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.:)

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Day 14: Think about yourself 1 year have you changed?

Hi everyone :) Day 14 of my recovery challnege!! Haha I know I am so behind in this, I do apologise!! Today, I am going to focus on the precise changes in my behavior and attitudes revolving around eating and recovery since early last year.

Just a quick note: I highly recommend doing your own version of a chart like this. Progress in recovery, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, should always be acknowledged. It is another step, another little victory over your eating disorder. Writing down a list of how you have changed in terms of recovery (don't feel as if you have to limit yourself to how you have changed since last year, though - it can be since last week, last month or two or eight years ago; whichever you feel is the most appropriate) is something which I personally find really helpful and motivational, as it allows you to appreciate just how much you have changed, how much you have overcome - and simultaneously, how much you CAN change and overcome.

You have proved to yourself that you can be strong, as I did. Believe me, I, for example, never, ever, ever believed that I would be able to go through a day without exercising for two hours plus...but I did overcome that fear, that compulsion. I fought that Voice in my head, and no, I didn't grow two heads or develop hives all over my skin! It didn't kill me, it made me stronger. And if I can do it, there is absolutely NO reason that you can't, too. When the urge comes, and you panic, and tell yourself that no, you can't do it: just stop. Stop, take a few long, ddeep breaths, and think. Think...what is the worsrt thing that can happen, if I choose NOT to follow my ED? Will complying to its demands make me stronger, or IT stronger?  Do I really want to live a life like this...a life controlled and dictated by a Voice, a Voice which is not my own?

Anyway, onto my own personal list of changes, of how much I have changed since, shall we say, early last year, when my eating disorder was at its worst.

Back then...
I would only allow myself to eat at most two full meals a day - lunch and dinner or breakfast and dinner; never all three.

But now...
I eat three regular meals each day. 

Back then...
I deprived myself of the majority of the foods I loved, and, if I did decide to perhaps "Indulge" on them on one particular day, I would not permit myself to have them the following day.

But now...
I eat all of my favourite foods on a very regular basis! For example, I can safely say I do NOT go through one single day without eating bananas, chocolate, and hot chocolate, my favourite foods EVER. ;) 
Insomnia HOT CHOC...made with real melted milk own heart melts at the thought! ;)

Back then...
I would only allow myself to eat lowfat or fat free products.

But now...
I allow myself to eat full fat milk, cheese, yoghurt and custard, and I enjoy them. I know the extra fat in them will only help my body to recover properly.

Back then...
I forced myself to exercise for a minimum of 2 hours each day; more if I could afford to.

But now...
I am learning to find enjoy exercise and practice it in a way which is not healthy or obsessive! And of course, I greatly reduced my physical activity as I recognise now what I was doing in the past was far from a healthy habit. This is mainly walking Benny with my family on the weekend afternoons, or taking my favourite springer for a brief 10 minute round of the field in the morning. 

Back then...
I had many different foods which I was too afraid to try, or secrelty liked but lied that I hated so that I would not be expected to eat them.

but now...
I have faced nearly all of my fear foods, some of which I now love and eat on a very regular basis. Cheese and peanut butter being prime examples!!

Back then...
I did not think I could possibly go through a day without exercising.

But now...
Even though a day without any kind of exercise causes me anxiety, I know deep down that I am strong enough to do it, as when I was an inpatient I was forced to rest and remain sedentary for days on end. I know that if I search deep down within myself, that I CAN be brave and strong against my ED anxiety. This problem of resting and not moving has always been one of my biggest issues in recovery and something I am hoping I will be abble to receive help with, as I do still struggle with this alot.

Me and Lizzy. <3 xxx

Ed always won. I always lost.

But now, I am fighting hard against the Voice in my Head. I want to reclaim the life that I loved, a life without an eating disorder.  <3 xxx

Friday, 29 May 2015

Day 13: Have your struggles changed you, for better or for worse?

