Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Landing in the middle

Over the previous two weeks, several people have asked me about my blog and wanted to know when I’d start writing again.  Honestly?  I didn’t think I had much to say.  Also, I was busy.  A clichéd excuse used by many students, I know.  As a professor, I don’t accept this excuse as legitimate, so before I dig myself in deeper, here’s the deal:

I have more to say.  Maybe not about the initial steps of recovery, but about day to day life, living with the memories that may still rear up every so often.  I look at where I had always wanted to be by this point in my life, and I am not there.  I am not the person I wanted to be by now; my educational and professional careers had to be altered because of some of the choices I made years ago.  I have to accept that, however, and be who I turned out to be rather than who I once wanted to be.

Earlier this year, I decided that by the end of 2016, I would have a submission-ready manuscript.  FINALLY.  When I began my memoir, the drama of the illness and of the initial steps of recovery were still filled with raw emotion.  But the conclusion—that’s been nagging at me for a few years now.  I still feel sure in my recovery and have no regrets, so why the hell couldn’t I sum all of that up in a nice concluding essay and wrap this whole project up?

It turns out that this story doesn’t really have a clear ending.  I wanted to Be Recovered.  But with my perfectionistic, obsessive streak, I began questioning what that even meant.  There are some days now and then when I hate the number on the scale. Those emotions still have nothing to do with my actual weight, but I thought that if the number bothered me could I still call myself “recovered”?  Could I be “recovered” if I don’t feel like eating when the depression has been particularly brutal?  Could I be “recovered” if I go home after a difficult day of teaching and choose a ½ gallon of ice cream rather than a nice, balanced meal?  How could I be “recovered” if I still give in to my emotions and let them determine my actions?

Welcome to the life of a fully recovered individual who lives in the real world full of great days and conflicts and exhaustion and joy and despair and contentment.  An individual who has perfectly healthy reactions to both the good and the bad days.  Sometimes, going with comfort is the best course of action.  I’m not harming myself in any way, and I curl up and sleep with a tummy full of chocolate and wake up and go face what was so horrible (it usually isn’t horrible at all) and rediscover balance.

A recovered person is not a perfect person.  A recovered person is a human person with all the normal daily variations that come with the human experience.

Once I let this sink in, once I realized that I am honestly content (in this one case) with imperfection, the conclusion I had been looking for was finally created.  I think that society needs to hear more stories like this.   The amazingly inspiring individuals who recover and then go on to create significant change in their world are necessary.  The sobering stories of individuals who lost their fights are also necessary.  But most of us fall in the middle.  And the middle, it turns out, is a perfectly fine place to be.


December 17, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. So great, so relatable. This is real life. Thanks for writing again ❤️

    Comment by Musia wilhelm | December 17, 2016 | Reply

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