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.:)
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
It'a hard to believe that it's now the thirty first of March, 2015...before we know it, it will be April. Winter has relinquished its icy grip over the land. Now the branches of the cherry blossom are adorned with dainty, rose-pink flowers. Birds call sweetly from every tree. And in the garden of my home - the garden where as a child I would run and play in all the innocence and exuberance carefree bliss of youth, beautiful, golden daffodils wave their triangular petals gently in the gentle March breeze.
And it's also so hard to believe that I have just spent nine weeks as an inpatient for my eating disorder. Away from everything that was familiar to me, everything safe, everything that I ever really knew.
But the world I knew, that world that I loved, that I held dear...every single little bit of it, waas tainted by that Voice in my Head. The mealtimes with my family, which I always prepared such delicious, tasty meals for, bbut which I then was so, so afraid to take a single bite of. Cycling down to see my elderly neighbour at the bottom of my lane...but feeling compelled, after each visit, to go off on an hour-long loop before returning to my house, whatever the weather. My insistence on doing every single one of the household chores; not ever, ever allowing myself to have a lie-in in the mornings in the fear that I would burn off lesss calories if I did so; strategically busying myself in some sort of time-consuming job or activity when I knew it wasn't that long till the restr of the family gathered together to eat, and I would then be permitted to excuse myself on the basis that I was "otherwise engaged" and would eat later on when I'm finished...
but what I want to do this coming month, April 2015 - the month when I turn 21...is to reclaim the world and the things that I loved. And to make it pure and free again, untainted and untouched by that thing that was my eating disorder.
It's going to be tough I know, because, after all...this has been the way I have lived for about nine years. but I know that I can do it. That's its never too late to make that change. That it's never to late to realise my dreams and live the life I have always wanted, which I have loved and always will love.
It's that time of year, again... tender little shoots are beginning to push themselves through the soft, dew-covered ground, as green and as shiny as emeralds. In the cradling branches of the great deciduous trees, egg shells are delicately cracked open by the tiniest of beaks as scruffy, downy-feathered little chicks release themselves into the world. Fragile, moist little buds gently prise themselves open to reveal the beautiful, radiant petals underneath.
Everywhere you look, there is newness, promise, freshness, hope. Everything is beginning to change. A beautiful, positive change full of life and hope and light.
It's never too late to change.
Monday, 30 March 2015
Ingredients (for about 20 yummy cookies! :) <3
- 75 g plain chocolate
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 125 g butter, softened
- 125 g light muscovado sugar
- 100 g porridge oats
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 125 g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 250 g plain chocolate, chopped into small chunks or chips.
Saturday, 28 March 2015
- In 2000 my family and I went for our first holiday in Ireland...to the beautiful county of Sligo in the West. It was so, so special....the weather was perfect, the location simply breathtaking...we stayed in a little rose-covered cottage overlooking the sea, nestled between the steeply sloped, flat-topped mountains characteristic to this gorgeous gem of a county in the North-west of Ireland.
- My childhood holidays to West Cork when Matt was undergoing his treatment for luekemia. For the duration of Matt's chemotherapy, we weren't able to go abroad, so instead we went to Clonakilty each August of those three years. West Cork endeared itself to me - the long golden beaches, the pretty colourful houses of Clonakilty, the sparkling sapphire-blue waters of the Atlantic.
- Our trip to California when Matt finished his cancer treatment. We spent two weeks holidaying in the "Golden State", stopping by at San Francisco, Yosemite, Monterey, LA and San Diego. It was the trip of a lifetime. :)
- Christmas 2005 when it snowed LOADS at home. Jumping up and down on a snow-covered trampoline sticks out in my mind as being particularly memorable. ;)
- My school tour when I was in 4th Class - we went to the Dunamore Caves in neighbouring Kilkenny followed by a visit to Kilkenny Castle...I was in my element. :)
- My last show at Primary School when I was in 6th Class - it was so special to me because I was one of the leading ladies in our farcical take of Robin Hood and I got to wear a gorgeous long blue dress. During sixth class I had really got the knack of Irish dancing, and during this particular show day I had ample oppurtunity to show off my newfound skill. I loved irish dancing...I wish I was still able to do it :'(
- My first holiday in Mallorca with my family after the Junior Cert...I instantly fell in love with this pictueresque, sun-soaked island off the coast of Spain. There was eight of us altogether - us five, my granny, my aunty and my auntie's friend. We stayed in a big villa in the countryside near Pollenca.
