What would people think of me if they knew I was going to rehab?

By Odette Cressler, 28

Admitting that you need help is not easy. Especially when you are a bit of a control freak and you feel like “you’ve got this” ALL THE TIME.

When I checked into a rehabilitation center for eating disorders, I had been sick for a while. It had been almost a decade of struggle and I was at a point where a lot of things in my life were in a downward spiral. It was time.

It had probably been time for a while but since I still appeared to be healthy on the outside, it was easy to continue with my facade. Not to mention that when you have an eating disorder, even though you know you will be better off without it, you actually dread being without it. Your eating disorder becomes your number one distraction, hobby and stress releaser. It helps you NOT focus on things that you don’t want to have to deal with or confront. Deep down I knew, that the moment I decided to get help, I would have to face many things that I had been avoiding for many years.

I did know something though. I was so freaking tired. I was mentally drained and I knew that I did not want to continue living with such exhaustion. I’ve always been an optimist and I remember thinking to myself: “I am so young, I can’t imagine living another decade like this. This is not making me happy.”

With eating disorders comes a lot of shame. The idea of checking into a treatment center made think that I would have to add more shame to my already-full-of-shame-backpack, therefore, I was scared. What would people think of me if they noticed I was going to rehab? Would my husband find me less attractive? Would they make me get fat? What was going to happen with my job? All of these questions roamed my mind before getting help. I was so worried about external factors and was most definitely not asking myself the right questions.

Ultimately it was my marriage and my idea of a happy future that led me to face my fear and finally seek help. It was a hard decision to make and it took a lot of courage but deep down I knew I wasn’t meant to live suffering (nobody is!).

I held on tightly to my “why” and I showed up every day for about thirty five days. I met amazing people and I learned a lot about myself. The thought of being done with treatment was actually harder than being in it. Being released into the real world where you know you will encounter challenging instances again and again without your treatment team to support you. Being done also brought an entire set of new expectations linked to fear: I have to be able to stay in recovery now, I can’t let down everyone by relapsing. Fear will always be present but you can’t allow it to paralyze you.

Choosing recovery was hard. It still is on some days. But it was so worth it. I’ve been in recovery for over three years and I can 100% assure anyone who is struggling with something similar that there is hope. Not only that but that they deserve a shot at recovery. The people who love you will be there for you and more importantly, you will learn to love yourself and to value your life.

Today, I have a beautiful family and a life that is not perfect, but that I love. I try to serve others by helping them embark on a self-care journey through my project called “The Harmony Tribe” where I help people achieve their health, fitness and wellness goals, the healthy way.

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