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.:)

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

My journey.

Like many ED started off as something small. So small, that noone, and especially not myself, could have ever suspected anything was amiss. And just like the little crack in the windowscreen that soon, after taking hit after hit, becomes a dangerous and jagged fissure of broken glass; just like that tiny weed that grows and grows in the garden and chokes the life out of the dainty, fragile little flowers; just like that seemingly innocent little mass of cells in the human body which silently yet steadily develops into a tumour, unbeknownst to everyone, until the internal corruption within becomes so serious it begins to manifest itself on the body....just like all of those, so too did my ED grow and develop and evolve.

I remember my first few weeks of secondary school as clearly and as vividly as the day I moved away from home to start at college. And there are certain things, certain moments which in particular project out in my memory.

As a child in primary school, my existence was an entirely blissful one of idyllic and unbroken happiness. And boy did I eat. Like many little girls my age, I had a good appetite and was always hungry. I would get grumpy if dinner wasn't on time and would sulk if Mammy neglected to buy my favourite chocolates at the supermarket. I would squeal in delight at the sight of an ice cream van and would wolf down my sandwiches without thinking at recess, so eager was I to get outside and play with my friends, but knowing that first and foremost I had to eat the lovingly prepared packed lunch my Mammy had made for me. But then....then all of that changed.

Something broke inside me when I started at the Brigidine in September 2006. Something was lost...which I still, no matter how hard I try, can't seem to be able to replace. Suddenly I started to see myself in an entirely different way...and my diet, too. I was aware, painfully aware of what I ate; what everyone else ate; what she looked like and how slim she was...what I looked like and how my body shape stood in comparism. And what I saw and how I reacted had negative - and, as I realise now, destructive - consequences.

Over the past few days I've chartered it all...right from that autumn when my ED first started...right up till today, the day I was officially signed off from Trinity College Dublin. In my next few posts I will share my journey with you, as truthfully and as accurately as I can. I just want to show you a few easy it is to be fooled by appearances...and by yourself, telling yourself that you are ok when you are anything but. The extent to which an eating disorder can have such horrible and devastating effects of the lives of the sufferer and all those he or she holds dear.
 It all stands as a sad and rather painful reminder to me...of just how long I have been entrapped in a world of fear, anxiety, restriction, suffering. But at least I am in a better place now. I don't ever, ever want to go back...and though I am still finding things hard I know I am more of a tough cookie then I first thought.
 As my counsellor told me today, when I described how, the day of my last doctor's appointment, it felt as if my whole world had been shattered into shards; shards which I would never be able to retrieve and piece back together again. "A world did fall apart, Emily...the one you have been living in for all those years of your illness. But now it's time to step from the ruins of that old world and start anew..and enter a different one of hope and possibility. " And so here is my journey from one world to the other. A journey which still continues as I navigate my way along the rocky, bumpy road that is recovery. But a journey upon which - I relaise now - I am no lonely, frightened, uncertain little traveller...for I know now I am never alone. <3

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