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, 28 February 2015
An ordinary morning, for me, I suppose. I was taking Benny for our customary walk, along the country lanes near my home. It was autumn and the leaves were falling from the trees - dazzling flashes of colour that swirled and soared their way elegantly to the ground, as free as birds upon the wing. I felt like that, too. Walking with my Benny, I always felt a sense of glorious, sweet freedom. Out here, there was nothing and nobody I could compare myself to, The world of Trinity was a distant speckle at the back of my mind. All that mattered here was the feel of the ground beneath my feet, the gentle kiss of the autumn sun on my face, the sweet twittering of birdsong, the whisper of the breeze in the branches of the trees.
Finally, my pockets now completely devoid of dog treats for my beautiful soft-eyed spaniel, I clipped the lead on Benny and turned around to head back home.
And it was then when I realised...that something was wrong. There was a twinge, an ache in my right foot which hadn't been there before. My fluid, swift movement suddenly turned into one which was bordering on a limp. I felt confused. What had I done? perhaps it was just a minor strain. It would probably be gone by the time I reached home. Arming myself with this confidence, I fearlessly strode on.
But by the time I got home, the ache was still there. In fact, it had got worse.
I ignored it for the next two weeks, hobbling around Trinity with my books and other essentials in my arms; sneaking around the house at home in the hope that Mam wouldnt notice my visible limp, Finally, I broke the truth to my Mam and she encouraged me to go to the doctor's at Trinity, which was free for all students. I didnt want to go, of course, but one Friday I finally plucked up the courage and dragged myself down to the small clinic at the further end of Trinity. I was reluctant to go, I suppose, because I suspected the doctor would advise me to rest and curtail my walking for the time being. Something I - or perhaps I should say my eating disorder - wasn't prepared to allow me to do.
A few hours later, I emerged from the clinic with tears streaming down my face. Blindly I stumbled out of Trinity and off down Dame Street, heading straight for the station for the 16.25 train. I only just caught it, because I was alot slower with my aching, sore right foot. I found myself a seat at the back and wept, silently and bitterly, immersed in my own melancholy, oblivious to everyone and everything around me.
It seemed like my whole world had come crashing down.
The doctor had said that I was very underweight. That he was almost certain that I had an eating disorder. I had got blood tests done and had been weighed as well...he said he would have the results of the blood tests for me in about two weeks time. I felt confused, frightened, and utterly wretched. No, he is wrong, I whispered to myself defensively. That's not me. I dont have an eating disorder. I gained weight over summer, all by myself. I eat regularly and I only walk around, I'm no anorexic. He is wrong, he is wrong. I lost my eating disorder months ago. That was the past. It is no longer part of me.
Wednesday, 25 February 2015
On Monday, I received from my doctor the results of the bone scan that I had got done a couple of weeks after rmy admission into hospital. When I had gone for the scan at a clinic in the city, I barely even thought about the reason and purpose of such a scan, and what its results would actually determine. I just went straight in, laid on my back and side as the boxy apparatus went over my head taking pictures, and then came straight back out of the clinic again, feeling an odd sense of relief at the fact that yet another unpleasant procedure was over and done with - one less thing to worry about; after all; I could move to to the next obstacle. It was only the few days before the scheduled date for when I would get my results, I began to feel...anxious. could I..could there be something wrong? No, surely not. Me! It will never happen to me. I was never extremely underweight. I always ate something, never nothing. I was never...I don't and didn't have, anorexia. I'm safe.
I started writing this post today, with a clear intention in my mind. I don't think I am that great at giving advice...but I felt compelled to write this today, to reach out to you with my message. The message being this...please, please, please...don't ever hide from the real truth. If you have an eating disorder, seek help and seek help now. Don't ever fool yourself into thinking that it does not matter, you are not worth it, you don't need help or that your eating disorder isn't that bad or it doesn't exist.
Never forget...just how bad it might get, if you choose to remain silent and not face up to the real truth.
Never forget just what it might do to you, what it might take away from you.
Then and now...it's been with me for as long as I can remember. :'(
I've just been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis, at 20 years old.
This is the price I pay I suppose...for letting that voice stay with me, for just about 9 years.
And I did know...I did know, that all the restriction, the skipped lunches and breakfasts, the throwing away of food because I was too afraid to eat it, the overexercising, the constant self-monitoring and recording of every single little crumb that I would place on my mouth...I did know, deep down, that it was all so very, very, wrong. But I prioritised my ED, over the muffled voice of my conscience at the back of my brain. The concern in Mam's eyes and she hugged me goodbye before I headed off for another week at college and whispered in my ear to make sure I eat well and keep safe.