- Visiting a very special friend in Spain after the Leaving Cert ;) <3 xxx
- Going out for the first time - haha such a funny and nostalgic sort of memory!! Being the midget that I was, I wasn't able to join my friends when they went off together to the teenage discos and clubs when I was sixteen/seventeen, and so I was itching for my eighteenth birthday to come round so that I could join them. The first time I officially "went out" was the night my friends and I graduated from school...it was, without a doubt, the best night out ever, and the memory of such a fun night will forever be imprinted in my heart <3
- Getting the LC results...such a lovely, unbeatable feeling when you see those grades on the paper and realise that you accomplished the impossible, you've passed your Leaving Cert and got the points you were aiming for!! :)
- My debs ball...OMG what a night...I felt so pretty in my long slashed dress with my hair done up all posh :o
- Going to Paris in TY...especially our trip to Disneyland of course ;)
- And I think I have to include my first weekend out of hospital....that moment was just so special and so perfect, when I walked out those sliding doors in the beautiful sunlight of early Spring <3
Friday, 27 March 2015
I think everyone of us has experienced, at some point in their lives, hard or challenging times. And many of us, myself included, often get caught in the thinking trap, of solely focusing on the negative aspects of our existence. I do this...a good eighty percent of the time, I would say. And it really DOES frustrate me, and it's something that I am determined to try and work on in my recovery.
For I am sure you have already seen this little equation before... healthy mind = healthy body. :)
But how DO we become more positive, and develop a more healthy attitude towards ourselves and our bodies, and improve our view of life and the world in general? It's a question I myself am currently endevaouring to find an answer to. and be assured that when I do sort of work things out in my own head, I will not hesitate of course to share my advice and thoughts with you.
Anyway - enough rambling!!! But what better way to start off our mission to help every single one of us engage in more positive thinking, then reflecting on the best (or maybe, even just SOME OF the best, if you have too many to mention!! ;) moments of our lives so far? :)
And so in my next blog post, I will be doing this little blog challeege in collaboration once again, of course, with my favourite ever blogging girls, Ange <3 and Olivia <3 (and I am so so sorry this blog challenge is coming a bit late girlees! :o ) I hope this blog post will inspire all of my lovely readers to reflect upon their own individual lives and the moments, events and occasions which they will always be able to look back upon with fondness and pleasure. And remember: life throws all sort of mad and marvelous things at you, and these aren't always exactly expected or pleasant or enjoyable. But in times of difficulty or distress, try to look back upon the precious, once-in-a-lifetime moments which brought you so much happiness and excitement and pure joy in times past, and take strength and comfort out of them.
When life gets hard...
Please, don't ever let yourself lose hope.
Know that things won't be like this, for eternity.
The storm may come and the clouds may gather, blocking out the sun and shedding teardtpps of rain. But then....then a ray of golden sunlight shines forth from a shaft in the heavens, and a beautiful arch of red and blue and gold, green and orange and purple appears in the sky. :) xxxx
The beauty of clear spring sky of a breezy, sun-kissed afternoon in late March...
Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Why do you need to look like someone else? When you look at a magazine and see a stick-thin model there with scrawny arms and a tiny waist and gaunt face...ask yourself...why do you want your body to be like...that? When I see those pictures now, wave after wave of sadness pass over me, as I know that to be such an unnaturally slender frame and body shape, there is, more than likely, restriction or overexercising or something involved. It is not natural, not healthy, for the human body to be that thin. All it might take is one fall, one slip, one trip, one moment, one heartbeat...for everything to be changed, so horribly, in front of your very eyes.
Everyone is different, unique, beautiful. That is just one of the most amazing ever things about being human...between each and every one of us, there are so many, many differences. Not one of us is the same. every one of us is so uniquely and strikingly different, in ways which may be explicit, or small and bbarely noticeable. Not one of us is identical. No one has a smile like your own. no one has the same hair as you, the same eye shape and eye colour, the same fingertips, the same skin colour, the same shape, the same face.
There is only one of YOU...and that you is so, so beautiful, so extraordinarily beautiful. So take care of your body, as it is the only one you will ever have, and it deserves to be treated with optimum care and respect. Love and take care of your body, and it will take care of you in return.
And don't ever forget...inner beauty, the kindness and goodness and love which you carry deep inside you. That beauty will always shine forth from your heart, as bright and as beautiful as the summer sun, or those lovely, radiant, golden daffodils that now adorn the woodlands and roadsides of Eire. :) <3 xxxx
The wild flower girl!! ;)
Sunday, 22 March 2015
Ingredients (makes 9 cupcakes :) )
- 80 g butter/margarine, softened
- finely grated zest of 2 lemons
- 2 medium eggs
- 180 g self-raising flour
- 5 tbsp full-fat milk
- 90 g caster sugar
- 90 g light brown soft sugar
- apricot jam to glaze
- Preheat the oven to 180c/fan 160 c and line a muffin pan with 9 paper cases (cupcake or muffin, not bun or fairy cake ones - the latter are too small!! :o
- Beat the butter or the margarine in a large bowl until very soft, and then add the eggs, the milk, the flour and the two sugars. Beat well for about 3 minutes until well incorporated. After 2 minutes pause the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl before resuming mixing, so there is no mixture wasted.