My battle with my eating disorder has most definitely, without a doubt, changed me, in so many more ways than one.

I suppose at the beginning, when I became sick, these changes were all extremely negative. No, more than negative: destructive, harmful changes. I used to be such a happy, carefree, vibrant girl; full of the energy and blissful exuberance of youth. I was always smiling: a real smile, not a feigned one. My positivity and cheerfulness were infectious, and I had a tonne of friends when I was at primary school, male and female alike. Likewise I was very confident. I used to love speech and drama, and attended classes for some time. Irish dancing, recorder playing, and art I also loved. I even used to play soccer with the lads at breaktime in primary school. All my friends would stand and watch, giggling away and calling out to me that boys were too rough to play with, but I would always just laugh and shake my head, and dash away after the ball, long hair trailing behind me.

But then, when Ed came into my life...that all changed.
Gone was the confidence, the positivity, the talkative, bright personality. It was as if almost every single thing about me was changed, inside and out. Iwithdrew into myself and didn't open up to a soul about what was going on inside my head. My constant laughter was replaced by silence, or tears late at night when noone could see me. There were times as well that the Voice inside my head made me become bitter and defensive. I said things that I didn't mean, hurt those who I loved and cared for, did things which I would never, ever have even dreamt of doing, at one time. If my eating disorder felt as if it had come under threat, it would force to do anything, say anything to keep me under its grip and keep my secret safe. I have always considered myself as being an honest person, but because of what my eating disorder did to me, I lied to those I loved, tricking and deceiving them about my distorted little ways.

I no longer went to drama classes; I didn't get involved in any sports or interactive activities at school. I didn't enquire as to whether there were any dancing classes or music groups in myarea either. When I wasn't at school, I spent my time on my own, usually with my head buried behind a school textbook. My life became revolved around school, study...and my eating disorder.

Along with the obvious physical changes that occurred as a result of my anorexia, there were many psychological and mental changes involved, as well - all negative ones. My mood dipped drastically whereas my anxiety levels rose in contrast. When I went to college in September 2012, my eating disorder intensified, as did my levels of depression and anxiety. At one point thoughts of suicide were never far from my mind. I felt so worthless, so stupid, so ridiculous. I hated every inch of my being.

But things have changed since then. Since I began my recovery journey, there have been many more changes, both physical and psychological. But I think, for me, the most important of these changes is that my struggle to recover has made me stronger as a person. I have come a long, long way from the girl I once was. That girl would have been absolutely terrified, at the thought of having to leave home to go into hospital for nine weeks; of having to cut out exercise, of having to face all of her fear foods and break all the ED-related habits, behaviours and rules that she had been practising for almost half of her lifetime. But yet, I persevered, and I did all of these things, and more. I fully recognise the fact that recovery is most likely the most difficult and frightening of decisions someone with an eating disorder will have to make in their lifetime - and that it requires immense courage, strength and determination to make that decision and embark upon that journey.

I think my struggles against my eating disorder have also made me more open, more aware to the needs and feelings of others. I like to think that I have always been a considerate and thoughtful young woman, but now even more so than before. I have a strong sense of empathy and compassion. I never jump to conclusions straight away, or make any kind of assumptions or judgements about a person through impression, appearance or behaviour. There are always two sides to a story and I fully recognise and appreciate that. Likewise, I do not judge people for their flaws and faults. There is no such thing as being "perfect" as a human being. Striving for perfection is both fruitless and harmful, even destructive, as I learnt to my cost. I have learnt through my struggles that they key to happiness is learning to love and accept yourself for who you are, with all of your beautiful, unique "imperfections"... <3 xxx

                                            2006, before I changed for the worse.       
 By January 2007, I had already lost a good bit of weight

 Summer 2012, after the Leaving Cert: I was underwieght, but not dangerously so

Summer 2014, at my thinnest...but it was here when I began to fight back against my anorexia...