I did hide away from the truth, for so many, many years...it was only last year when I decided to make that change. But by then it was too late, for my bones, anyway. My bone scan has revealed that I have had osteoporosis for several years at this stage.
And though osteoporosis is treatable, my bones won't ever be the same, ever again.
So please, please, please...don't ever close your eyes to the real truth. The real, cold, hard truth. If you think you might have an eating disorder ( I might do my own post about how to identify whether or not you have an eating disorder), seek help. Don't do what I did. Don't wait until it is too late. For that is exactly what the Voice in your head wants you to do. It wants to hold onto you, cling onto you, until your very last breath.
Sunday, 22 February 2015
I was no better...No wiser, no less sick, no freer from my Eating Disorder. The first couple of months of second year passed relatively well. Relatively. At least I ate proper meals, frugal as they might be. But after Christmas, things took a turn for the worse again. I became isolated and depressed...and that of course compelled me to turn to restriction and overexercise once more.
But then, in May of that year, something happened...something clicked deep inside me. I finally realised the truth which I had been denying for so many, many years. You have an eating disorder Emmy. You need to do something about it, right now...you need to destroy that Voice in your head before it destroys you...
What did I do...? I made the very first step in what was to be journey towards recovery from my restrictive eating disorder. I told my Mam. I told her everything of what I had done, the thoughts and mindset that dominated my head, the feelings, the fear, the anxiety...everything. And she understood me, and she held me tightly in her arms as I cried and she told me that she still loved me, despite all the lies and the deceit and the failures. And she told me that we were going to beat this thing, together.
Don't ever, ever think that you have to suffer alone. <3
Looking back on it now brings happy, bittersweet tears to my eyes.It was the first summer since 2006 in which I didn't feel compelled to restrict and eat as little as possible. I gave my all into getting better...to enjoying food and life again.
I knew it had been a close call, and that, in some respects, I was lucky to be alive...
And I did gain weight, this summer. My face began full and bright once again, my stomach and waist expanded, the rib and hipbones which had once protruded from my body no longer were so painfully visible. I put weight on around my torso, waistline, stomach and waist. And I was, really and truly, so, so happy and proud. I thought that I had beaten my eating disorder. I thought my problems were over.
But what I didn't realise was...my eating disorder was still part of me, part of my identity. And I was still unconsciously being controlled by it, in numerous aspects of my life. I had made enormous progress. I had faced a massive proportion of my fears and had overcome many of my demons...but yet, some still remained. Instead of climbing to the very top of that mountain, where I could finally gaze upon that glorious view with a true, genuine smile upon my face...I stopped halfway along the slope, and mistakenly assumed this was as far as I could go. And it was beautiful, at that little spot halfway up the mountain..but there were still so many rocks and stones which I was almost oblivious to until they fell and knocked me down along with them. It was not until October, a few months later, that the real truth hit me, hard. It was one of the most difficult days of my life...that day at the doctor's in October 2014 when they told me I was still suffering from an eating disorder, and that my struggle for recovery was still far from over.
Five months later, here I am...but I know I will never stop fighting. :)
If you want to read more of this chapter of my journey to recovery, here are some more of my older posts:
- My Journey My thoughts as I looked back on my journey as a whole so far.
- Diagnosed with an Eating Disorder My thoughts and feelings the day I was signed off from Trinity, shortly after eing diagnosed with an eating disorder by my doctor.
- Don't Suffer Alone Choosing to reach out.
- 2014...the year when everything changed. Looking back on 2014.
- It was the end of my old world... My reflections on the period between January 2014 and May of that year, the point at which my eating disorder was at its worst.
- Life doesn't get easier. You just get stronger. What I think finally compelled me to acknowlge that I was suffering from an eating disorder.
- I’m not fat, but…I don’t need to gain weight, right? My thoughts on the distorted way of thinking I recall from when I was very sick.
- College, leaving home, and realisation. The impact leaving home and college life had on my eating disorder.
Friday, 20 February 2015
It continuously takes away...it never gives anything back. And for the ED, it will never, ever be enough. It whispers soothing promises in your ear... that if you do as it dictates, then it will be satisfied...but that's never the case. You reach that point which you thought initially you would be safe. But the ED still has its hand on your shoulder, pushing you on, forcing you, like a shackled slave, to bend to its will just that little bit more.
But there is one thing that can never, ever be taken away from you by your ED...
that being, of course, your choice...to recover. :)
I hate my ED for what it did to me...for everything it has stolen from me; and which, as I progress further with my recovery, I am determined to fight for, with every single beat of my heart, to win back. Of course, I know how difficult it is, when you are sick, to whisper the truth to yourself and look into the eyes of your murderer...and tell it that it is a liar, a manipulative, selfish, cruel liar who brutally smothers your happiness without pity; who is oblivious to your tears and cries for help.
