Walking Through Treacle

I haven’t been able to write for a while. I haven’t been willing, or even able, to articulate how it’s all going. It’s not that it’s been extraordinarily bad or that I’ve relapsed or anything. It’s just been a daily slog of getting myself to eat, focusing on living. I’ve come to a part of this road that feels like I’m walking through waist-high treacle. It takes a lot of effort to make a whole lot of no progress.

I’m still easily triggered, which is frustrating. The other day making a coffee at uni I had the swoopy-standing-on-the-edge-of-a-cliff feeling because there was a bag of marshmallows on the counter. I still hate myself if I think I enjoy a food too much. My list of safe foods is very small again. I’m fighting every day the desire to lose. Just a couple, maybe four kilos. That’s not too much.

The new semester of uni has begun. I’m retaking the Science unit I failed last year. I’m starting to see how sick and detached I was this time last year – I really didn’t learn a thing. How could I when my only weekly goals were to be smaller, lighter, and more self-controlled. I could have got my Masters in those. I am so glad that now I can see that the certificate for graduating from Gloria’s course is a toe-tag.

This is the only thing that keeps me from totally giving in. I need to remind myself daily that there is no guarantee I’ll survive a relapse. I need to remind myself daily that she lies, she lies, she lies. I cannot truly live when I give in.

So I choose to truly live. I choose to truly say (one day):

Gloria is not me.

Ps message

(I love this girl)

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More in Me Than This

I’ve been in denial again. Trying to tell Tony I’m all better now. Weight is high enough now please. My body is recovering nicely; I have some more energy, I can wear my wedding ring again, I don’t need as much sleep now and, er, it’s all systems go in the girl department.

But I know, and Tony knows, that given the chance I would restrict and exercise to lose all this weight as fast as I could. I feel so uncomfortable in here. I cannot see the weight gain as healthy or desirable.

Yesterday talking with my psychiatrist, I was able to recall my dreams regarding my education degree and future academic career, and I was Hannah again. With ambitions and opinions and a knowledge of the paths to achieve and validate them. Fully aware of all I’ve been blessed with, and all I can and have offered of myself. All of which has been buried as I cave in to Gloria. As soon as he mentioned my weight, asking me how I felt about it, my world shrank again. I was just a woman with an eating disorder. With one goal – to pull my body in after me as I implode.

Because I listened to Gloria, I did not accept my university’s offer of a place in the Embedded Honours Program. I don’t know if I can explain why. I don’t know if I know myself. I think it’s because I felt I didn’t really deserve it, and to make me worthy I had to gain control over myself. Completely. But instead of giving more in life, this has gradually eroded just about everything of worth to me. Even myself. Physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

So feeling and being Hannah yesterday, even for such a short time, makes me determined to beat this. To be one of the positive statistics. To ignore Gloria’s warnings. To trust Tony and the rest of the care team. To choose health and life.

Here’s how I won today: today I ate from the whole piece of toast. I did not even once tear it into smaller pieces. Today I ate an uncut sandwich, like some sort of grown up. I didn’t realise how long it had been since I made a mess on my face as I ate. I’m out of practice eating salad sandwiches, apparently. I ignored her warnings because:

Gloria is not me.

Denial

Today Gloria has swung around and is trying to tell me I don’t have a problem. Everyone else is wrong. I don’t have a problem with food and eating. I’m not that thin, really. And those other health things, well I can survive, and it won’t get any worse.

True, I don’t have a problem with food and eating, until I have to do it. That is, think about either or both. Kind of unravels there.

So according to Gloria absolutely everyone in my life is wrong. My doctor, my psychologist, nutritionist, husband, sisters, friends, parents and even my children are all experiencing the same group hallucination. Weird, that.

Today I am ridiculously tired. I had a lot of stuff to do yesterday and today I’m paying for it. But according to Gloria, I’m not hurting myself with this non problem that everyone else thinks I have. That menstruation thing? Pfff! Just think of that as some weird bonus and don’t forget to say thank you Gloria.

I have to be real here. I have to look at what’s going on. I have to be determined to fight this lie just as much as I am to fight the loud and more obvious ones. If I believe this lie (again) how much longer will the road out of this place be?

I know there are no shortcuts out. But there are so many crossroads to negotiate and wrong turns that will keep me here. Some days I won’t be able to recognise the right way to go. I hope today I have and that I’m strong enough to keep to it.

So. Nice try. But no takers today.

Gloria is not me.

hannh selfie

Stolen

Today I am trapped between my husband and Gloria. He is trying to get me to eat and to trust him, while Gloria screams in my head that if I do what he says I’ll be a fat nothing, a failure. I allowed him to serve my lunch today. And immediately hated him for the enormous portion he gave me. ALL of which he then sat and watched me eat.

Gloria tries to convince me that restriction is power, and weightloss is control. But despite excelling at these two things I am powerless and my life is out of my control.

I need to start really seeing what giving in has stolen from me.

Trust between my husband and myself is at an all-time low – I don’t trust him and he now knows he can’t trust me about food and exercise.

My dream. I was a distinction student in my education course. Til Gloria came along. In my last session I failed two units. I had to defer my professional experience halfway through because I was too weak to continue without failing.

My peace. ‘Nuff said.

My self-worth. Constantly hearing yourself be unkind to you wears you down and you really do believe it. I am a fat slutty no-good waste who really should be smaller. And have more self-discipline.

My energy. As much as Gloria tries to play it down and even bald-face deny it, I am so weak at times I’m like an old woman. But apparently it is strength to deny myself the energy I need.

My femininity. My body is a plank. I think I had bigger boobs when I was eleven. I haven’t had a period for months. Gloria says that’s a great thing as they were always such a hassle anyway. But what about the long term health implications?

My wedding ring. I can’t wear it anymore. It’s too big. I wear it on a chain around my left wrist. It doesn’t quite feel the same.

My running. Oh, how I miss running. I’m too weak now to run. Even walking is often too much.

My kids’ peace. Our son asks all too often if Mummy is going to die. Our daughter asked me to please not ‘wither away’ to a skeleton.

Meals with friends. I won’t eat what I haven’t prepared myself, and I find eating with others too stressful.

Looking at this list you’re probably asking ‘Why? Why can’t you see and just do what you need to do to get yourself better?’ But that’s rational. And most of the time I am not. Gloria really knows me. And all my weak spots. And how to fight dirty. It is constant. It hurts. And I just get so tired.

Writing this has shown me what I am fighting for, what I want to win back in my life. Hannah’s rights, privileges and responsibilities. I’m fighting for more than just an existence.

Gloria IS not me.

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