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Why I’m Scared to Go Home After Eating Disorder Treatment

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Editor's Note

If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.

To my family, my friends, my support system:

Next week (at time of writing), I come home after over 10 weeks of eating disorder treatment and I’m scared. I’m scared to be coming home, which I know might be confusing to you. Don’t get me wrong; I’m excited to see you all, to sleep in my own bed, but I’m scared too. Why? Because I’m going home a healthier, happier person, but I don’t know how to be that person at home yet.

Truth be told, there’s a part of me scared I can’t be. I’m also scared because I don’t want to fail — I don’t want to fail myself or fail at recovery and a part of me is also scared that, if I’m not all better, I’ll be failing you. You all did so much and went so far above and beyond to make it possible for me to go to treatment. You have done everything in your power to allow me the chance to “get better” — and I am doing better, but I also hope you know that’s not the same thing as cured. To be totally honest, I’m scared that when I still struggle from time to time or if I struggle a lot, I’ll be letting myself and you down. After all you’ve done for me, the last thing I want to do is let you down. When those thoughts are racing through my mind like a broken record, I’m left uncertain and scared. I so want you to feel like the sacrifices you made to support me in coming to treatment were worth it because it was worth it, and I couldn’t have done this without you.

I’m also scared because as weird as it may sound, it feels lonely to leave treatment. For the past 10 weeks, I’ve had people available to help me fight this illness 24 hours a day, seven days a week and after years of trying to fight this on my own, that was a tremendous relief. For once, I didn’t have to fight the eating disorder, the thoughts, the debilitating anxiety on my own the majority of the day. Having others to help me do it all hours of the day was a tremendous gift. Leaving that behind is scary and hard.

Finally, I’m scared because I’m uncertain. I’ve never done this before and I don’t know what it looks like to go home to a healthier version of me — and sitting with uncertainty does not come naturally to me. I so wish I knew I could do it. I think I can — I know my team thinks I’m ready — but that shadow of a doubt, of “what if,” is terrifying to me.

What I guess I’m trying to say is, I don’t know how to do this and I’m scared. What I do know is that it will not go perfectly and that’s OK. I can’t promise it will go smoothly or it will be easy. What I can promise you is honesty and that I will keep fighting this illness. I also know I don’t have the words to tell you just how deeply I appreciate your support these past 10 weeks. What I need from you as I come home is patience and gentle reminders that it’s OK to be scared. This is a process, and bumps along the way are a part of that process.

Photo by Eddie Kopp on Unsplash

Originally published: May 28, 2019
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