My eating disorder first started its never-ending pattern of deprivation when I was only 13 years old. It started off by taking away the sense of happiness and self-confidence which had presided in my childhood years. As time wore on, it became more and more greedy, heartlessly taking away yet more and more and more. My enjoyment of the things which I used to have a passionate interest in. My hopes and dreams for the future. My ability to concentrate and study well. And, of course, my body...the healthy, strong body which I once had.
But what I want you to realise it is only YOU who can stand up now and tell your ED that it is over...that you and it are THROUGH. Once and for all. That is the choice I made all those months ago last May, and, even though my journey is not yet over, I know that my ED will never, ever be able to take this one crucial choice away from me.
Don't let your ED take away your right to live.
Wednesday, 18 February 2015
I fell, though, of course...ever deeper into my eating disorder's ever-present trap. But it was a trap that I allowed myself to stumble into with open arms. For I became very, very unhappy again, when I came to Dublin. I was lonely and felt more isolated than I ever had felt in my entire life. My shyness had overcome me again when I had first arrived on the college campus, and I found it more than overwhelming to approach people and introduce myself, let alone go out with them, mix with them, strangers I barely knew. I missed my family, and my home, terribly. My life had been turned completely upside down, thrust into a frightening, unfamiliar world in which I was floundering desperately, struggling to keep afloat. And my eating disorder seemed to provide the only way out.
There didn't seem any point, in eating and cooking my own meals anymore. Sitting at the table, all by myself, in the lonely little kitchen of my apartment always made me want to cry with bitterness and flee into my room, where I would weep hot tears into my pillow. And it became a regular thing for me, to not even bother making myself something for dinner. If I had a loaf of bread in, I would shove a couple of pieces in the toaster, and cut up a tomato or to to eat alongside this scant dinner. Sometimes I had porridge or maybe even a small plate of pasta...half of which I would throw away if I felt like I couldn't finish it. The disturbing thing was I derived a sense of weird, consuming satisfaction from doing this - depriving myself, my body of proper nourishment. In my head, I did deserve it. I felt like a failure, a failure as a daughter, sister, and friend. I had got the course that I had always wanted....and had discovered, that I hated it. I blamed myself, and still do to this very day, for messing up in making this one crucial decision in my third-level education.
I couldn't study, I couldn't write, I couldn't even focus in lectures. My eating disorder had taken over, realy and truly. I lost alot of weight again, and finally, one weekend in November, Mam quizzed me as to whether I was eating enough up at college. I lied again and told her I was, and that I couldn't really understand why my weight had plummeted.
Mam begged me to try and put on a bit more weight, as my underweight, frail little bbody was causing her enormous concern. As I had done so many, many times before, I cried my heart out with shame and misery, at the thought I had caused her so much pain, worry and stress. I promised her I would try to change. And I did try, I really did try. But it was like all those times before...my eating disorder let me try to change, but it didn't let me change. And, after a few weeks of eating well and regularly once again, the thoughts crept back in, the Voice took full hold...and I was just back where I had started.
And so this vicious pattern continued, over and over again. I went back to college after the Christmas holidays; my weight dropped again. Then over summer 2013, I prevented it from becoming dangerously low, since I was at home again and eating much better, with Mam keeping a close eye on me, ensuring I ate all my meals and making me hot chocolate with full-fat milk, which I could never, ever resist when offered. I was out of the danger zone again. The voice of my eating disorder faded, a little...but then the summer was over and second year English beckoned. I made a silent pledge to myself that I wouldn't slip into old habits again. That I would cook for myself and eat proper meals, and treat myself whenever I felt like it; to take better care of myself. If not for myself, for my loved ones. No matter how lonely or awful things got, I would try...again...for them.
51. Last time you got a portrait taken by a photographer? Hahaha, must have been my last year at primary school...about nine years ago now!!