- Fold in the lemon zest with a large metal spoon, and then Divide the cake batter equally amongst the 9 cupcake cases.
- Bake for about 20 minutes until risen and golden. Leave the cakes in the muffin tray for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
- When the cakes are cool, gently heat a couple of tablespoons of apricot jam in a saucepan. Brush a little of the warmed jam over the top of each cupcake to make a sticky, shiny glaze.
Thursday, 19 March 2015
The Voice takes away so, so much. As I said in my previous post...it effects the sufferer physically, and mentally. I thought today I would speak from my experience, about what the Voice in my head has taken away from me.
I used to be the confident, happy, sunny girl with long blonde hair who loved to dance and write and run and chatter with her friends. But the Voice in my head eroded all of my confidene away, kleaving me with nothing exept the assumptions that I was too big, I needed, I had to be thinner, that when people looked at me they would see a plump, ugly girl who would always be the one to be chosen last when selecting teams in P.E. class. All that mattered was...weight loss. Eating less than everyone else. Standing when I should have been sitting, making several trips uop the stairs when I could have just gone up once, taking the tiniest portions of everything, never, ever accepting a chocolate or a sweet or a cookie when it was offered.
It took away my confidence and sense of self-worth, but it wasn't going to stop there, of course. It was never, ever satisfied...it just kept on taking, and taking, and taking, until I was left with almost nothing.
It took away my concentration...it essentially took over the whole of my brain, so that nearly every single thought that would enter my head was realted to either food or losing weight. Instead of spending my time thinking aout what most girls of my age would - clothes shopping and make-up and going places and meeting new people...my mind was obsessed with numbers and amounts and portion sizes. I could never not have too little, and God forbid that I would ever, ever have too much. I went to great lengths to ensure that such a terrible thing would never, ever be permitted to happen.
During the early stages of my ED, I became extremely focused on my studies. I didnt have any friends, I was lonely, isolated and miserable. But I did have two things, two things which kept me afloat, which I could turn to with open arms when the whole world seemed to turn on me. Those two things being, of course, my academic work, and my ED.
But when I left my home for college, my ED became stronger, I, ever weaker.Thus, it was further enabled to take yet more and more from me. Even that studious mindset and skill of learning things off by heart - everything which had got me through the hard slog of the Leaving Cert, essentially. And with that gone, I convinced myself that this time, I really did have nothing. Everything I had been proud of, every little attribute I ever had, had been taken away from me...by my E.D.
But now is the time that we all join hands together, and stand strong against that Voice. It has taken enough. Now it is time to fight...to fight against this thief who has stolen away so much from you. To fight for the things you thought you had lost forever. To fight for freedom from your ED.
Monday, 16 March 2015
I've always thought that having an eating disorder isn't unlike being controlled by a demon, a demon in your very own head. And just like those demons in the horror stories, the effects on the victim are both external and internal. Recovering from an eating disorder is not all about the physical. The restoration of weight, the recovery of all the bodily systems which are so adversely affected by starvation and restriction and overexercise and purging....these are crucial, of course, to proper recovery. but the recovery of the internal self is equally as crucial; and this is the part which many people may overlook or misunderstand.
What many people associate with sufferers of eating disorders, so to speak, are the more explicit or physical symptoms - being bone-thin, constantly purging or running several miles every day, eating less than a sparrow would in one day, or maybe not anything at all. Dry skin and flat stomach, ribs and shoulderblades protruding. And yes, some of these symptoms might be found in many sufferers..but not all of them, and it's so important to be aware of that. For there is as much going on inside of the body - deep in the complex chambers of the brain - as there is on the exterior.
The first thing that immediately springs to mind when I sit and contemplate this, is the whole preoccupation with food. From the moment I woke up each morning, to when I closed your eyes last thing at night...i was constantly thinking, worrying, and ruminating about food and mealtimes and such. What I would have, the little amounts I was going to permit myself to eat. When I would eat, how I would prepare it, what I would do when I was eating...how I would fool those around me into thinking I had eaten enough.
I know this might sound disturbing and weird to some people...but it's the truth. It's a symptom of having an eating disorder...and if anyone out there is reading this now and thinking...that aplies to me, too...Please know, that it is not disturbing or weird...it's completely and utterly out of your hands. Please know that you are not alone.
Perhaps, some people might say, that this isn;t such a big deal. Ok, you might think about food much more than other people...but sure, what's wrong with that? It doesn't effect your life much, right? But this assumption couldn't be any further from the truth.
Because the sad reality is, it does...in many more ways than one.
But here I am at Christmas. I've gained some weight. Perhaps, people would look at me and think...no, that girl doesn't have an eating disorder. But this is something I think which is so, so important for everyone to be aware of.It's not all about what you see on the outside, when you have an eating disorder.
The real battle is the one that takes place in your very own head.
