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

The Call.

A phone call...most of the time, it appears to be one of the most banal of things. perhaps it's that really annoying, persistent salesperson who has already rang you about ten times already today, and despite the fact you have told him every single one of those times you are not interested in getting  your front drive redone, the message just wont seem to sink in. It might be a call to your gran to see how she is, and did she win at bingo last night, and how she is faring looking after Tiddles next door while the neighbours are away. Or it might be even just a 20 second exchange with your brother who is ringing to ask you can he borrow your earphones as his own ones seem to have gone missing...again.

But sometimes, that one phone call which you might or might not be 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 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 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'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


  1. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh nooo... :( my huuuuunniiiiiii :( what´s happening? =/ I don´t want to see you struggling :( your words are so beautiful and I love it so much how you write (your style of writing :)) but it honestly breaks my heart to hear you have to deal so hard with going inpatient :( I don´t want you to be sad, stay strong huniiii, I know you and I can do it, we have to believe so much in this :) recovery is so worth it and if you choose hospital sweetie, I really admire you for all of the braveness it takes to go there :))) This is such a big step and if you feel ready for it, then you will win Emmy ;) I have so much hope in you and it is sooo unbeliiiiievably brave of you to do it for your loved ones, and then for you!!!!!!! Such wise words!!!! I hope you know I am ALWAYS here to talk to you my huniiiii :) My ear is always open for you :) I love u so much!!!!! xxx Ange

    1. <3 aww hun <3 my special little friend <3 thank you so, so much for your comment hun <3 <3 <3 I feel alot better now was just the initial shock I suppose hun :( awwww hun thank you so much for your lovely compliments <3 once I wrote this post hun, I felt a million miles better, it really helps me to get all these pent-up feelings out..and then reading your lovely comments hun really, really helps me too, and makes me feel even more determined to hold my head high and take courage and struggle even harder against Miss Mager. Aww hun, you bbeing there for me means the world to me <3 you are such a special and true friend to me hun and I will always, always be here for you too <3 Aww I saw your email too huni, oohh I can't wait to read it awwwwww :* love you loadsssss too huni, thank you so, so much for writing to me hun, you have no idea how much it means to me hun <3 Love you hun :* xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    2. Aaaaaaw *_* Emmy, this goes without saying :) I love u so much and it feels so hard for me to see how you suffer from all of this stuff... I don´t want you to be sad, but I absolutely understand all of your mixed emotional feelings huuunniii :-* It must have shocked you to see your whole life changing again :( I always hardly have to deal with anything little and such a thing really feels strange :( but writing this down helps really so much as you also say, sooo feel always free to also send me a mail or tell me everything that bothers you, I am here for my lovely hunniiiiii :) meeeeans so much to me to here those words from you, too :) it pushes me to know that I have such a special friend by my side in this battle against MISS MAGER!!
      Hihiiii yeeees my maiiil :-* hooooope you like it ;) I am also sending you some pics in the next days if you like to? :) and I will also looooooook forward now to your next mail huniii ;) can´t wait for it *_* maybe you wanna send me some pics, too? =) aaaah and what I also wanted to tell you, your post about Ireland is soooo amazingly nice and really touched me :) great jooob :) stay strong now Emmy, I know you can do it in Dublin, you already came so far and now you will be able to reach the top :) I am so sure of this ;) Love u so much xxxx Ange <3

    3. awwwww hun <3 <3 <3 thank you so, so much hun, your lovely words never fail to touch my heart <3 I am going to email you tomorrow huni, I am so sorry I am late with it, but I am definitelyyyyy going to email my special little friend in Augsburg tomorrow <3 awww hun I would absolutely love to see your pics!! And of course I will send you some hun !!

      Aww thanks hun!! I hope it has made you even more determined to beat Miss Mager and then come over to ireland tovisit me hun ;) <3 and we will hun <3 you know, being in hopsital hun, has proved to me that I really have made so, so much progress in the past year. I know I can be strong!! I am eating all my meals and doing everything which I need to do. I suppose hun, bbeing here will just help me get rid of some of the habbits which Miss Mager still has stuck on me - overexercising, not putting enough on your plate at dinner, and so on.

