At first glance it might seem that I am just a happy, normal girl who loves to bake and walk her dog. However, I have suffered with an eating disorder since I was 13. It was only in May 2014 when I realised that this Voice in my head was slowly but surely trying to kill me. And so began the long, hard, and painful journey which is recovery...

I want My Cocoa Stained Apron to be a special place...a place for reflection, memories, shared stories...and of course a little bit of cocoa-staining ;) Recovery might be the hardest thing you ever choose to do in this life. But it is also the bravest and best decision you will ever make.:)

Sunday, 24 August 2014

I think...I think that is what I really thought, back then...

In one of my recent posts I talked a lot about some of the suicidal thoughts I had when I was sick…I also touched briefly on some of the thoughts and habits linked directly to my ED which essentially corrupted my relationship with food and resulted in obsessive and unhealthy attitudes towards my body and my eating. It would be impossible for me to really give a full account of everything I thought and did, as there were just so many different little things and it all went on for so, so long, and before I started writing My Cocoa-Stained apron, I deliberately tried to make myself forget them, because I was ashamed and repulsed by the way I used to be; and was adamant that I was abnormal…but now, I feel differently, of course. I realise that I had a disease, and that this disease is something which affects the lives of so many people out there, and, though for sure each case is different, a lot of what I thought and experienced back then is very similar to what many others did and still do, too. 
The thing that I did which probably caused me the most damage was the meal-skipping. I only really started doing this when I went to college, of course, with family meals being such an important part of the routine at home, I suppose before I left it to study I didn’t really consider not having three regular meals a day - the thought never really occurred to me. But when I went to college I was out on my own, and, as I mentioned before, meals became nothing but a burdensome chore. 
I was still cooking away as this went on, of course, and I can’t say I didn’t always not eat, because that is not true, either. I would often found to be making lovely little meals for my family at the weekend which only required popping in the oven before eating, to save my Mam, who worked alot in the week, to have to go to the bother of cooking when she came in from work. The evenings my roommate was there, I would cook for the two of us. But it was when I was on my own that I didn’t eat, or, if I did, it would be the smallest amount possible. It usually would be something which needed using up - say if the milk in the fridge had a bad sell-by-date, I would have a small bowl of cereal or porridge or something, telling myself that That’s just enough for me, I don’t need anything else…that will do me fine until tomorrow. And then a few hours later when I climbed into bed I would realise that my stomach felt empty and there was a feeling there that was probably verging on the edge of starvation, but of course I didn’t allow myself to recognise that it was. I remember always suppressing the urge to say, or even the very thought that, I’m hungry. Ignoring that very feeling became just another one of my everyday habits.
Of course I knew if my mam or my sister or any of my friends or family knew what I was doing - if they knew exactly what and how much I was eating - I knew, at the back of my mind, how shocked they would be. But still I wouldn’t change. I felt secure in the knowledge that I wasn’t an anorexic. It’s ok, what you are doing is perfectly normal…you’re just watching what you are eating, right? You don’t puke up after eating; you don’t weigh yourself every day; you donm’t use laxatives or look in the mirror and cry bbecause you think you are fat when you are not. No, you’re just like every other girl, Em…perhaps a little bit skinnier than most, yes, but I think that’s just my natural build. And I made up other reasons in my head that served to make my behaviour appear, to me, okay, I suppose. You see, though I was tired all the time and my body felt weak and exhausted and drained…I could still function. And weirdly enough, I didn’t ever seem to get sick: like, physically sick. It was very rare that I got a cold or a flu or anything like that: even if my whole family came down with a cold in the winter, for instance, you could almost guarantee that I would not get it. And so this acted to further convince me that I was healthy and normal; and that everything was just ticking along just fine. (This still perplexes me a good bit; how I seemed so immune to contagious stuff when I was sick. I wonder if it was perhaps because I ate quite a good bit of fruit…often I would, instead of eating a proper meal, have an apple or a banana instead. So maybe my immune system was good, with all the vitamin C. But it’s a pity I didn’t realise that my body was desperately crying out for alot more than just that one vitamin…for in starving myself, of course, I was depriving it of so many other vital nutrients and forever contributing to the endless cycle of weight loss.
There were so many, many habits and tendencies which I had, which to me at the time were perfectly acceptable, but which I know now can be fully linked to the behaviour and symptoms associable with an ED. And so much deception, too. I’ll tell you a bit more about these two things in my next post.

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