This Isn’t Getting My Assignment Done

How do you keep going when winning feels like losing? Gloria screams ‘NOOOOOOOOOOO!!’ when I can get myself to eat. She makes me so anxious about and around food I have collapsed trying to choose an avocado. I collapsed because WALKING PAST a fruit and veg shop was too much. Two more ambulance rides. I now have to do meditative breathing exercises just so I can go to the shops. Just because she can make me faint rather than choose food. She made me feel a congratulatory pat on the shoulder (for gaining) was more like a slap in the face, so much that I actually flinched as if it were.

Cheese was a huge deal again today. I just want the cheese to stop. So. Much. Cheese.

When will this end? When will winning actually be a victory? When will giving in to Gloria feel like losing? I tried the gold stars again. But according to Gloria I’m such a whining, stupid, pathetic sub-par excrescence I have no right to believe in myself. And there is definitely no point in trying to encourage myself.

I’m not fishing for compliments. I am fighting this with as much as I have in me. I am trying to just trust that it will get better. Trying to explain just why and how it is so difficult to ‘just eat something’. I have been sticking to the plan (mostly), even through all this. Tony has helped a lot. So has this song.

One day, food will be energy, not the enemy. One day, I will no longer believe her. One day, when I can say:

Gloria is not me.

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Today #3

The last few weeks have been a little bit nightmare-ish. I have now lost almost complete control over my life. Tony is on orders to be in control of all meals. With instructions to phone in if I refuse to finish anything. I am so not okay with that. I’m even less okay with the whole absolutely no exercise thing. Tony even stops me fidgeting.

I’ve just had five whole days rigidly sticking to the meal plan. My longest stretch ever. And it still feels like such a pain in the neck. So much food. Coming at me all @#*#-ing day. I have to admit that I can’t wait to be able to eat what I want, when I want it. But right now that’s just nothing and never.

Tony says he can see more of me, Hannah, as I continue to eat. Gloria hates that, uses all her tricks to make me feel weak and useless and more in hate with myself. But Tony has stopped arguing with Gloria. He plainly tells her to go away, he wants to talk to Hannah. At least he can get away from her voice.

I want to be rid of Gloria, to be truly Hannah. But I’m so overwhelmed by the effort it takes, and will continue to take. I’m even doubtful the effort is worth it. I am so lacking in any motivation these days. My bedside is a morass of tangled wool with half-finished craft projects. I am yet to enroll in uni for the year. The house is chaos. I think we’ve all run out of undies. And this is the first post I’ve written in weeks, that I might actually finish and publish.

So here I go. Today #3. Choosing life, because:

Gloria is not me. (That was the first time I actually faltered while typing that, right now it’s just not true)

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Here Again?!

I’ve fallen down again.

I bought into the whispered lies. Gloria knows me well. So when the shouting stopped working the campaign shifted to a softer one. It seemed rational and definitely aligned with my own ideas and before I knew I was restricting and exercising again. I HAD to regain the control I’d lost. I’d gained too much and so quickly.

I’ve been back to my dietitian. Had to ‘fess up to dodging the meal plan as often as I could, especially these last five days. I hate this because of how much I’ve gained when I haven’t even followed the plan properly. Gloria tells my body is such a traitor. And I hate it. I hate being in here. Stuck with this voice.

This voice tells me Tony and the health team do not want what’s best for me. They just want me fat. They want me to lose control. And that is something I cannot do. I MUST not do.

I look back at last week and I was doing pretty great. Now I feel shame at trying to leave this place without having accomplished all I was led to believe would make me a better person.

I am trying to see that having such a strong support network is a good thing. Without it I would be totally lost. Gloria wants to run away so I only have her voice to listen to.

Hannah doesn’t have a voice at the moment. So thank God that people around me do. I will try to hear them over Gloria. Listen and trust them, not her. They know:

Gloria is not me.

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Every Time I Hit Rock Bottom, Gloria Manages to Find Something With Which to Dig.

Sooooo. I don’t even know where to begin. Been a rough few days. Wednesday just gone was the worst day yet. Hopefully that’s the worst day all done now.

I don’t really want to go over it but that’s what this blog is all about. I want people to know how hard this is.

Better go back to Tuesday. Saw the new dietician. Who gave us a structured meal plan on the spot. She listened to me about what I can and can’t/won’t eat. That was good. She was yet another health professional who vetoed exercise. That was not so good. And on paper, the plan didn’t look too bad.

Come breakfast Wednesday, first day of the rest of my life. I measured the required amount of muesli into my bowl. And immediately put 1/3 of it back in the box. It was a crazy amount of food. Seriously. I didn’t even bother to measure the yoghurt.

The day went downhill from there. Do you want to know how long I can shout and argue about cheese? I’m not normally a loud person but I managed a good half an hour of irrationality. Again I thought it was too much (it was literally 15 grams of cheese). I was actually putting my shoes on to run out of the house and just keep running. We can laugh about cheesegate now, but at the time it was anything but funny. And it was only the second meal of the day. Not even 11am.

I managed lunch like a sulky kid. Go me.