      Awww hun and I have every faith in you hun, I really really do. I knew from when I first got to know you...that you are going to beat this, hun. You were born a fighter and your bravery and strength never ceases to amaze and inspire me. keep up the good work hun I know you can do it <3 lots and lots of love hun <3 xxxxx

    4. Cuuuuuuuutie *_* Aaaaaw I already received your beautiful, inspiring and super nice Email hunii ;) I will as sooooooooon as possible respond to it :) I´m sorry, I have so much work for university at the moment, but I try my best =) it is so full of lovely words :)
      Oh yeees this absolutely is one of my recovery goals!!!!!!!! It pushes me so much, hoping that I will meet you so soon ;)
      Oh this makes me so happy to hear, that you finally get to see what a strong and brave girl you are and how much you already reached on your way to health!! :) I am so proud of you!I wish you all the luck of the world and I am so sure you will make it the best you can :) I am so proud of you realizing what you need !!! <3
      Awwww hun :-* your words really honestly touched me, that you have so much hope and faith in me <3 I love u so much and I feel very proud to know you!!! xxx Lots of love from Bavaria :-* Ange

      Ah by the way I love you doing the Positive Recovery Challenge, you inspire my every day with the lovely things you write hunniiiiii :-*

    5. Awwwww don't hurry at all huni there is absolutely NO rush whatsoever hun ;) oh yes hun, without a doubt, it is a dream that I am so, so determined to realise hun, meeting Ange for real <3 my special, Nutella-loving little friend from Augsburg!! ;) You are such a dear and unique friend to me hun, don't ever forget that <3 awww thank you hun, so much , I am so glad they are of a help to you hun, and maybe you can apply them to yourself too hun, as I know how similar we are in our little ways ;) xxxxxxxxxxxxx

    6. Aaaaaw Sweetie, I really really DO want to answer your lovely little email as soon as possible!! ;) I only have the problem that I have 4 tests this week and aaaaah learning is so boring and exhausting :( but I will take the time to answer you nice email in detaaaaaaaail as fast as I can :) Never forget how much you mean to me hunniiii :-* knowing you is so special for me <3
      Hahaaaa this sounds so cute *_*
      and you can be my special Hot-Choc-loving cute friend from Mountmellick :) this is cute isn´t it? :)
      Oh yeees, I also try to imagine those challenges for myself, this helps a lot, and seeing those of you always reminds me of how to keep it going :) Aaaaw today I already munched on a "Quarktasche", do you know it? :) just some baking inspiration for you hunniiiiii :-* it is kind of a sweet curd pastry and you can get it in the bakery here in Germany ;) OMG I can tell you it was deeeliiiiiiii *_* Love u so much and I hoopoe so much you are doing well at St. Pat´s ? :) xxxxxxxxxxxx

    7. Awww don't you worry at all hun there is absolutely NO rush whatsoever huni ;) you take your time hun I know how busy you are ;) aww yes hun you can think of me as that heehee that is an adorable name for me hun! ;)

      oooh hun that sounds yummmyyyy <3 I also am challenging myself plenty here hun :o there are alot of foods hun that I have eaten here which I wouldn't really have at home - I would say that "I don't mind them " but I still didn't really eat them, so to speak. Today hun I had a savoury puff pastry with goat's cheese and roast vegetables...ooohhhh it was yummmyyy hun ;) and yesterday I had coleslaw for the first time EVER ;) so you see hun you are motivating me loads hun ;) hopefully this will help you feel braver too hun ;) <3 we CAN and WILL kick Miss Mager up the butt :D

      Nooo I have never heard of that now hun ;) I may look it up and bake it as part of the National Bakery!! ;)

      Awww love you so so much too huni :* ooh hun I will tell you everything in my next email hun <3 lots and lots of love hun <3 xxxxx

  2. Emily, you are incredible. I cannot imagine how hard this must be for you, not only to go through, but also to write about. That is actually one of the things I love most about your blog: you don't pretend that life in recovery is all sunshine and rainbows and pretty food dishes. Instead you really give a raw account of how hard it is and how hard you have to fight. Yet your attitude and your drive is so inspiring.

    What struck me most about this post is how brave you are. Remember that bravery doesn't mean not being afraid, it means going ahead and pushing on DESPITE that fear. It's ok to cry, it's ok to break down and it's ok to feel like you would rather go back to being sick, anything but this scary path ahead of you. Yet the fact that you pulled yourself together and decided that you need to do this and you are going to give it your best shot, that is the DEFINITION of bravery. I know you don't see it, but you are an incredibly strong person. I consider myself so so lucky to have stumbled across your blog. I am mostly recovered (weight restored but still have a bit of a way to go mentally), but every time I think that something I do might be slightly related to ED I think about how much harder you have it right now and how determined you are to get there. You're an inspiration. So please know, as you face this scary path ahead, that you have touched my life (and I'm sure many others). You are so genuine and are a VERY talented writer (seriously, your post on Ireland should be a travel brochure!) and no matter what you choose I'm sure you have a wonderful future ahead of you. So if you need a reason to fight for yourself, remember that. Remember that you have the power to change the world for someone and to make a difference. And that is so much more important than any ED.