52. Do you think musicals are cheesy? Depends on the musical.
53. Is Christmas stressful? No way!!! I love Christmas!! :)
54. Ever eat a pierogi? What's that?
55. Favorite type of fruit pie? Apple or rhubarb. :)
56. Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid? Teacher, zookeeper, cyclist,
57. Do you believe in ghosts? Of course! ;) I'm superstitious.
58. Ever have a Deja-vu feeling? Yes.
59. Take a vitamin daily? Haha..never up till very recentlly. Here in the hospital I have to take them every morning no exceptions!! :p
60. Wear slippers? YES all the time!!! I am always warm, but my toes and feet are always freezin'.
61. Wear a bath robe? At home I do as my house is a bit cold in winter.
62. What do you wear to bed? Pjs or a nightie..unless its really, really hot. If it is then nothing. :o
63. First concert? Westlife at Landsdown Road!!
64. Wal-Mart, Target or Kmart? Never heard of any of them.
65. Nike or Adidas? Adidas.
66. Cheetos Or Fritos? Errrr...?
67. Peanuts or Sunflower seeds? When they are whole, probably sunflower seeds, but peanut butter exceeds EVERYTHING. ;)
68. Ever hear of the group Tres Bien? No..?
69. Ever take dance lessons? Yes, I did Irish Dancing as a child!!
70. Is there a profession you picture your future spouse doing? No!!
71. Can you curl your tongue? No don't think so!!
72. Ever won a spelling bee? No!!!
73. Have you ever cried because you were so happy? Loads of times!!!
74. Own any record albums? Mam does but I dont know if that counts but they are in our house anyway!
75. Own a record player? Mam does!!
76. Regularly burn incense? No!!
77. Ever been in love? Errr...I suppose?? But he wasn't with me, though, sniff sniff.
78. Who would you like to see in concert? Leona Lewis or Emile Sande maybe or Coldplay.
79. What was the last concert you saw? Ahem....I haven't been to any since Westlife...
80. Hot tea or cold tea? Don't drink tea.
81. Tea or coffee? Coffee, but it would have to be a milky one like a mocha or capuchino.
82. Sugar or snickerdoodles? I've never had snickerdoodles...
83. Can you swim well? I can swim but I'm not that good!!
84. Can you hold your breath without holding your nose? Yes.
85. Are you patient? Yes abiout most things.
86. DJ or band, at a wedding? DJ.
87. Ever won a contest? No.
88. Ever have plastic surgery? No.
89. Which are better black or green olives? I dont like olives.
90. Can you knit or crochet? Yes!! But I can only do scarves...and tea cosies. :o
91. Best room for a fireplace? Living room.
92. Do you want to get married? Not really.
93. If married, how long have you been married? Not married.
94. Who was your HS crush? As if I'm going to reveal that ;)
95. Do you cry and throw a fit until you get your own way? No.
96. Do you have kids? No.
97. Do you want kids?I actually don't know..maybe?
98. Whats your favorite color? Blue and yellow.
99. Do you miss anyone right now? Lots ;(
100. Have you ever been stung by a bee? Not yet anyway.
Feel free to join in this somewhat annoying but undeniably fun-to-do blog challenge!!! :p Just comment or link your blog below if you have one!!!
Monday, 16 February 2015
My eating disorder remained with me for the whole six years I spent in secondary school education. I had my ups and downs. The summer after second year, we spent a week in my homeland, the beauitful countryside of the east coast of Kent. It was yet another family holiday which I see as marred by my eating disorder; perhaps even more so than the American one. I had continued to lose more weight over second year.
During our time in Kent we paid a visit to Canterbury, the magnificent historical city. Lunch of course became a stressful affair for me when mam and dad decided to go into a traditional English pub for something to eat. I didn't finish what I ordered, of course, and retreated to the bathroom in a flood of tears. When I eventually reappeared, mam quietly asked me had I just vomited up what I had just eaten. The pain in her eyes hurt me even more than the actual question itself...or should that be, accusation; for as I shook my head in denial, I could clearly see that she didn't believe me anymore; and I had lost her trust. What made it even more painful, of course, was the fact that on this occasion, I actually was telling the truth.
I never did make myself sick, even when my eating disorder was at its most malignant. This was one of the things that I used as a shield against any inner contemplations on my part, that what I was doing was clearly far from normal. I had a number of them. Well I would never, ever even dream of making myself throw up food, I reassured myself, so there's no way I could ever qualify for an eating disorder...so there's nothing wrong with me. And there were others, too: I never got colds and flus, I wasn't so thin that I could count my ribs and fit into child-size clothes; I was seemingly able to walk for hours upon end without feeling onle little twinge of discomfort or tiredness. Yes, I was restricting...but what was wrong with that? I had achieved what I had aimed for...I was, in my head, "slimmer" now, though to people around me, I was underweight. I felt safe now, safe from my the dreaded fear that had become ingrained in my brain ever since I started at secondary school. And after all, everything seemed to be working in my favour...I had lost weight and there had been no negative consequences involved in doing so. Except...there was, of course. I was just blind to those consequences. I did not have an inkling of how much damage I was causing myself, both physically and mentally.
