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, 18 April 2015
Looking back...my 20th year.
I turned 20 on the 17th of April 2014. lectures were over, and I was in the middle of the study period before the examinations, supposedly revising. But I wasn't, of course. I was unable to.
Because nearly every single thought, of nearly every single minute of each and every day...was bent towards food, overeating, exercise, body shape, and maintaining my low weight.
This month I went to the counsellors at Trinity, knowing that I just couldn't, couldn't go on like this. I told them about my struggles in college, my inability to study, my fears about failing my exams and being unable to continue at Trinity.
But I didn't tell them what I needed to tell them more than anything else at that time. That I had an eating disorder, and I was bbarely able to keep my head above water because of it.
It was in the first week of this month of 2014, when I realised something which I had known, deep down, for such a long, long time.
It was this month when I acknowledged I had an eating disorder, and actively started working on change...
Summer 2014...this summer, I went to Mallorca, I travelled to England alone to see my Granny, I met up with friends and made jam and summery cakes and went for long walks with my family. And for the first time in what seemed like a lifetime...I experienced a sort of happiness, a freedom I had never felt before. I was starting to break free from the bonds of my eating disorder. I felt invincible...I really, truly thought I had nipped this thing in the bud. But then the days began to shorten and the shadows began to creep back in, and college beckoned to me as that beautiful summer which was Summer 2014 was drawn to a close.
In September 2014 I returned to Trinity as a third year, to resume the course which I had always persued with such high hopes in the past, but had then, on entering the high flier's world of Trinity, had discovered that I hated every single thing about third level english studies.
In Octobber, on one of my many walks with my beloved Benny, I felt the first initial achey twinges in the instep of my right foot. I ignored it for two weeks...it refused to go away. It was almost as if my body was trying to tell me something, that it was crying out for help, that it wasn't long bbefore everything crumpled up again before my very eyes.
And then in November I returned to the doctor's clinic in Trinity which I had reluctantly attended back in october. And there I heard the news that broke my heart and brought tears of frustration, self-hatred and bitterness to my eyes. that I had been diagnosed with an eating disorder and that they were going to refer me, for "specialist treatment"...
Re Emily Snelgrove,
Emily has been attending the Health Centre with a significant medical problem and I have recommended that she go off books for the remainder of this Academic Year.
I have suggested a course of treatment and referred her for specialist intervention
Kind regards, (...)
(the email from my doctor to my tutor, to confirm that it was necessary I leave Trinity.)
What I had done, what I had thought I had achioeved...it wasn't enough, it was never going to be enough.
And so on the 21st of November I walked through Front Arch with the splendour and regal magnificence of Trinity at my back, wishing me a silent farewell. I knew that it was unlikely I would ever cal myself a student of that place of excellence and superb achievement ever again. I spent my 20th Christmas at home with my family and loved ones, and there, being surrounded so much warmth and love, I could almost forget about everything...everything I had done, everything that had happened, everything that was waiting for me in the months that would follow this bright, happy time with the twinkly lights and cosy log fires and colourful presents with the shiny ribbons.
And then on the 6th of January I went up to the clinic with my Mam and my sister...and it was there where I was told that I was to admitted as an inpatient.
On the 19th of January - that sunny, chilly Monday which i remember so well - Mam and Dad took me up in the car to Dublin, to commence my inpatient treatment in the hospital. And there I stayed, for nine weeks.
I lost count of the times that I cried, of the times when I would curl up on my soft little bed and tell myself, no, this can't go on. I am hopeless, I am weak, I am the most stupid, pathetic, useless human being on this earth.
I truly believed that I would never, ever make it.
But nine weeks later on the twenty-third of March, I walked out of those very same doors...I had done it. I had survived, and as a result, I know that those things that I told myself weren't true...I'm not stupid or useless or pathetic, and I am most certainly not weak. Those few words which a dear friend once told me - "True strength comes in the moments when you think you can't go on, but you keep on going, anyway" - are so, so true.
And this applies, for everyone. When things get tough, when everything seems wrong and you feel like it al rests on your shoulders and as a result you should hate yourself, hurt yourself, starve or punish yourself...just please, remember this, and stop yourself right in your tracks. You are worth so, so much more than you think, and you should NOT feel like you should treat yourself in this way. You are strong and you do have the strength, the courage and the determination to go on. You are beautiful and you are one of a kind. there is and forever will be, only ever one of you.
Yesterday I turned 21. Im a young woman now, apparently. Haha. Well, at least this gives me the right I guess to say that yes I AM an adult and I should in theory know what I'm talking about...and so you should all hear me when I say that You deserve life, love and happiness and that nothing on this earth has the right to take that away from you. <3 xxx