    Sorry that this comment is very rambling! Unlike you I am NOT a writer and not sure exactly how to phrase my thoughts in writing. I just wanted you to be able to go into hospital knowing that you inspire people and that we are all rooting for you! But also, remember that just because you're such a strong person and just because we all look up to you DOESN'T mean you have to be strong all the time. Many of us know how hard this step can be. It's totally ok to fall backwards some times or to have off days or to get angry and fight recovery. It's not the number of times you fall that matters, it's the number of times you get back up and keep fighting. We're all behind you all the way.

    And finally (to make this post even more rambling haha), I wanted to share with you the best recovery tip I was given. When I started recovery I thought I was committed to it. Yet when my nutritionist suggested adding ice cream every day to get extra calories in I thought it was too hard so I started with yogurt every few days, then more regularly etc. Then someone told me how silly that was. That if I wanted to recover I had to commit 100% to recovery. I had to truly accept that what the professionals told me was in my best interest and that they knew best and just DO IT, no matter how hard it was. So I did. When I was told to eat ice cream every day I did. And yes, there was a TON of anxiety at first, but then it got easier. Same with other fear foods. No matter what I was told to do, I did it. And for me, that worked. I should mention that I am a very all-or-nothing person so that technique might not work for everyone, but just something to keep in mind as you go ahead. But obviously everyone is different and I am in no way qualified to give advice! But remember that your medical team is there for YOU.

    Keep smiling girlie and don't give up! You can do it!

    1. <3 <3 <3 Oh, Thank you so, so, SO much!! These lovely, lovely words really made me want to cry..I am just so, so touched by your kindness, I can't even begin to thank you enough <3 <3 <3 where do I begin, even, to respond in such a way to this lovely comment which would properly express my gratitude and how touched I am? firstly, thank you so, so much for such lovely compliments..I can honestly say I realy don't think I am worthy of them, but thank you so, so much, you have made me feel a hundred times better and have made me want to weep with happiness - honestly, that's how much your words mean to me. The thought that I have touched the lifes of others in the way you speak of...that fills me with hope and a new determination to beat this awful ilnness for good. I never ever considered that my writing (or photgraphy skills!! ;) ) were remarkable in any kind of way. You have made me feel so, so much better - about myself, my situation, evrything. I will never, never be able to thank you enough, please believe me when i say that <3 and you write so, so well, and you express yourself so beautifully, so please don't think otherwise. You have really brightened my day through your omment and i want you to know that <3

      Thank you so, so much for your tip too. It is wonderful!!! I am just so, so ful of admiration for you - for your insight, your bravery and strength in overcoming your own ED, and of course, your kindness and thoughtfulness in taking the time to write such a lovely, meaningful comment <3 I will most certainly bear your advice in mind, I promise you that <3 once again, I just want to thank you personally from the heart - your words mean more than the world to me, and I really am so, so grateful to you. Thank you, thank you, thank you so, so much <3 best wishes and lots of love from Ireland <3 xxxxxx

  3. Also (same Anonymous as above and a few other comments!) I would REALLY like to send you a little something from over here to cheer you up, but I'm not sure how to go about it! No one other than my family and my best friend knows about my ED so I'm cautious about putting my name online in case someone I know were to see it. Do you have an address that you are willing to give (or a way of sending a private message so I can ask you and tell you who I am as well)? But if you're not comfortable with that I totally understand!

    1. <3 oh, you are so, so lovely...that is so, so incredibly sweet of you <3 can I give you my email address? It is I absolutely can't wait to hear from you <3 thank you so so so much, once again, I can't properly express how much this means to me <3 hope you have a lovely day, thank you so, so much for brightening up mine <3 xxxxxxxxxx

  4. Your beautiful and dazzling writing surprises me and captivates me more each time.
    And, about the whole rest... I've run out of words.
    You're so honest with yourself and the world, so sharp with the reality and at the same time so encouraging.

    I really believe you are going to get out of this. And I am sure that you chose the right way to do it: by supporting on your loved ones and by asking for help to the ones who truly know how to help you.

    From the heart of the one in here, good luck and all the strength in the world

    1. <3 Mucho, mucho gracias Ira hun <3 xxxxxxxx