But yet, while all this was going on, my eating disorder was kept at bay in a number of ways; it was prevented, I suppose, from developing into something even more dangerous. Mam was keeping a close eye on me whenever I was at home. I had made some more friends in third year, and whenever I was with them, sometimes I would forget about all my little self-made rules and regulations circulating around foods I could and could not eat; the amounts, the numbers, everything. And then, there was the upcoming Junoir Cert. I wanted to do well; every fibre of my being yearned to do well in my exams and pass with flying colours, and thereby make Mam and Dad proud of me. But I discovered on the days I would restrict, I couldn't concentrate or focus half as well, and my grumbling stomach would compel me to go and get something to eat.
And yes, 2008-2009 were actually fairly good years, in terms of my eating disorder. I gained a little weight, I had a magical Christmas with my family. I sat my Junior Cert exams in June and received the results in September. I was delighted - seven As, three Bs and a C was more than I could ever have asked for. This was also the time when my love for baking began to form itself. I went to Mallorca with my family that summer. There were a few little slip-ups on my part, but nothing major: the odd fleeting moment anxiety or tension, like pebbles skimming over a glistening pond...
Us in Mallorca, July 2009
I felt, for the first time in what seemed like an eternity, happy.
But my eating disorder hadn't truly gone away, of course. Beneath the surface, beneath all the smiles and the laughter, lay something malign of a potentially dangerous, even deadly, force...
Up to this point in my life my eating disorder had only created ripples, ripples in the once calm, still lake of which my life was comprised...
But then my time in secondary school education had reached its inevitable end, and I found myself embarking upon a whole new journey, leaving home to study English in Trinity College, Dublin.
And then those barely noticeable, seemingly insignificant little ripples became angry, destructive waves, and that little lake a cold, cold sea in which I found myself drowning.
Until that one day when i suddenly discovered. that I no longer wanted to live like this...for it wasn't living. It was drowning, dying. And so I lifted myself above the water surface, took one deep breath, filling my body with strength. And then despite al my fear, the numbness, the anxiety, I began to swim for the golden shore on the horizon.
Saturday, 14 February 2015
I've been meaning to post this one for a gooo-d while, haha. It is my Granny's positively ancient recipe for Mississippi Mud Pie, and it goes without saying, it is just the best...that crunchy biscuit base, that sticky, gooey chocolaty filling, and then a scattering of divine little chocolate eggs on top...it's simply irresistible. It's a non-bake version - all it requires is a bit of mixing, a bit of smashing, a bit of melting - and then a bit of chilling in the fridge for it to set properly. Don't expect the filling to be very hard, though - it should be seductively squishy and soft. The marshmallows assist greatly in this. ;)
- 280 g digestive biscuits
- 150 g butter, diced
- 400 g plain chocolate
- 200 g marshmallows
- 40 g soft light brown sugar
- 4 tbsp full-fat milk
- 375 ml whipping or double cream
- Sugar-coated eggs to decorate.. <3
- Grease a 22cm round springform tin and line the base with baking paper.
- Crush the biscuits in a freezer bag to fine crumbs. Place the butter and 50g of the plain chocolate in a saucepan. Melt very gently over a very low heat.
- Coarsely grate up another 50 g of the plain chocolate. Let the melted butter and chocolate cool a little before adding the crushed biscuits and the grated chocolate.
- Mix together well and then transfer to the prepared tin, pressing it up the sides slightly. Leave to chill while you make the filling.
- Roughly chop the remaining 300g of the plain chocolate and place it in a heatproof bowl placed over a pan of simmering water on the hob. Allow to melt, stirring now and again with a wooden spoon.
- While the chocolate is melting, place the marshmallows in a separate saucepan and add the 4 tbsp milk. Place on a very low heat and allow to melt, stirring now and again with a wooden spoon.
- Whip the cream until it just begins to hold its shape and soft peaks have formed. Fold in the light brown soft sugar. Sift through the sugar with your fingers before you add it to the cream, breaking up any clumps.
- When both the chocolate and the marshmallow mixtures are melted, pour the melted marshmallows in the chocolate and mix together well.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes, and then stir in the whipped cream. Mix in well.
