There are many fears people have about the idea of recovering. These fears often make people feel conflicted and hesitant about fully committing to recovery. I’m not going to tell you that none of these fears will come true, because that wouldn’t be honest. Many of those fears do come true. The thing is, you’re ALL more capable than you think, so these fears aren’t as hard to handle as you’re telling yourself they will be.
"I won’t know who I am anymore" Is this really such a bad thing? I mean, who with these issues really likes who they are? Losing some sense of self can be an opportunity to rebuild yourself and start over. It’s a chance to get back in touch with the parts of yourself you used to really like.
"I’m going to feel things I don’t want to feel" Again, you already don’t exactly feel great. And you’ve felt this way for how long? You’re tough. Yes, you’re going to bring up painful feelings that your behaviors have been suppressing. Recovery often feels worse before it feels better. That initial misery makes some people say “ok, this isn’t for me” because they don’t realize it’s part of the process. You’re ripping open an old wound so that you can clean and bandage it properly this time.
'I'll miss school/work” You’re going to miss it anyway if you continue down this path. And when you’re living like this, even when you’re physically in class it’s very difficult to be there mentally. Having to catch up is not the end of the world. Graduating late isn’t the end of the world. Taking care of yourself is worth it. And you’ll learn more in recovery than you ever could in school.
"My eating disorder/self harm/addiction is what makes me special/unique" This is one of those lies these vices tell as an act of self preservation. These issues are very common and they usually follow the same patterns, so they are not special. They’re parasites feeding off of you. They’re not you. They’re not what define you. And once you’re free of them you’ll be able to explore new things and get reacquainted with yourself, and learn what actually makes you special.
"I’ll lose all the work I’ve put into losing weight" Ok, so has all this work paid off? Has the weight loss made you happy and made you love yourself? I’m guessing the answer is no. You can keep denying yourself nutrition and keep losing weight, but it will never satisfy that desire to look at yourself and feel content. Eating disorder weight loss never satisfies and it’s never enough.
"I’ll have to gain weight and I wouldn’t be able to deal with that" If you’ve got a good therapist/treatment team, they won’t just be treating the physical side of things. They’re not just going to feed you and feed you and expect you to deal with that. You’ll learn loads of coping skills and self talk and learn to manage your emotions in healthy ways. You’ll develop the tools you need to deal with body image issues. Remember that bodies aren’t all about measurements and weights. They’re about function too. You’ll be gaining energy, strength, healthy sleep, normal body temperature, healthy skin and hair, etc. When I gained my recovery weight, that part was difficult, but I also lost my acne, my skin stopped drying up, my hair got thick and shiny, etc.
"I won’t have a way to cope anymore" Like I said above, you’ll be given many skills to cope. You’ll get replacements for your maladaptive coping mechanisms. Yes, they probably won’t work as well at first. They might not feel like much of anything. One of the biggest lessons you learn is how to sit with emotions. You learn that you don’t have to release every painful emotion, but that you can actually ride out the wave without harming yourself. So you can last long enough to make the healthy coping skills habits and give them long enough to start making a difference. And they really do start making a difference. You just have to give them a chance. It’s easy to look at one and say “no, that would never work for me” without even trying it. Give everything a shot and it can start giving you a clearer idea of what you want out of the skills and narrow down what might help.
Fear doesn’t necessarily mean you need to run the other way. Facing fears can be really satisfying and empowering. The more you let fear decide things for you, the more that fear will grow. Recovery has many terrifying things about it, but try not to let that be your whole focus. It also has many freedoms and releases and joys in it. And YOU have the strength, intelligence, and capability to walk through everything scary about it, endure it, and come out the other side realizing that you’re a badass after all.