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.:)

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Diagnosed with an eating disorder...

Before I do anything else, though, I want to post about 2 more things. First, I want to tell you about today. The day I was officially signed off from Trinity College Dublin with an eating disorder, and significant mental health difficulties. The second part of my "diagnosis", if you want to call it that, doesn't affect me half as much as the first part. Because I suppose...mental health difficulties...that implies that psychologically, I am far from healthy - my mind is not well; it needs help.
I know my thoughts are completely messed up. That's nothing new to me. I've known it for a good while. It doesn't shock me any longer.
But...diagnosed with an eating disorder??
 The very sentence fills my eyes with tears. Eating disorder. its a word that connotates, for many people, certain things.
 Being so skinny, the bones of your skeleton protrude out from your body. Eating less than a sparrow would in a day...often, nothing at all. Vomiting. Hating food and gazing into the mirror with the disillusioned gaze of someone who sees their starving, malnourished, haggard body as being fat.

But none of these describe me. Especially, not now.
For all those years when I was sick...I never vomited or used laxatives to control my weight. I never went through a day eating absolutely nothing. I always ate something, even if that something was very small, and, though at my worst point my body certainly was very, very undernourished, I never became so thin that you could count every single one of my bones, or became so weak that I couldn't even muster the strength to rise my head from my pillow or stand up straight. and I knew, I wasn't fat. I could see how underweight I had become. I would pass my hand along my flat belly and realise just how narrow my waist really was. I would look at my shadow in the light from the streetlights, staring at the legs and the arms and the tiny little body...and I would think, yep. I am small. I am thin. My legs are pretty skinny. I was under no illusions as to just how skinny I really was.

But yet...
I did, and still do, have an eating disorder.
And today made me realise that, really and truly. Despite everything I can do, everything I have done...there are remnants of my ED left that I just can't seem to let go, no matter how hard I try. And this, I know, is why I need help. This is why I have been made to leave Trinity.

Today I had to go into Trinity to get some forms signed with my tutor to confirm that I was leaving college. At 6.15 I reluctantly wriggled out from beneath the warm, insulating covers of my bed, shuddering as my bare feet came into contact with the cold floor. Covered with goosebumps, I stood in front of my wardrobe and stared at all the clothes I have. What to wear? Having spent the past 2 weeks in either my comfy PJ bottoms or loose-fitting leggings and a wooly jumper, choosing something "nice" to wear now seemed an odd and unfamiliar thing to me.

And then I saw my little "cat skirt", hanging daintily on the end of the rail, the little black cats which pranced across its pretty cream fabric gazing imploringly back at me with their tiny brown eyes.

I had bought this skirt two years ago when I had been staying with my Granny in Leicester, and my mam's sister had taken me for a little niece-aunty shopping trip in Fosse Park. It's a size six, made of a silky soft material  which reaches to the knee, and is, without a doubt, one of my most treasured and favourite little possessions.

Ever since I started to gain weight, my little skirt was beginning to gradually feel tighter and tighter on my expanding waist. I hadn't worn it for about three weeks but today, since I was actually going somewhere, I thought I would be dress prettily and wear my skirt with my grey top and my red knitted wool cardigan.
It will be tight, I had thought to myself reassuringly as I reached out to take it off its hanger. But I bet it will still fit me. didn't. The button would not do up on the top. In a panic I let it drop to the floor, glancing up at the mirror once more as my eyes welled with sudden, hot tears.

Here was the proof. It was no longer a possibility, a prospect, a thought - something that I knew I should do, that I said I would do. No. I had gained weight, I had gone up a clothes size and here was the proof right in front of me.

And this is the very root of my problem, I guess...
For I know now that I don't want to gain weight...for myself. No. I want to gain weight for my loved ones, all the people who I love and hold dear and who are worried about me. I am gaining weight for them, and because I want to minimise the risk of going into hospital.
 But it is not for myself.
 My Mam says I will never fully recover, if I don't want it for myself. And this is why I am going to get the treatment I need...this is why I have been diagnosed with an eating disorder.

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