- Allow to cool for about 10 minutes in the fridge, and then transfer onto the biscuit base. Smooth out and then chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- When the pie is ready, place it on a plate and remove the tin - I usually unclip the sides and leave it sitting on the tin base as it is often quite difficult to remove it from this without blemishing the mud pie's smooth surface. :)
- Scatter over a few little chocolate eggs, and your muddy creation is complete. Serve on its own or with ice cream or cream. :) xxxxx
Friday, 13 February 2015
I was blind to the fact that I was nowhere even near being overweight, let alone obese. I felt compelled to remove every single miniscule possibility of letting such a terrible fate happen to me. Sickeningly, on the bus home one rainy afternoon in October, I sat and "planned" what I was going to do in order to lose weight. No more chocolate or cakes or desserts, I decided firmly. That was bound to help me in my goal, since these were foods that I frequently indulged in, and hence had to be removed from my diet at all costs. And so instead of going to the chocolate basket when I stepped into the pantry that afternoon when I got home - usually the first thing I would go to do before I commenced with my homework - I poured myself a glass of water instead and had nothing. An odd sense of triumphant satisfaction accompanied this single action.
After a few weeks, my obsession with losing weight began to spread to other aspects of my diet. I sbegan to insist on making my own packed lunches for school. I stopped eating toast and cereal at breakfast time, opting for just a small bowl of cereal instead, under the pretension that I wasn't hungry in the morning. The sandwiches I made became ever the more frugal. Sometimes I would take out the filling when at school and throw it away. My weight began to drop, steadily but surely. By the spring of next year, Mam had picked up on this, and the fact that I always seemed to act a little oddly around the dinner table.
This summer we went together as a family on a trip of a lifetime, to the sunny coastline of California. It was an amazing holiday, but my memory of it is tainted as this was the first holiday which I shared with my eating disorder. And that ever-present, heartless little voice did, in a way, ruin what I had looked towards as a dream holiday with the people I loved. I couldn't eat ice cream in the 45c heat and not feel a desperate, edgy sense of panic. I couldn't eat out with my family and enjoy myself; enjoy a delicious meal and the company of the people around me...because I would just be so, so stressed about the size and calorie content of the food which I was about to consume; and, if when it did come and it did seem a little too generous for my ED's liking...I couldn't help myself. I would get upset, and I would spoil the whole evening. Mam began to get upset, too. She threatened to bring me to the doctors when we got back home, saying that my weird behaviour around food had not escaped her attention, as neither had the fact that I had lost alot of weight over the past year.
I begged her not to bring me to the doctor's, and made the first of the many false promises I would make over the course of my eating disorder.
I won't do this again, Mam. I'll be good from now on. I will try really, really hard to gain weight.
I'm sorry, Mam.
Me and Mam, together in Mallorca 8 years later.
Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Looking back on it now, I realise just how lucky I was...that I found my inner strength and willingness to fight, just in time. I know now that if I had chosen never to reach out, and to carry on along that slippery, thorn-strewn road of pain that led directly to my own self-destruction, I would not be sitting here writing to you now. I probably wouldn't even be here, today. Don't ever forget that that Voice is the Voice of a murderer. It robs, it thieves, it tears apart families and relationships and friendships as mercilessly and as ruthlessly as a a knife slicing through silk. And it kills. It could have killed me. I know how fortunate I am to be here, right now, and at a stage when I can look back on all that lies behind me, and see how far I have come.
Never forget it's okay to feel afraid.
Being afraid does not in anyway mean that you are not strong.
And of course, the road to recovery is scary...it's foggy, steep, and rocky. But at the end of that road lies a beautiful valley. And with every step you take along that road, just know that you are becoming stronger. And soon you will see that fresh green valley, new and glowing and as bright as a star. That valley represents the life that's out there waiting for you...one full of happiness, excitement and opportunity, uncontaminated and untouched by any trace of your eating disorder.
Never stop fighting for the life that you love. :)
Tuesday, 10 February 2015
Anyway, I did promise no introductions didn't I ;) so here is the first part of the story of Me.
I was born in a small town on the coast of Kent in April 1994. I lived there in Kent with my family for four years. Then, in 1999, my Daddy was offered a job with the Irish Department of Transport. We sold our house in Deal, and bought a new property in County Laois, in the very heart of the Irish Midlands.
I attended a small local school in Mountmellick for the duration of my primary school years. I was happy there. I had loads of friends who I loved with the fierce adoration of a young child. My days were blissfully sunny and happy. I did Irish dancing and Speech and Drama there, and played recorder and ran around with my friends during breaktime. I had no sense of self-hate or self-disgust; neither, in the very least, did I once think I was fat. Rather, I could wear dresses and pretty clothes on special occasions or when the weather was fine, and twirl round in front of the mirror and smile and think I looked beautiful. And that was how it stayed, for the whole 8 years I was at St.Paul's. Never did I once suspect that it would come to an end.
But in the autumn 2006, as the leaves of September began to change and fall, everything did, of course.
This year I commenced my secondary school education, in an all-girls school in Mountrath.