Saturday, 14 March 2015
A Animals (I love them all ;) ), and of course, Ange, my favourite ever gal from Germany <3 xxxxx
B Baking (OF COURSE ;) ), blogging, blue, my favourite colour along with yellow :) Barley Cove (the gorg beach in West Cork where I spent many a happy, sunny day with my family <3, bananas and all the other yummy fruits :), biscuit cake made in the special Emmy way! ;) and of course, my Benny, the best doggy on earth <3
C Christmas, quite possibly myfavourite time of the year!! ;) Chocolate .....<3, and Clonakilty in West Cork, the prettiest, cutest town in Ireland <3!!
D Ducks - since I was a little girl they have always been my favourite animal of all ;) , dresses in all pretty colours and lengths, Disneyland Paris, Dogs
E England, my beauitful home country which I still feel a strong connection to <3 the Excited, joyful feeling you get when you are about to go on holidays!!:)
F Flowers, Felix my cat <3, forests, Frozen - my favourite ever Disney movie, love it so so much :), fresh bread warm out of the oven, and of course, my wonderful, one-in-a-million family <3
G gardens...I love sitting in a garden on a sunny day <3, Golden Biscuit Crunch chocolate (nommmmmm ;) ) and my incredible Granny Hillier <3
H Horses - I think they are just such beautiful animals <3, Home...there is no other place like it ;), hugs which are warm and full of love <3 and, yyes you know what I am going to say next... HOT CHOC <3
I Ice creammmm <3 espevially when its a 99 cone, Ben and Jerry's, or Tesco Caramel <3, internet (haha I admit - I use it all the time, but I don't think I am the only one somehow!! ;) and Ireland, of course, the little country which has stolen my heart <3
J Just the beautiful simple little things like feeling sunshine on your face, snuggling beside a log fire on a cold winter's night, sharing a meal with the people you love :)
K Knitting scarves...heehee one of my favourite ever things to do to past the time! ;), Kent, my homeland <3
L Letters from dear friends <3, Love <3, Lizzy, the best sister in the world <3, Laois, Livvy, my special blogging friend from New Zealand <3 xxxxx
M Mugs (i love collecting them...and of course drinking hot choc out of them ;) ), Music - what would the world be without music? A very quiet and solemn place I say :o Mallorca, Marshmallows on top of a hot choc ;), Maltesers and Minstrels heehee ;) ,Medieval stuff - as you all know I am fascinated by the Middle Ages, for some curious reason ;) and then of course, my lovely, beautiful, amazing Mam <3
N Notebooks for writing and scribbling ;)
O Oreos (especially double stuff!! ;) , and then of course Olivia, my so special friend in California <3 xxxxxx
P Peanut butter <3, Photographs that make you smile and think of the lovely memories you have :)
Q Quirky but somewhat adorable little things such as old-fashioned souvenairs and trinkets you might buy in a seaside town :) I have plenty of them! ;)
R Rabbits <3 I have had several rabits over the years and I will never forget my little fluffy tailed, long eared friends <3, rollercoasters - ESPECIALLY the ones which go upside down !! and Roast potatoes!!! ;)
S Sligo - I went here as a child and I fell in love with this idyllic beauty spot in the West of Ireland <3 , Spain, another beautiful country I am crazy about :) Scones and jam!! :), Smiles <3 and pretty flowy Skirts which make me feel pretty :)
T True friends <3 who are always there for me, I could never have got where I am today without them <3 , and of course Toast , warm and spread with Flora yummmm :)
U Untangling myself from my eating disorder, and learning to find the real Emmy and uncover what she has to offer the world :)
V very cute messages and cards from loved ones ;), Vicks Vapo-Rub for my favourite way to soooth a cold :)
W Woolly pyjamas, walking my Benny <3, writing letters/emails to the people I love,
X Puhhhh the hard one haha!! How about.. xxxxxxxs as in hugs and kisses? ;) <3 xxxxx
Y Yellow another one of my favourite colours <3 and also Yummy food and tasty treats :)
Z Zig-zagging along on a bike when you are going really fast, heehee it is so so fun!!! ;)
Friday, 13 March 2015
What I would like to talk to you about is the benefits of doing art in recovery...or indeed everyday life...it doesn't matter whether you are in recovery, recovered, or have never been touched in any way by an eating disorder. Whatever the case may be, we all know that our lives are never as carefree and as idealistic as we would like them to be. There is bound to be stress, concern or anxiety in some form or other.
I am an avid believer in the principle that releasing the pent-up feelings that have built up in a stifling, burdensome bundle of thoughts in the head is extremely helpful in recovery and stressful situations. Talking to someone is probably the best thing you could do, always. Writing, of course, is also so helpful, and it's something which i do regularly of course as you probably already know! One thing I would suggest, though. If in the moment you feel so overwhelmed or upset you can't bring yourself to speak to anyone - write down the thoughts, the anger, the words the Voice is saying, whatever. And then in a short while, when the feelings aren't quite so intense, look over what you wrote and talk to someone.
