Christmas in the Borderlands

This has been the best Christmas I’ve had since I was a child, the best Christmas in more than 15 years. I’ve been able to enjoy making a gingerbread house with my sisters, enjoy time with family and movies and Christmas traditions. This Christmas hasn’t been marked by a fake smile plastered on my face until I run upstairs at the end of the night and relieve myself by way of one addiction or another. It has not been marked by lies about where I have been or what I have been doing when I arrive home after many hours. 

This Christmas, I was authentic and stepped away when I was getting overwhelmed. I could actually shut off the voices in my head for a while and truly be in the moment with my family and friends. I took time to ponder and wonder at the idea of God coming to His creation, the very being of God in human form. I valued time with my loved ones more than time spent at the gym.

But the dictator hasn’t gone away. The dictator is alive and well, harassing me at every meal and snack, every time I choose to rest or spend time with my younger sister instead of working out. I am constantly telling that voice to shut up, to just leave me alone because I refuse to comply. 

This is what Marya Hornbacher refers to as the “boring part of eating disorders.” Going back is not an option, so I eat and I hate it. I sit around reading and I hate it. I do what my treatment team says and I hate it. I am envious of friends who are struggling and I hate it. 

This is where rubber meets the road. Things have, for the most part, settled. All the things that you reclaim in early recovery (memory, relationships, stamina, personality, hope, etc.) are there and their presence is not a new, exciting thing. The presence of these things is normal and every day and that is fantastic, but without that excitement, everything is just sort of blase’


Beautiful, but I have memorized the details.

It feels like I am in a perpetual holding pattern. There is no rest here, because I still have to work to make this recovery thing happen – it is not yet ingrained in my mind such that I can lay off the vigilance for a moment or two. So I am working hard to stay in the air, to avoid losing altitude, but I’m going around in circles and seeing the same thing over and over and over again. And even though the scenery is beautiful, it gets old after a while and you would welcome a drop in altitude just to get a different view.

But you know that you cannot let off the controls for even a moment, because the smallest drop in altitude could turn into a free fall. Free fall is almost certainly fatal and the risk is too great to chance it.

So even though I know that flying in these circles is better than the turbulence and excitement I experienced before, I long for something new, something exciting.

I want new scenery, but the only place to go is up and I’m not ready yet.

It is boring here.


3 thoughts on “Christmas in the Borderlands

  1. I am so glad you had a good Christmas. Mine was better than I thought it might be and than last year’s. I am sorry, though, that you feel stuck, even if it is in a good place. I have been there, and there is no way around it. It sucks. But hang in there until it is time to climb higher. As you’ve said, you’ve fought too hard and a slip down could turn into a free fall. I’ll try to pray for you to find contentment in this holding pattern of life as you gain strength and momentum to go even higher. Hugs. Jade

  2. You’ve written this so eloquently! I’m so proud of the work you’ve done to get to this “boring” place. Also great and insightful that you’re aware of just how vigilant you have to be otherwise it could slip away quickly. Wonderful that you were able to really, fully enjoy the holidays! I’m sorry that this is a rather boring part of the journey, but hopefully if you can hang with it (which I absolutely know you can and will) there will be some exciting days ahead that are fun-exciting, rather than turbulent. Waiting for that sucks, but I have a suspicion that it’ll be worth it!

  3. Pingback: Stuck | A Wilderness Love Story

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