I got off to a bad start at Brigidine, despite the fact I would grow to love this school and get to know people who would become some of my dearest and closest friends.
But at the beginning, it was tough, for me. Suddenly all the confidence and assertiveness I had attained in primary school was gone. I became shy and and awkward and withdrew into myself. It was made even harder by the fact I knew absolutely noone in this big, scary new school. All my friends had gone elsewhere and I felt very, very alone.
We had so many lessons of various different subjects. One day in home economics we learnt about healthy eating, and obesity. That very same week, we learnt about the very same topics in Biology, than S.P.H.E.
Suddenly I started to become extremely self-conscious, and sensitive to the appearance of everyone around me, too. I was never fat, not even chubby. I was just at a healthy weight for my body size. Neither had I ever considered myself dumpy, plump, overweight. But, that very week, those few words began to creep into my mind. They terrified me. Suddenly, everyone in that whole entire school seemed to be slimmer than me. Self-loathing took hold of me and I jumped onto the conclusion that it was my appearance that explained the reason why I had no friends.
Perhaps if I became thinner....maybe they will like me more?
Me with Mam and Dad, the summer before everything changed.
Saturday, 7 February 2015
Because that's exactly, what I thought I was...a normal, average girl. In fact, at one time, I would go as far to say that I was convinced that I was as unextraordinary as a young girl of my age could ever get. Boring, even. There wasn't anything in the least interesting, unusual, or striking about me.
Never, right up until that summer last year when I realised that I was suffering with a restrictive eating disorder, did I in anyway suspect that there was anything wrong.
Today, I am going to share with you my story...the story of a girl with an eating disorder, which, as quiet and as deadly as an assassin in the night, crept up upon me in the tender early years of my adolescence. Heartlessly killing the last few traces of an innocent, blissful childhood, it clung onto its victim with cold, pitiless hands, forcing me to become a prisoner, a prisoner of a Voice, a monster, a demon...a demon that lived inside my very own head.
Years passed, and yet, despite every struggle I put up to escape the suffocating grip of my eating disorder, I was never able to fully break free. Until one May, as bluebells pushed their delicate little blue heads through their protective green buds and the fresh, gusty winds of spring were replaced with the gently caressing breezes of early summer.
And along with those warm breezes, along with those dainty little flowers that adorned the floors of the woodlands near my home in a hazy blue mist, in May 2014, something else came into my world. That something being, a newly formed, steely determination. To face my fears and to defeat them, and to destroy the Voice of my eating disorder once and forever.
And though I still have some way to go yet, that determination remains with me, if not stronger and more powerful than ever before.
Perhaps you were in the same place as I was...or maybe where I am now. It might seem like you have been struggling for years and years and years, an eternity. But I believe that if you put your heart and soul towards recovery, if you never, ever stop believing, and if you never, ever allow yourself to give up and are prepared to fight this thing with every single breath in your body...I believe that one day we will, together, triumph over our demons. :)
haha...once again, Ganache-Elf has gone completely off point and the blog post has become way too long!! Ok, next post I WILL get onto what I was originally going to write about, and no introductions...Promise!! ;)
Thursday, 5 February 2015
Today I thought I would write a little list of just SOME of the things that I can't wait to do when I am recovered. I think this is a great exercise to do if you are afraid, afraid to carry on, afraid to challenge yourself that little bit more, afraid that there is no point to it all. Don't ever believe that there is. You and everyone of us has so much to live for, so much to offer the world. There are countless different, extraordinary things about YOU which will never, ever be found in anyone else. So don't ever let that ED take away from you who you really are. :)
- Live a happy and healthy life, free of all ED-type thoughts, fears, anxieties and impulses. To be rid of the Voice in my head forever and find and follow the life I have always dreamed of. :)
- To walk Benny in the countryside with my family, and to e able to relish and enjoy every single moment of it....the breeze against my skin, the rustle of leaves beneath my feet, being able to breathe in all the scents of the forest, to sense and appreciate every single sound. To be able to look around me and take each and every drop of the magnificence and beauty of nature.
