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.:)

Saturday, 10 January 2015

As the autumn leaves changed and fell around me, so too did my own world.

It was October 2014 which I see as the next most important chapter in my recovery from my eating disorder. I was now in the third year of English Studies, weighed about 38 kg, and my waist was still trim enough to fit into size clothes, or even a small 8. But my body had changed since may 2014, when I was at my lowest ever weight since I had became ill. My face was fuller, for one thing, having lost that gaunt, angular look. My waist had expanded, my belly was no longer as flat as a board. I could no longer feel the ribs if I ran a hand along my torso; my hipbones didn't protrude from my pelvis. And I felt, so much more better. To me, everything seemed, well, relatively bright and rosy. I was convinced, without one scrap of a doubt, that I had recovered from my eating disorder. I almost felt...invincible. I promised myself that I would never, ever go back to the dark, suffocating place where I had been before, and that I would never try to lose weight ever again. I had come so, so far, I believed, from the thin-as-a-rake 19-year-old who couldn't go through a day without skipping a meal, walking for about two hours at breakneck speed through the city streets, and who would cry if she believed that she had eaten too much chocolate. That was me, I had thought to myself, bursting with pride and a newfound happiness. Was. But now I have discovered for myself who I really am, and I will never lose that to an eating disorder ever again.

What I didn't seem to take into account, though, was the fact that, despite all the achievements and improvements I had made, there were still many small and barely noticeable habits and behaviours which I had, which, looking back on them now, were most certainly obsessive and unhealthy in their nature, and which testify that, on the contrary, I was far from being fully recovered. For example...I still insisted on walking for about 90 minutes a day. And if something occurred which meant I didn't get this exercise done...well, that would mean anxiety, irritability, and a firm resolution to "make up" for that less time spent exercising on a day which I had more time to do so. And then of course there was my weight. I had gained, but I was still underweight...but as far as I was concerned, I didn't need to gain anymore. I was out of danger, right? I was no longer dangerously thin. Nothing at all was wrong. I could walk miles and miles without feeling any pain or discomfort or tiredness whatsoever, I never ever got colds or temperatures or viruses, I was never even cold - in fact, quite the opposite, I was always warm and would be walking around in a t-shirt when everyone else would be huddled up in wooly jumpers. I was perfectly healthy, I told myself reassuringly. I was over my ED, and there was absolutely nothing wrong with me.

 Even though I still hadn't even had one period.
 Even though I was still underweight, and my Mam, despite having told me that she was so, so proud of me for having made so much progress since May, was constantly reminding me that she still maintained that I was too skinny, and that I would look much better if I gained a bit more weight.
 Even though I still couldn't really concentrate, focus on anything for long periods of time. Even though I was, unconsciously, constantly thinking about food...fretting just in case Mam gave me a large piece of fish at dinner, hoping Daddy would remember to offer to make me hot chocolate before bed - for if he didn't, of course, I certainly wouldn't bother to make myself one instead - ; ruminating on how much peanut butter I should spread on my toast at breakfast on any particular morning.

Even though I was still afraid, to gain any more weight...I believed I had reached my healthy set point. I had made myself a new world, a world which, unbeknownst to me, was still one which I was in the control of an eating disorder. A world in which I felt comfortable, safe, and happy. I was oblivious to its imperfections; to me, it was my everything, and there was absolutely nothing about it which I desired to change.

But then, in autumn 2014, something happened which changed everything; which destroyed this ideal little world in which I blissfully inhabited forever. Having reluctantly attended my college doctor over an injured foot, I was officially diagnosed with an eating disorder in November 2014, and subsequently forced to drop out of college. And, once again, the world which I had constructed for myself had been torn apart in front of my very eyes; eyes which cried tear after tear of desperate wretchedness as I stood and fully acknowledged the error of my ways, and that I was, after everything I had done and overcome and dragged myself through, in the grip of an eating disorder.

But autumn leaves do change, and fall, and break apart forever. And then winter comes and everything seems barren. But then, those very same leaves will, having been turned into humus by the nature's natural processes, provide the vital nutrients needed to make new plants grow.

And in the same old world did change, fall apart. But from those little broken pieces that remain, another world, fresh and beautiful and new, can be grown. I just need to nurture it, allow it to bloom and blossom and flourish, just like the snowdrops that are now pushing their tender little shoots through the hard ground beneath the eucalyptus tree in my garden. :)


  1. This is such a beautiful post!! Especially the end :) Often with an ED you think you're doing ok, that everything is alright but its when we move forward I think that we realise how sick we really are... But I am so happy that you have realised this and they it did turn out the way it did, though I know it was very hard. But if it weren't for that you could be still trapped and thinking there was nothing to be changed. You can't have a rainbow without a little rain :)

    1. Oh, Olivia <3 you are so sweet and lovely, thank you so, so much for this meaningful, beautiful comment <3 I agree entirely with everything you say. I realise now just how wrong I was, and that there is still alot of work for me to do. Recovery is not as simple as many think. It's not just gaining weight as we both know - there is so much more than needs to be fixed than just that.

      That is so true hun <3 thank you so much for helping me to feel so much better about this Olivia :) your comments mean the world to me hun, thank you so much <3 xxxxx

  2. Awww :) theres really no need to thank me :) I enjoy helping people a lot so its not so much effort but my wish to help out any way I can :)

    1. <3 I wouldn't feel right for not thanking you hun <3 you are just amazing and the advice and help you give me has much such an enormous difference to me. You help me every day in so many ways you might not even realise - but honestly, it's true. You are such a true and special friend hun <3 xxxxx