It was afternoon tea that tipped me over the edge. ¼ cup of trail mix and ½ cup of yoghurt. TOO MUCH AGAIN. I had some of it but was overwhelmed by Gloria. I had to get out, escape from the food, be the one in control. I got down to the front door, where Tony caught and held me so I couldn’t move. He just whispered in my ear ‘please don’t do this to them, please don’t do this to us’. I was able to be rational enough to climb the stairs. I was able to fight enough to eat what Tony had served to me. ALL of it. Then, I don’t really know what was going through my mind, guilt over having the kids witness all this, extreme anxiety over the amount of food I was suddenly expected to eat and was being forced into me, and suddenly I was wanting to really hurt myself. I thought it would be better to die than to eat and fail. I thought it would be better if I was gone from my family so they wouldn’t have to see me do this anymore. Tony found me curled in a ball under the quilt on our bed. I remember showing him my arms and saying ‘I know exactly where to cut’. Something that stopped me was thinking about how big and hard a mess Tony and the kids would have to clean up if I managed to do it in the bedroom. I would have to go to the bathroom. But Tony was holding me. And he just held me until I was calm.

I felt so unsafe. But I think it did shift something inside me to see how Gloria keeps me anything but safe. If that could be an answer to a tiny thing like eating, what would a bigger problem prompt? I already know the answer to that: starve myself, restrict to the point of self-harm, slow suicide.

Spoiler: I’m not feeling like that now, and I haven’t since. Tony and I talked. I promised I would try again tomorrow. And now in the morning before the day begins, while we are still in bed, I pray for strength for the coming day and Tony asks me to pledge that I will follow the meal plan, I will not restrict, purge or exercise and I will not say it is too much.

So yesterday, I earned six gold stars. Six! That’s the best ever! I have not had a day of eating so much since, I think, just after Christmas last year. I still have to fight the anxiety. I still panic about the amount of food I have to eat. And I am really freaking out over not being able to exercise. But I am now half way to my 50 star goal.

And a little closer to the day when:

Gloria is not me.

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A Few of My Favourite Things (sing along)

Coffee and family

My fishies and singing

Creating unique crafted

Items and winning

Putting a smile on a face in the crowd

Laughing and daring to dream out aloud

Clean living rooms on

A Saturday morning

Hiking on mountains

Watching new days dawning

Being a member of God’s family

Midsomer Murders reruns on TV

When the white noise

And the self-hate

Seem too hard to bear

I’ll try to remember some favourite things

Like those I’ve listed

Up there

Trying to focus on all life has to offer today.

What are some of your favourite things?

Notice that I didn’t put restricting and controlling because

Gloria is not me.

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Today #2

Today I’m choosing life. Again. Again. Another another attempt at recovery.

Two lies have hindered this journey: the first being that one day I’ll wake up and I’ll finally be ‘done’ – I’ll have earned Gloria’s approval. The second is that choosing recovery will be straightforward and easy. Like I just have to actually choose and that will flip a switch and it will all be gone, done, finished and I’ll be fine.

How do I combat my own thoughts and unrealistic expectations of myself? I, Hannah, know the standards to which Gloria holds me are unachievable and downright unhealthy. ‘Perfection’ in the body I have will never happen. I’m short, with short legs, a high flat bust and wide shoulders. I am ok with that. That’s me. Gloria isn’t trying to attain a magazine image, even she’s not that irrational. The aim is to be as small as possible – to be able to curl up into the tiniest ball and hide away. To be strong and invincible and the way to do that is restriction and extreme control. But I will never be small enough. I think the ultimate goal is complete implosion.

The other lie is harder to explain and fight against. The feeling of being safe as I engage in these behaviours is so strong. The peace and calm I feel when I don’t eat is bliss. The lie I cling to is that if I choose to stop all this then chaos will suddenly pour down and it will be all my fault for walking away. But I have little glimpses of what life could be like without this. Enough to see that this is not achieving any of the peace I truly want. I already have so many positives in my life that will be lost if I continue this way. Choosing them over Gloria should be the easiest thing to do, but it’s not. And every time I choose recovery, I seem to forget that it’s not a straight, easy road. I’ve said it before – I can’t just walk away from this voice.

But I can choose to fight it. And I am.

Gloria is not me.

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Tony Wants Me to Call This Post Busted McCustard

So, I chose the easy road to peace today. It went well until dinner. Then the brown stuff hit the spinny thing.

I can finally see just how weak and underhand I’ve become in order to maintain this illness. I’m sneaky, but can’t lie about it when I’m caught. So tonight when Tony discovered that I’d hidden half of my dinner under his nose, things kind of became tense. I had to admit I’m still exercising more than he thought. When Tony realised I chose ravioli for dinner so I could restrict under the guise of never having liked it, he was more than a little peeved. The kids were still at the table with us. Phoebe was trying to bribe me to eat, Tim was just watchful and silent. Friends who’ve eaten with our family know that Tim is not silent at dinner time – he has a captive audience and will capitalise at any given opportunity. Tony got through to me, told me to fight. For once I was able to pick up my fork and eat. And I was even able to fight enough to choose to eat more after that, given that I’d eaten almost nothing all day.

There are times when this illness is just cruel. The mental and even physical aversion to the very thing that is the only cure is beyond imagining. But the short term peace is bought at too high a price.

I don’t want to live like this anymore. I don’t like who and what I’ve become. I don’t want to see that look in my son’s eyes. I don’t want Tony to search my bag every time I come home looking for what I might have bought to use for purging. I don’t want to be chaperoned everywhere I go because I’ve proven myself unworthy of trust regarding food and exercise. I don’t want my daughter to learn any of these behaviours.

Time to get real. Again.

Gloria is not me.