March 2015...I have struggled, and I still do struggle, against the Voice in my Head. But I am still fighting...and I have changed for the better.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

My Meal Plan Mission...Part 1

Sticking to the meal of the most important parts of the recovery process, and, arguably enough, also one of the most challenging. Because by doing so, your ED is literally screaming in your ear, trying to convince you that what you are doing is so wrong, essentially. That you are going against al your "rules" and "principles", that it made for you and which you adopted as your life philosophy, in a way. Sticking to you meal plan is something which requires immense willpower, strength and perseverance. But needless to say, it's a key ingredient in terms of eating disorder recovery; since many of those in recovery may have no clue whatsoever how much, when and what they should eat every day; and having a meal plan instantly solves that problem immediatly.

And this, for me, is most certainly something I have been struggling with ALOT recently. and its funny because at the beginning, I considered myself at being fairly good at keeping to it. I suppose that was because of the fact that back then I knew that I had to gain weight and I recognised just how imoportant it was for me that I did so. But now, things have become harder. My bmi has increased from 15 to 18 since I went into hospital, and now, at this new, healthier bmi, my ED voice tells me that I need to stop and start restricting again, as you have already gained weight Emmy, and you need to lose it again.


I often wonder, how the world sees they see a girl who is recovered? Do they see, do they feel the battle going on and on and on, inside my very own head?

About two weeks ago today, I was walking from the station towards the hospital, the thoughts rushing, rushing through my head; so much so that it almost felt like I was walking in an entirely different world, a world of my own making. Just me and Ed. Ed trying to tell me things, I trying desperately to ignore them, to not listen to them. What are you going to try and miss out on today, Emmy. - No, please, I don't want to miss out on anything. - You do, you know you do. Because if you stick to that meal plan, you know you will just gain more weight, and you know that you don't want that...

And then, I felt it; a sensation, that I knew all too well: a building ache in the heel of my left foot, barely noticeable at first, but intensifying with every step i took.

The last time I had had one of those "aches" in my foot, it had been my right foot, in the instep...and it had been like that for over three months; and for those three months I had hobbled from place to place like a cripple.

Why? well, looking back on it now, I had obviously sprained or injured my foot in some way, by seemingly doing nothing at all - I didn't fall, slip, twist my ankle or anything. But what i didn't realise at first back then, as I limped around trying to conceal my injury from everyone...was that, because my body was so undernourished, because I had overexercised for as long as I could remember - hammering up and down, up and down the hard tarmac roads for as long as I could manage, whether it be scorching hot, freezing cold, pouring with rain or perilously icy - because of all that, I had caused severe damage to my feet. And even when I did hurt myself, I still didn't allow it to rest.

And here I was again, now...a different foot, and a new injury in a slightly different place. I tried to keep walking, but I knew I was getting slower and slower. My usual brisk, quick-stepped little walk diminished to a dragging, heavy-footed limp. I very nearly sat down hard on the damp pavement and cried. So. After all of my efforts, after having been forced to put on weight, face my fear foods, and spend day after day cooped up like a prisoner behind the walls of a hospital, forbidden to walk or do any form of exercise...this was what I had. My body was still weak; and I had done it again -  my foot was injured, by doing absolutely nothing at all. Everything seemed so, so hopeless and pointless. Slowly the tears I had been trying to hold back leaked onto my cheeks, and I didn;t even lift a hand to wipe them away.

Guess you've won again, Ed...

But then, a few hours later, I realised what I had to do.

I rested my foot. I stayed at home for a few days folowing the incident, elevating the injured foot on a mountain of cushions with my knitting and my laptop close to hand to keep my mind busy and Ed quiet. I moved about as little as I could. By God it was not easy; for rest is something that I really really do struggle with. But I knew that my foot needed it, that I needed it. Otherwise, if I kept on clattering around at ninety miles an hour, walking and doing my usual chores, I wasn't going to get myself anywhere. I would just make my foot worse and worse.

