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, 4 January 2015

Life doesn't get easier. You just get stronger.

And so, a month or so after my counselling appointment, my first exam of my second year of English Studies loomed ominously closer. though my session with the counsellors had served to help me just a little - I no longer felt as drawn to suicide as much as I had beforehand - my eating remained as poor as ever.

My sister came home for the weekend before exam week, having been unable to make the three hour journey for the past two months due to work. I have always been close to my sister, and seeing her walk through the door on that sunlit afternoon of late spring served to both brighten my spirits and bring a delighted smile to my face...a real smile, not the fake one which I usually wore back then, under which I concealed so many secrets and suppressed emotions.

I was so caught up in that fleeting moment of pure and unbroken happiness that I failed to notice the concern that flashed across my sister's face as she opened her arms to wrap me in a warm hug.Looking back at it now, I can pretty much guess at what she was thinking at the moment. Her sister, looking as thin and as frail as ever. Who had always loved to be hugged and to give hugs back...but each and every one of those loving embraces always served to remind Lizzy of how bony I had become.

A few days after her departure, prior to my very first exam, Mam came to me and told me that she wanted to talk to me about something. That something being me and my weight, of course. And suddenly I realised...I didn't want to wear that fake smile anymore. I didn't want to pretend everything was ok when it was, in fact, the opposite. The abnormality of my behaviour around food, my thoughts revolving my weight and body size, my eating patterns and my diet - suddenly and sharply it was all there in front of me, and, instead of just closing my eyes to it all as I had done for the past 8 years, I acknowledged that it was all wrong. It was disordered, and I had an eating disorder, and now was the time to take courage and be brave, and lay everything out in the open.

It's so true to say that having an eating disorder really does twist all logic and sense, and forces you to think, and do, things that don't really have any foundations of reason. As soon as I had revealed to Mam the truth of what I had been doing - behind her back at home, and, of course, when I was away in Dublin, I begged her, in an unstoppable gush of sobs and tears, that she would promise me that she wouldn't make me gain weight. Mam gently told me that that was exactly where the root of my problem lay.

I had proven that I could be strong. Unveiling my eating disorder was one of the most difficult things I had ever, ever done. But I couldn't just stop there. I couldn't just sit around, crying and wringing my hands in guilt, fear, and wretchedness. I had to be even stronger if I wanted to expel those bitter emotions forever, and find happiness again. I knew with certainty it was going to be from easy. But I was, after what seemed like an eternity, finally ready to test my wings and take a leap from the cold, dark cliffs of misery and suffering and despair.

Life doesn't get easier. You just get stronger.
The Mallorca cliffs <3 I am determined that when I return there again in the future, I will be truly, truly free. :)

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