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, 17 January 2015
But sometimes, that one phone call which you might or might not be expecting...it becomes so much more than just that. You hear those few wrods on the other end of the phone, and, in the blink of an eye, everything is changed.
Hello, can I speak to Emily, please? Emily Snelgrove?
This is Emily speaking, how can I help you?
Hi Emily, this is Michael, from the admissions department in St. Patrick's Hospital. I'm just calling you to let you know Emily, we have a bed available for you on Monday at 2.30...will you be able to come up to us on that day?
And in that split second...everything was changed.
I had my eating disorder assessment test last Tuesday. It lasted for about three hours. I talked to a psychiatrist and a doctor, both of whom were really lovely, kindly ladies who questioned me about many different aspects of my eating disorder; in particular, how I had felt over the past few months; and the history of the disease which has lived with me, all through my teenage years and the time I had spent as secondary school, and then my first two years of college, right up to the present day.
When we were done, the kind-faced psychiatrist looked me in the eye and quietly began to describe the procedure usually followed when they were admitting a patient to St.Patrick's.
I returned home that afternoon with Mam and Liz, curled up on the back seat of out Nissan X-Trail, my eyes staring out at the cars that zoomed past us on the M50, though not really seeing, or comprehending, anything at all. Even the voices of Mam and my older sister passed over me like ripples on a calm sea. But this time, I wasn't crying. My eyes were dry, my whole body motionless. I felt like a piece of ice - hard, cold, and - for the present moment, anyway - unfractured; whole. But just like those glassy, crystal-like pieces of ice which glisten on the roads and in the fields in the dead of winter - all it takes would be just one more bblow, and that ice will crack. Shattered to pieces, it will bleed, the frozen shards weeping out droplets of moisture as they melt and seep into the earth.
As I replaced the phone upon its stand as Micheal hung up on the other end, my fingers shook violently and I sat down there on the cold tiles of the kitchen, as if my whole body was melting away beneath me; as if my world was, really and truly, crumbling up into nothingness. I cried and cried and cried. All those tears I had held back that day of the assessment; the day when I felt as if I was made of ice. But I'm not. I'm not cold and indifferent and unmovable...rather, I'm the opposite of these things; and if, on that day, I had pretended to myself that there was nothing, after all I had been through, that could break me so painfully again...well, I most certainly was not under any false pretensions now that that was so.
And then Mam's warm arms were around me, one hand gently stroking my hair as she soothingly whispered to me it was ok; everything was going to be alright. "i can't do it, Mam," I sobbed against her shoulder. "I can't do it. I should never have gone to the doctor's that day about my foot. I wasn't happy then, but anything's better than the way things are now. Oh Mam, please, please don't make me go into hospital. Please, Mam, I can't do it, I can't do it. I can't..."
You can, Emmy. You once told me that the ED has robbed you of so, so much. Are you going to let it take away everything? Your willingness to beat this? Everything you love, the life you want to have...your courage and determination to succeed? To find the real Emmy, the Emmy without her eating disorder. Are you going to let the ED take all that away...and steal away all chances for the real Emmy to blossom and grow?
My Mam...my amazing, beautiful, inspiring, wonderful, wonderful Mam. Ever since that day I went to her, wretched and miserable, tear after tear streaming down my face, to pour out the terrible and appalling truth that I, her daughter, had an eating disorder, and had spent the past few years lying to her, deceiving her, keeping secrets from her, builiding wall upon wall around herself and shutting her, and everyone else, out completely so it seemed as if all that was left was a mere shadow, a ghost, of what she once was - ever since that day, she has been there for me, every step of this long, hard, painful, seemingly never-ending journey. She has reached out a hand to me every single time I have fallen, and gently pulled me back up again, and has made me realise that yes...I do want to go on. I do have a chance at recovery, I do deserve to live; I am not a lost case, I am not a failure. That phone call I got yesterday...yes. It has changed everything...but it is a good change. I now have the chance to completely and fully defeat my eating disorder. At St.Pat's, I will be given the care and help I need to eradicate that ED-type fear of gaining any more weight - the weight that my body needs to become healthy and strong once again. At St.Pat's. everything about my eating disorder that I was unable to fix by myself - those ED habits that still lingered despite my very best efforts to remove them; my obsession with exercise;the fears and anxieties that revolve around mealtimes and going up a clothes size...all of those, and more, will be fully dealt with and treated by a team of dedicated, caring, and committed team of health professionals who are specially trained to treat and care for those with eating disorders.
I am no longer afraid. And no, my eating disorder hasn't taken away my courage, my determination; my identity; my sense of who I am and what I am going to fight your eating disorder....you are always going to be a warrior. Just making that crucial, definitive first step, no matter how small it may seem, is something which requires, in itself, immense courage and strength.
I am going to do this for Mam, my family, all my loved ones. I am going to do this for my readers.
And then, one day, I will realise...I need to do this for myself, too. Because that is something that we all need to acknowledge, in recovering from an eating disorder. You have to realise that you DO deserve to live. That you DO deserve to recover. That phone call was made for YOU, noone else. People love you, people want you to be happy...they want you to get better, to be healthy again, to smile again and laugh and reach out and grasp that life you want in both hands.
But noone else can make that crucial, imperative realisation for you..it's YOU who has to sit up now and know it, realise it.
And together, we will be the proof that eating disorders can, and will, be beaten...forever. <3 xxxxxx