Ok. I fell down. I stayed on my face in the mud for a bit, totally discouraged. I didn’t want to get up. It’s humiliating. I was running and winning and dancing but I tripped over.
It’s ok. Get back up. Choose to eat for health and energy. Choose to rest. But keep on going.
The only one in this race is me. I can only lose if I give up.
Oh, it’s frustrating and discouraging. Embarrassing sure.
But I will remember that God is the lifter of my head. He is the keeper of my soul. He loves me. As I am and for all I am. He knows my weakness and promises His strength. I will trust in that.
I read this Psalm and it was just what I needed to be reminded about:
Is anyone crying for help? God is listening ready to rescue you. If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, He’ll help you catch your breath. -Psalm 34 17&18
So. I’m catching my breath. I’m wiping the muck off my face. It’s ok. I fell down. But I’m getting back up.
I can do this.
I CAN do this.
Not only can I do this, I will. Got my fight back. So watch out:
Gloria is not me.
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.
I am doing this. I mean, I am really doing this. I am making some good choices, finally.
Feels bizarre. I can suddenly think more clearly. Who knew the brain really does need energy. Gloria sure didn’t get that bit right.
I am sleeping a lot. Like nine or ten hours at night and a nap in the afternoon. I’m starting to see how badly I’ve been treating my poor little body. It needs to repair.
I am feeling brighter. I can see beyond this painful now. Before, that’s all there was. I can appreciate what’s around me. See what’s around me. Love the people around me. I’ve been blinkered and numb for so long.
I still have to fight. Still have the urge to restrict and purge. Tim is having a really difficult time with all this rain and the storms. My first thought is to stop eating and start running so I’ll be able to fix it. Not sure of the logic of it, but oooh, it’s strong. I have fought it today. I am eating my afternoon snack, which includes milk, one of my big no-nos. Gold star!
I am fighting the voice that hates this weight gain. Gloria re-heally hates it. She is great at convincing me I am too big already, I feel too big, I see that I’m too big. But you know what? If I don’t look in the mirror, it’s easier to be rational, to rely on the evidence that can be verified. Like my weight is at the low end of healthy, and my clothes still fit. Can’t be too big if those things are true.
I was so close to giving up this week. But I managed to keep going, trusting that it will get better. I’m so glad I did. I’m choosing my own adventure, and I avoided the poison spring this time. I’ve started reading the first few sentences of the possible choices so I can make the right one. Gloria isn’t aware that such a life-hack exists.
I will beat this.
Gloria is not me.
This was my favourite Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book when I was growing up. Did you have one?
So. My body showed you, hey Gloria. Could you just give me a break, please?
Here I am today, even more tired than yesterday. On Tony’s orders to stay in bed except for trips to the toilet. And still that voice warns of consequences of eating. Prompts me to restrict. Tells me to exercise. Hates my body for being a traitor to her ideals.
I am so weak. I had to sit down in the shower. And fell asleep as soon as I was dry and dressed. Everything takes so much more effort, and exhausts me so quickly. And I have done it to myself by believing I’m not causing any harm.
I thought I was doing ok. I had increased my food intake. I didn’t slow down though. My busy day on Wednesday was too much after a busy day on Tuesday.
I don’t really want to write about what happened. But I promised the good and the bad.
I knew I was getting really tired and that I needed to eat (huge step forward for me) so I popped into the supermarket after picking the kids up from school. I had a craving for chips (!) and thought I’d stick it to Gloria and get some. But I got to that aisle in Woolworths and just ran out of steam. I couldn’t walk any more. I was holding on to the shelves falling asleep, when a lady stopped and asked if I was alright. To which I shook my head. She offered to get me a chair and I nodded. I sat down and then my body just shut down, except for my head. I couldn’t move. (This has happened twice before. And each time I said it wouldn’t happen again.) I had left the kids in the car (yes, yes, I know, but they’re nine and seven and I don’t breed idiots) so this lovely lady went and got them for me. But I had left my phone at home and do you think I could remember Tony’s number? Good thing my sister has had the same number for 10 years and I could remember that. And she just happened to be two streets away and arrived very soon. I had refused the staff’s offer of calling an ambulance. Tony’s done that once before. And I knew I just needed rehydration and rest. My sister carried me out to her car, kids following, and drove me home. Where Tony had to carry me in to bed. Where I slowly woke up. One side and limb at a time.
I want to thank Martina for her help. I want to thank my sister, Laura, and apologise for it happening again. And thank you Tony. I’m so sorry. I can see what this does to you. You are so good. I do want to fight this. I love you. And Phoebe and Tim, you seriously are the best kids a mum could ask for. You guys show me that somewhere I must have got something right, and I have to keep fighting so I can be the wife and mother you deserve. So that I can be Hannah. Fulfilled and free. As God made me.
Gloria is not me.