Fearfully Recovering

I used to be afraid of recovery. Not so much the action of recovering itself, but more like what happens after the fact. When I am out, on my own, and recovered.

I was fearful.

My life had revolved around this huge elephant in the room that nobody talked about. Some people refused to acknowledge its existence, some knew about it but was unsure what to do about it.

  • What would I do when I wasn’t catering to ED every moment of every day?
  • Who would I be if I wasn’t completely immersed in my eating disorder?
  • Who would I be when ED was no longer able to tell me who I was?

First, I was afraid of letting go of the one thing in my life that was constant. The ridicule and critical comments that came from ED daily, but yet, found comfort in it. I clung to ED because it was what I knew. There was no other way of life, I gave in to every demand ED threw at me. “Run more.” “Eat less.” “Throw that up.” With everything else going on in my life I didn’t have time to slow down or focus on anything besides my disordered habits.

Then, during treatment I feared me.

  • What would I do when I wasn’t acting on ED behaviors?
  • Who would I become?
  • How would I handle it?
  • What would I eat?

I feared everything and nothing simultaneously. Putting my trust in my team and in the process, yet fearing the change and the unknown that laid ahead.

After treatment I feared relapse, but feared gaining weight. Still scared about who I would be and how my life would turn out. I began to cope and try to find balance.

While I feared relapse and being a “failure” at recovery, I also feared doing it well.

I was scared that if I did better people would no longer care about me and some of the people closest to me would kick me to the curb.

I feared rejection.

Fear of being rejected because of my slip ups and relapses and feeling like a disappointment to others.

Also fearful of no longer being cared about or acknowledged.

There are still uncertainties that come with recovery that I question and struggle with. Disordered thoughts and counteracting them are something I haven’t yet mastered. I do know, that I no longer fear the idea of being “normal”. The days I have had without ED are some of the most fun and freeing ones I have had.

The people that I fear will leave me, I have tried to shift that and think about how they want me to get better and not struggle. I want to continue on and make them proud of me. I want them to turn to other people and clients and say something along the lines of, “She has come so far.” “I am so proud of her accomplishments.” “She is doing great.”

I want to recover, without fear.

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One thought on “Fearfully Recovering

  1. My biggest gain in recovery was realizing I wanted so much more for my life. My grandmother who was 80 at the time was down to skin and bones because the doctor told her she “needed to loose a few pounds.” She has cycled through being concerned about her figure as long as I can remember. OCD runs her life. She stood up and her femur fractured from osteoporosis. That was the moment that it occurred to me that if I didn’t find a way out of my ED, I was staring at the rest of my life.

    It was terrifying to let go of because it had defined me for so long that I did not know who I was aside from the voice of ED. I hadn’t heard my own voice in so long, that I could not identify it as a separate thing. I still struggle with wanting to resort to it as a coping mechanism and have slip ups from time to time, but a year or so out from my last relapse, I can say that I fear returning to ED more than I fear being free from it.

    Keep working! You will get there!

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