Anyway...back to art - the main point of this post, haha :p what I wanted to get across to you was, that giving the creative side of your brain a little free rein, is such a helpful and rewarding thing to do in recovery (in the everyday life of those who are healthy). And through art, emotions, anxieties, thoughts, feelings and fears can all be expressed.
And sometimes...sometimes when it all gets too much, I find there is just something so, so soothing and calming about sitting down in a quiet, warm room in a comfortable high-backed chair with a little table in front of you. And just sitting there and doing some art..using whatever art tools you feel like, for as long as you like. Using your heart to guide your hands rather than your head. As this, I think, is when the most beautiful and inspiring images are created.
Anyway. I AM going to write a bit more on this topic, as I really want to testify the points I made above properly and endevour to demonstrate to you the value and importance of art in today's world. What you, the artist, choose to create, is entirely up to you...and it doesn't have to be difficult, or complicated...and especially not flawless. we are humans, not robots. What you make doesn't have to be flawless. It is perfect and beautiful in all of its own individual uniqueness, just like you. :) <3 xxxx
Two of my much-loved completed Painting by Numbers pictures on the Welsh dresser at home <3 xxx
Wednesday, 11 March 2015
A Addicted to...? Heeheee...of course, hot choc <3, baking, blogging, chocolate, bananas, Game of Thrones!;)
B Biggest fear? Hmm..it would probably bbe drowning (I nearly got swept away by a big wave when I was little so perhaps that is the reason for this ), really deep water, losing my friends, or for anything bad to happen to those I love.
C Countries you have lived in/visited? England, Ireland, Wales, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, USA :)
D Describe yourself? Caring, helpful, considerate, thoughtful, shy, affectionate, sensitive. I'm always worrying about something or other, I love spending time which my family or friends and chattering away for hours, I am fanatical about animals and nature and being outside. I get quite emotional about loads of things - old pictures, a email from a dear friend, a hug, a film - these are just some of the things which might reduce me to a flood of tears.
Embarrassing moment? Haha I've had a few over the years...one of them which I remember with great fondness, is from my graduation day, when most of my year headed down to the river near our school after the graduation breakfast. Two of the lads (oth who I secretly had a crush on ;) ) crept up on me unawares, picked me up between me and then slung me in the river.. :o
F Flower? Ohh this is again a very hard question as I adore nearly all tyopes of flowers!! But my top favourites would probably have to be daffodils, snowdrops, tulips, poppies and sweet peas <3
G Goals? To recover. To help those who were, are or will be in the same position as me. To discover the real Emmy. To meet some very special friends I am in contact with ;) <3
Hobbies? Baking, walking, hiking, cooking, travelling, cycling, writing, blogging, knitting! ;)
I Ice Cream Flavour? Heehee I have a few ;) cookie dough, vanilla, brownie, caramel, raspberry ripple.
Tuesday, 10 March 2015
I should know, after all...I've been there and I'm still here now in the recovery stage, and I now fully understand the cold, hard reality of what my eating disorder did to me...
Firstly, the osteoporosis. I have serious osteoporosis in my back, as a direct result of the pattern of restriction and overexercise which has repeated itself, over and over and over again, for so many, many years.
This means that my bones are essentially brittle and very fragile...if I had a fall or ever injured myself in some way, there is a good chance that they would be broken.
I get a persistant, dull ache in my lower spine whenever I sit down...yet another side effect of the osteoporosis and, of course, my eating disorder. I get the odd soreness in other parts of my body too. And then of course there was the foot injury I had last October...I was so, so lucky that the foot was not broken.
The fact that I have never had a period further augments the seriousness of my osteoporosis. Oestrogen is a hormone required for the production and maintenance of healthy bones. The absence of the menstrual cycle indicates that oestrogen is not being produced and this in turn can result in significant reduction in bone mass density.
My skin was dry and flaky, especially on my hands...I always would look at my palms and sore, red fingers and think to myself that I had the hands of an old woman.
Most of the time I was very tired and exhausted. I felt drained even after a good night's sleep and struggled to concentrate in lectures and tutorials. Even watching a good film or a series, my mind would drift off elsewhere and I would suddnly realise I hadn't got a clue what was going on and who was who.
I was always thinking about food, even though I food was the last thing on earth that I wanted.
I felt down, depressed, miserable and helpless very often, and got anxious or nervous about the most smallest of things.
My case isn't unique and specific to me.
It can happen to anyone, anyone with an eating disorder...you may not realise it now, you may not see it. You might think that your eating disorder, that whispering little Voice in your head, is harmless.
But that is one of the biggest lies which you could ever let yourself believe.
