gloria’s voice on top of those physical feelings it kind of gets a bit overwhelming. And add the rest of my life – wife, mother, student, sister, daughter, friend, yeah, most of the time I’ve taken the easy road.

But the easy road only goes downhill. And it’s steep. And now it’s very lonely.

Time to find the hard road. I know it’s just as steep.

But it’s going up.

Gloria is not me.

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