not giving up but not giving in either

I am going to have a Father’s Day post later this week (I’m rounding things up) but today I want to talk about something different.

As most of you who read my blog regularly or who know me in person know I will be restarting college (as a junior – yay!) this fall. This has been causing round-and-round debates in therapy all centered on one topic. And that topic is committing absolutely to recovery (from my eating disorder and all self-harming behaviors). Beth is convinced that it is time for me to make the committtment 100% to recovery. I’m arguing that I’m not ready for that step.

It’s a leap, you see. A big leap. A leap from my place on the upper part of the recovery stairwell to the landing. And when I say I’m not ready I’m not talk about willingness or giving into relapse. I just am not at a point where I can say “goodbye eating disorder, goodbye all other poor coping skills, see you never”. I’m not saying that I am going to relapse or suddenly start using behaviors but to completely commit to a life free of symptoms I just….can’t right now.

You see knowing I have my behaviors/disorders on the back-burner gives me comfort, a knowledge that there is something that I am good at (because as sick as this sounds I know I am good at being anorexic), confidence to move forward knowing that I can always bail out mentally (but stick around physically), comfort that all though everything around me is changing I still have the inner ability to “stop time”. Rereading that it all sounds very disordered and sick. And I comtemplated deleting it but I’m going to leave it there. It’s all truth. I may not be choosing to act on behvioars (and I have absolutely NO plans to relapse or start behaviors) but to say I’m never going back? I can’t. I want to. But I can’t. So I’m living in that in-between land. The land where I’m not giving it up but not giving in either.

And somehow I’ve convinced myself I can have it all. I may be living in that grey land (Marya Hornbacher reference) but as long as I’m not acting on behaviors I can have the benefits of a real life too. I can live in the present, interact with others, go to school and enjoy my life.

Beth says that’s not possible but I think that it is. I’m not giving up ground on that elusive recovery staircase – I’m just not leaping either. I’m keeping my security blanket around but not planning to sleep with it so to say (took that metaphor too far?).  Am I leaving myself vunerable but when I might not need to be? Maybe. But to think about committing to recovery for the rest of my life makes my chest tighten and panic start to mount. This tells me that I’m not ready. I will be someday but as I write this it’s not now. It’s not today.




Filed under body image, coping skills, eating disorder, eating disorders, New Life, Recovery

8 responses to “not giving up but not giving in either

  1. I am in such a similar position. I mean I know I have a lot to do with recovery till I am there but s for self harming it’s been five years since I last cut but the temptation is there knowing as you said its on the back burner. That if I wanted to its there. It’s just comforting to hear someone word it how I think it

    • I’m glad someone else feels the same way. Since publishing this post I’ve talked to quite a few of my recovery friends who feel the same way. I think it must just be a step on the way to recovery. I love your blog btw. I’ll be following.

  2. Baby steps, love. You will get there, but there’s no use pretending to be somewhere you’re not so I’m glad you’re able to vocalize it. ONE DAY AT A TIME. Missing you sweet girl ❤

    • Thanks girlie. Sorry I didn’t answer the phone the other day. I completely forgot it was Father’s Day and was with family the entire day. Let’s try this communicating thing again.

  3. allison

    Beth and I have had this conversation as well…it is really complicated for me as well, and we really don’t agree on the issue. It is really hard for me because of past experience, all of which i have explained to her (and will talk to you about somewhere down the road)…Hmmm, sure is funny how all through recovery you are taught to get out of “black or white thinking” until they want you to make a decision that is very black or white, huh?
    ok, that is all the thinking my brain can handle for one day =)
    miss you girly!

  4. Mary

    Fascinated and concerned in the sense that I can’t understand this because I’ve seen you with and without and I know that the strength you have without an eating disorder is far greater than what you have with your eating disorder. I hope you know that. Also, appreciate your honesty as I know we all find places that we are in from time to time that we cannot step out of until the time is right for us. Love you!

  5. Pamela Alida

    My beautiful Kate,

    I think I am feeling the same way right now. Going to school in the fall, finally being in one place long enough to settle in… there are so many exciting opportunities on the horizon for both of us. I think the biggest question that still plagues me is the “what if…?” (speaking of that I found an old IOL assignment that was really amazing and remind me to tell you about it so you can do it and process with Beth.) There is always that sense of security of knowing that my eating disorder is there, I still know how to do it, “succeed” at it…

    As you move forward in these coming months, notice the changes that are happening and EMBRACE them. I have a problem with this too as I am terrified of change. You are going to be experiencing some amazing things. Finally getting Ben, going to restaurants and the movies, going back to school and meeting new, healthy friends. You are taking positive steps every day, Kate. I remember when we first met almost two years ago and since then you have made so much progress I cannot even put it into words.

    I am always here for you my dear. I am so lucky to have you in my life. I cannot thank you enough for always being there- listening to me vent or cry or just being around to have a really good laugh. Even though there are many miles and states between us, I feel closer to you than many people here. Thank you for being so wonderfully you.

    Lots of love

    (longest comment EVER by the way hah)

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