I'll come back to you some day, Benny <3 xxxxxx
Friday, 6 March 2015
The past few days this overwhelming, crushing sense of guilt has been hanging over my head like a thick, inter-penetrable raincloud. And it did get me down, and I often allowed myself to think that this was now my just punishment, osteoporosis, being hospitalised, being so far away from everything I had ever known, all the people I loved.It serves you right, I had thought. It serves you right for all the lies, the deceit, the trickery, the half-hearted attempts you made to get better. Thinking of the heartache I had pulled my family through made me want to weep bitterly, and I spent many an hour wrapped up in melancholic, guilt-ridden contemplation.
On arriving home today for the weekend, mam and I went into the garden before entering the house. We stood beneath the yet flowerless blossom tree and looked down at the dainty bunch of snowdrops which were gathered at its roots. And it filled my heart with an uplifting sense of pure joy, looking down at those pretty little flowers with their heads as pure and as white as freshly fallen snow. Joy at being home once more, of course...and at being able to see the beauty and radiance of the natural world again. But as well as that, the snowdrops made me contemplate something else...
The seeds are hidden beneath the hard ground as winter maintains its cruel, icy grip over the land.
But then...then, in a landscape upon which it appears nothing can grow, a small, tender stem emerges...there is hope. It is difficult, though. The ground is tough and the elements are harsh.
The snowdrop could just stop and give up...but it doesn't. Instead, it perseveres with this difficult, seemingly endless task, and becomes stronger and stronger. And then the tender little buds open to reveal the delicate, tear-drop shaped heads underneath which nod and bob in the cool breeze which greets them. But they have done it...and they are so, so exquisitely beautiful: elegant in their delicate tininess; pure and innocent in their unblemished whiteness.
And when you step onto the road to recovery, you can liken yourself to those very same snowdrops...
At first you are trapped in a cold, harsh, bitter place...and then you start to try to break free...
But when you reach recovery...you emerge more beautiful than ever before. You are stronger, wiser...and you are innocent. That crippling sense of guilt; I understand just how hard it is to terminate it entirely. But what you have to remember is it was not, and never will be, your fault. You didn't choose this disease.
Don't call yourself a failure, a good-for-nothing. Don't call yourself useless and insignificant and worthless. Don't call yourself a bad person. Don't ever, ever let yourself think that you don't deserve life and recovery.
It was not you who made yourself lie and deceive. It was not you who always made yourself choose to do the wrong thing, who made your loved ones cry and worry. It wasn;t you who prioritised exercise and sticking to rigid fixed mealtimes over spending time with others who cared about you...
It was your eating disorder, not you, who was the cause of all the hurt, the suffering, the anxiety, the heartbreak.
And your loved ones will understand. They will still love you, no matter what you have done at the ruthless hands of your eating disorder...they would never, ever neglect their love and concern for you, based on that.It might take a while for some of your loved ones to understand, but in time, they will.
And by choosing to fight the thoughts and that heartless, sneering Voice - by choosing to fight your eating disorder - you are doing everything that you could possibly do to make it up to them. All they want is for you to be healthy and happy. Never forget that.
And never forget that your eating disorder is not you.
Thursday, 5 March 2015
But anyway, back to the main point of this post...
It does not matter whether you are 10 kg underweight, or not underweight at all.
It does not matter, if you exercise for 2 hours a day, 1 hour, 30 minutes, or none. It doesn't matter if you have never brought back up what you have just eaten on purpose, or if you do so on a regular basis. It doesn't matter the clothes size, the laxatives you do or don't use, the foods you eat, the amounts, the assumptions made by others, that there isn't anything going on behind that happy, smiling face.
It doesn't matter what form your eating disorder takes. It doesn't matter which signs you show, which symptoms. It doesn't matter if the Voice tells you that you aren't really that sick at all, that your case isn't really that important, at all.
It doesn't matter how serious or mild your eating disorder is...how serious or mild you think it is. The cold, hard truth is, that eating disorders can kill. They can ruin lives, tear families apart, destroy relationships. They can cause many serious and potentially life-threatening health problems. They have the capacity to cause endless heartbreak, pain, and suffering.
For example, take my case. I'm a prime example of the girl who closed her eyes to the real truth of what was happening to her...what was happening inside her head. And she remained that way for about 8 years. 8 years, and now, as I look back, I realise just how much I have missed out on, how much the Voice in my head controlled me. And in my present I have to face up to the consequences...the consequence of all those countless times when I would tell myself...tell myself that I was normal.That there was nothing wrong. Or that, maybe I should change a few things....but sure, I will do that tomorrow. Or next week, maybe. I will do it, though. Just not today.
I never ran for several miles a day, or spent hours in the gym on the treadmill or in the swimming pool. I never vomited or used laxatives. I was never so underweight that I found it difficult to lift my head from the pillow every morning, My hair didn't become thin, I didn't feel physically weak all the time, I didn't go through a day without eating or only permitting myself tiny, tiny amounts. I didn't just live on diet foods. I didn't survive on tea and apples every day, I didn't refuse to eat chocolate and biscuits and ice cream. I didn't stare in the mirror every day at my slender, bony frame and ruminate to myself on how fat I thought I looked.