- To go on exciting holidays to all the different parts of the world which I have always wanted to visit, and make memories which will remain with me forever. Florida, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, the Islands of the Pacific, different parts of Ireland and England, Wales, Scotland, the Scandinavian countries, the Savannah....the list goes on and on ;)
- To go shopping and buy myself loads of gorg new clothes which will make me look pretty and feel good about myself :)
- To go to the beach and spend the whole day just lying on the sand, making sandcastles, and trying to ride a bodyboard...and failing. ;)
- To bake and cook to my heart's content ;) I really want to be adventurous and try out loadssss of yummy new recipes once I am recovered...both sweet and savoury. I really want to expand my baking repertoire ;) especially when it comes to baking recipes from countries the world over. And now I won't have any scruples whatsoever in eating them MYSELF!!! :D And what could be more cheekily satisfying than licking out the melting bowl or cleaning the whisks once your masterpiece is cooking away? ;)
- To go hiking in the beauty spots of Britain and Ireland, and immerse myself in the sublime majesty of these natural gems. The highlands of Snowdonia, the mountains of Wicklow, the lakelands of Scotland and the rolling hills of the Peak District...just some of the places which I am literally bursting to visit and discover for myself :)
- Disneyland (s) <3
- movie nights with lots of chocolate and sweeties!!! And maybe (or should that be, of course??? :p) even a marshmallow-scattered hot choc..? <3
- nights out dancing and never ever getting tired...to be twirling and swirling around all night long :)
- bike rides in the summer and getting a nice tan ;)
- I would absolutely love to take up horse-riding sometime!!! ;)
- ALTON TOWERS!!! ;)
- Sitting underneath my favourite tree in the garden on a breezy summer's day, and losing myself in writing Morokia..nothing like sitting in nature to get the old creative cogs turning! ;)
- Going out for meals out and enjoying myself...no more worrying about portion sizes, calories, having to exercise more tomorrow if I eat more than usual, etc.
- To find the real me. The real Emmy, not the girl with an eating disorder. I know there is much more to me than that. And I want you all to realise this, too. You are so, so much more that your eating disorder. So don't be afraid to let go of its hand... and open up your eyes in order to see the special, unique, and one-of-a-kind individual that is YOU.:)
Tuesday, 3 February 2015
Monday, 2 February 2015
- I no longer want my eating disorder to be part of me. I know now that there is so, so much more to me than my eating disorder...I no longer want my eating disorder to be the end of me.
- I now have the ability to identify, recognise and acknowledge the traits and talents that are unique to me. I no longer feel inclined to tel myself, in tones of disgust and cruel reproach, that I am useless at everything and that my presence doesn't matter. Rather, I see myself for the person I really am. I am a baker and a cook, a walker, an animal-lover, a girl who loves to travel and visit different countries. A young woman who loves being in nature, talking and listening to people, giving hugs, drinking hot chocolate. I am a daughter, a sister and a friend. I am kind, thoughtful, caring, and compassionate. And I never give up in fighting for what I believe in. :)
- I now feel happy to sleep on in the mornings, and get up much later than I had perhaps originally planned. Sometimes when this happens I do feel slightly irritated - but only because this means I have less time to blog before breakfast, rather than the fact that getting up later probably means less calories burned off.:)
- I no longer have a fear of being too full. After dinner yesterday, I was super bloated - I literally had to totter into my bedroom as soon as we had finished to put my loose-fitting PJs on as anything else seemed to make me feel even fuller at that moment. But do you know what? Instead of panicing, I was smiling, laughing in despite of myself. Laughing in the face of my ED, which would always say, back then, that because you are full, Emmy, you are fat...and I would always, always agree. But now, it's a completely different story. I know that fullness does not equal to fatness. For me, right now, in this crucial stage of recovery, fullness is not a bad thing. And after all, it doesn't last forever. In fact, I am even beginning to get hunger cues...and, instead of simply ignoring my body's signals like I once did beforehand, I now feel more than happy to respond. :)
- Over the weekend, Mam made everything for me. She made my breakfast, my dessert, my sandwiches at lunch, numerous mugs of hot choc, <3 , she cooked me dinner, got my snacks for me and made me fresh homemade scones. (I know this makes me sound reallllly lazy right now !!!;) ) but I know, in letting her make all this lovely food for me, I am also making myself stronger. Before, I would almost always insist on making my own food, eighty percent of the time...because then I would know exactly what went in it and I wasn't eating any of my "unsafe" foods. But this weekend was completely different. I put my complete trust in Mam. I enjoyed every single mouthful of what she made for me. And no of course I didn't know how much mayonnaise was in my egg, cress and tomato submarine rolls. Or how many squares of chocolate I ate (haha, alot I can assure you though ;) ), how much oil had been used to cook my salmon. It doesn't matter to me anymore. I know it is al going to help me in moving forward, and making me stronger against my ED. :)
- In all honesty I have lost count of the amount of new foods I have tried over the past few weeks...things that one time I would never even have contemplated trying, because in my head, I had convinced myself I didn't like them, without even having tasted them before. Examples??? Welll......coleslaw, goat's cheese tartlets, potato salad, parsley sauce, champ, choux buns...to name a few!!! ;)