But I did have an eating disorder; a restrictive eating disorder...and it was far, far more serious than I ever even comprehended. And I realise that, now, just how strong it really was, what it was doing to me.
It doesn't matter what that murderous Voice in your Head tries to tell you. That you aren't sick enough. There is no such thing as not being sick enough. If you think that you or someone you love has an eating disorder, please, please, please don't ignore the signs. Seek help as soon as possible.
Don't wait until it is too late.
Wednesday, 4 March 2015
I feel happy..... :)
Tuesday, 3 March 2015
Súigh síos literally means "Sit down" in Irish and when I was in school this instruction would be on the teacher's lips all of the time: when she had entered the room we would all automatically stand up from our desks, and she would bid us all to súigh síos in her delightful sing-song voice. So why, years later, do I find myself rambling on about an old childhood memory? Well, I actually do have a reason for doing so you see...for at the moment, I am constantly telling myself to suigh sios from the point of view that, in this phase of recovery, I need tro rest and sit down as much as possible. And boy, it is not easy...I wouldn't be telling you the truth if it was. But you just have to tell yourself that you can, and will, do it. And don't ever let yourself think, that you are bbeing lazt by doing what your doctor/parents/friends etc tell you, sitting down and resting all the time.
You are not being lazy. No, not in the slightest. You are being so, so strong by resting and staying sedentary. You are making yourself stronger, and the eating disorder weaker.
But please, if you are in my position and have been essentially forbidden to do any kind of exercise at the moment, whether that be light, moderate or strenuous - don't do what I did the other day; sit and cry while my mam and dad went out walking together and I ouldn't go with them. Looking back on that now, I really do want to kick myself, because, I mean...the amount of things I could have done with that time. Ok, sitting around and doing nothing really isn''t my thing, but...there's loadsssss of things one can generally do in such a situation. And so I have compiled a little list below, to give you some ideas (and if you can think of anymore or have some of your own to add, please feel free to do so ;) )
Constructive strategies and distractions.
- Writing...it's so so helpful. Write out your feelings and thoughts...it is always so, so much better to get those thoughts out of your head and onto paper. Write stories, keep a diary, or write poetry, email a friend, or even better, write a letter to one.
- Write a letter to your ED...this might sound strange, but someone once suggested this to me and I think it is such a great idea. Think about what it has taken away from you, and how much suffering it has caused you. Write this all out, and then tell your ED, right there, that it is over.
- Write out your reasons to recover, your motivations. Think about what you will be leaving behind in moving away from your ED - the fear, the anxiety, the constant self-critical voice in your head.
- Do some research on something you have always been interested about. For me, this involved doing a project-type thing on the countries of the world as I have always been fascinated by this topic. Gather together all your information and make a collage or a scrapbook. You could do a number of these and make yourself a miniature library of your own work!
- Crossstitch and sewing - I used to loveeee doing crosstitch!! I think you can get the little sets in craft shops and the like.
- Knit and crotchet - I can't speak for crotchet as I wouldn't even know where to begin with it ;) but in regard to knitting, I think it is such a lovely way of passing the time. I find it so theraputic too and it gives you a bit iof space to be creative too - by yusing different patterns, colours, types of wool etc. Why not start making scarves and hats etc for youf freinds and family - they make awesome presents :)
- Read a book - I love reading as immersing yourself in a good book essentially means you are transferring yourself into an entirely different world. Find a good book that you have maybe always wanted to read, or which catches your interest as soon as you look at the blurb. Personally I would recommend not trying anything too heavy or depressing but each to their own as they say!
- Painting!! Here is something which I always think is so fun to do - write a load of themes/topics on little slips of paper and put them in a jar. Select a theme and use that as a starting point
- Painting by numbrs
- Crosswords, wordsearches, kriss kross
- Board games
- Untangling wool
- Cleaning and organising room
- Organising books and Cds into alphabetical order
- Tidying and cleaning
- Photography: perhaps use a theme jar as desribed above. You'll surprise yourself when you take pictures. Sometimes even in the smallest, seemingly most simple things one can find great beauty.
- Write out inspiring recovery quotes or anything that is meaningful to you. Spend some time writing them on little bits of colourful paper and then maybe decorating them with little pictures of pretty colours. Stick them on your mirror or your desk or wherever you will see them, or make an inspiration board (I am planning on doing one of these very soon and when I do I will post about it to give you some inspiration! ;)
- read blogs !! Here are some ones which I follow which I love. I would recommend them with all of my heart.
- Cuddling a fluffy teddy
- Playing with your cat/dog
- Wearing fluffy PJs
- Drinking hot choc and dunking in biscuits <3
- Soaking your feet in hot water
- Cuddling a furry friendly animal <3
- Having a really hot, long shower or bath
Sunday, 1 March 2015
Get to know me A - Z :)
A Attached or single? Single...I've never been in a relationship :( I've had a good few crushes, of course, but they never really noticed me I don't think, or knew how crazy I was about them... ;)
B Best friend? This is a very difficult question...I don't really think I have a best best friend. Let's just say there are a few people in my life that I think of as my best friends...and they are scattered all over the place. But I honestly couldn't select any particular one. I love them all so so much, even though they are all so different, so special in their own unique way. <3
C Cake or pie? Hmm another tricky question...I have always been more of a biccie/chocolate girl than cake and pies and such like. I love baking cakes more than eating them, haha. I think though if I had to choose it would be pie...I absolutely love apple pie, rhubarb pie, bakewell tart...and Mud Pie of course is simply irresistable (check out my own recipe HERE ! ;) ) and all the rest. But then again, I have a BIG weakness for bisuit cake (especially in molten form... ;) , so this really is such a hard question for me the answer!! ;)
D Day of Choice? I think it would have to be Friday...I always get so excited on Friday, at the thought of a lovely weekeend ahead of me, and the actual act of travelling back and getting home is so wonderful in itself. <3 Even efore I went into hispital, Fridays were always special for me, as it was the day Mam was off work and we would always spend the day together, just me and her. <3
E Essential Item? Hmmmm....probably my laptop...? Espevially, now that I blog. I have a little duck called Ducky who is one of my most valuable posessions - she was given to me by mam and Dad when I was only a few weeks old - but I don't like referring to Ducky as an item ! ;)
F Favourite colour? cobalt bblue or primrose yellow :)
G Gummy bears or worms? gummy bears! :)
H Hometown? Deal, a little seaside town in Kent, in South-East England :)
I Indulgence? Awww...maybe a really long, hot shower. And also. A great big hot choc with a load of halved marshmallows, Maltesers, Buttons etc all scattered over the top. And. Putting a whole bar of chocolate in a bowl and putting it in the microwave, heating it up till its metled, and the eating the whole lot with a spoon...Yummmmmmmmmmm <3
J January or July? probably July...don't get me wrong, I love winter but I always associate Janurary with the end of Christmas and the holidays which isn't that nice of course ;) whereas July is in the middle of the summer and this is the month when I would usually go on holidays! ;)
K Kids? I don't know...at the moment I haven't reallt given that that much thought...deoending on how things go it might not even be possible for me to ever have kids, what with the osteoporosis and the fact I have never had a period.
L Life is not complete without...? friends and family, animals, fun, laughter.
M Memory you cherish? I have a few. The holiday after Matt finished his luekemia treatment will always be very special. We went to Caliafronia...it was the holiday of a LIFETIME. But I have some very happy childhood memories of holidays here in Ireland too...Sligo and West Cork were wonderful. And also my last school tour with my primary school friends. I'll never forget that. <3 There are so many others too...Paris in Transition Year, the summer after the Leaving Cert, going to Spain to meet my penfriend.
N Number of brothers and sisters? I have an older sister and a younger brother :)
O Oranges or apples? Definitely apples...I like oranges but apples are one of my favourite fruits...you just can't beat a lovely crisp apple :) granny Smith an Pink Ladies are my favourite :)
P Pet peeves? People who sit in the library with their earphones in but they have the music on so loud that everyone can hear it :( Also, rude people, people who stare at you, people who kick you seat on the plane/in the cinema :(
Q Quote? Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is poart of life. Getting back up is living.
R Reasons to smile? I have the most caring, loving family anyone could wish for. Being ill has made me realise who my true friends are too, and those true friends really are a reason for me to smile <3 My lovely catty Felix and the two best doggies in the world, Benny and Maisy :) . The fact that trhough my blog I have come to know some lovely, amazing individuals who have become very special friends to me. <3 Hot choc and being able to bake and be proud of what I made. ;) etc.
S Season of choice? Oh gosh this is so sooooo hard...I love all the seasons I couldn't possibly choose between them!! Sorry :p
T tea or coffee? I would have to say coffe because I don't like tea at all; I'm not mad on coffee either, but I don't mind mochas and cappuchinos.
U Unknown fact about me? Haha let me think :p here's one anyway...i am really superstitious. I believe in ghosts, I would never enter a ringfort because I'd be afraid the fairies would come out after me, I dont ever walk under ladders and I always get nervous when I see one single magpie! ;)
V Vegetable? Hmm..I eo love my veggies..but my favourites would have to be sweetcorn, carrots and peas!! ;)
W Worst habit? Probably picking my nails, and cutting food up too small (still working on this one!! :( ),
X X-ray or ultra-sound? I don't even know what an ultra-sound is, haha. And I've never had one anyway so I couldn't really say.
Y Your favourite trip? Disneyland Paris, California, Mallorca.
Z Zodiac Sign? Aries!