And then, over the next few days, my foot DID improve. the swelling reduced dramatically, the aches lessened and then diminished altogether. But one thing that did not fade, was the memory of what had just happened. The realisation of just how lucky I really was.

No. I',m not recovered. And as I confessed to you at the beginning of this post, the past couple of months haven't been great for me in terms of sticking to my meal plan. But. I KNOW I have to get myself back on track. Because it's obvious that there is still work to be done, in terms of recovery and strengthening my body and bones and improving my osteoporosis. I know that if I don't stick to that meal plan, I will be as helpless and as weak as a canoe without a paddle,caught on the rushing rapids. I will be swept away and dashed against the rocks. Ed tries to tell me, that i do not need to stick to the meal plan. That I should try to lose weight again and go back to skinny, stick thin Emmy. No. I canot, I will not let this happen. I know that I have to keep on fighting, keep on nourishing my body and my bones. Then and only then will my body become stronger; only then will the severity of my osetoporsis be reduced; only then will I be able to get my periods back. I know that I have to do it. I have come too far to turn back now.

Tomorrow I will commence with my recovery chalenege!! So sorry my posts are all a bit higgley-piggedly at the moment. I also plan to write more about how I plan to fight my ED in terms of sticking to the meal plan, and share my thoughts and advice on this. I have recently received alot of advice from a very special friend of mine and I just want to take this opportunity to thank her with all my heart. <3 xxx

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Sultana sponge!! :)

APOLOGIES everyody I haven't done a recipe post for ages..... :o we're going all classic and nostalgic today...remember that fluffy, delicately sweet sponge dripping with some sort of sticky jam that your granny used to make? Last weekend I rustled up my own little version of one, adding some plump sultanas after the mixing stage. this cake is so comfortingly simple to make, and you can whip it up in no time at all, and it's highly likely you will have most of the ingredients in already. Great if you have had a jam-packed day as the Ganache-Elf often does! ;)

  • 225 g margarine/butter, softened
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 225 g self-raising flour
  • A few drops of milk if needed
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 100g sultanas
  • About 6-8 tbsp jam (I used raspberry)
  • Granulated or icing sugar for dusting 
  • Preheat oven to 180c/fan 160c. Grease 2 sandwich tins that are 20 cm in diameter. Line the bases with baking paper.
  • Put the margarine, sugar, eggs, flour and baking powder and beat well with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes until smooth and well-blended. After two minutes pause the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a metal spoon or a spatula so it’s all nicely incorporated.
  • Spoon up a little of the mixture and let it fall back into the bowl to check that it is of a nice dropping consistency – it should slide easily back into the bowl. Add a few drops of milk if required. Foldin the sultanas with a large metal spoon.
  • Divide the mixture equally amongst the two tins and smooth the surfaces with the back of a spoon or a palette knife.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes until the sponges are well-risen and springy to the touch when pressed gently with a fingertip: if a slight indentation is left when you remove your fingertip, then bake for another few minutes or so before testing again.
  • Remove from the oven and leave in the tins for about three minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Wait another minute, then gently peel off the baking paper. Leave to cool completely.
  • When the sponges are completely cold, spread a generous layer of jam across the top of one of the sponges before placing the other one on top. Sprinkle with a little icing sugar or granulated sugar.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Day 12: What are 3 things you would like to change about yourself...

I wish that I could learn to place less iimportance of my weight, shape, and appearance, and that I could be strong enough to fully let my eating disorder go.

this is something in particular, which I would love to change about myself.

I often ask myself...Why am I so focused on the way I look? Who am I out to impress, after all? But after further contemplation, I don't really think that is what is relevant here. Its not a matter of impressing anyone, making myself look attractive. When I was at my skinniest, I could never, ever look in the mirror and smile and think I looked beautiful. Not even when I reached the size, the weight that I had aimed for.

It's nothing to do with that. I think, for me, being skinny was my identity and my security. I thought: no, I was, am and never will be beautiful. But at least they can say I am not overweight. The thought of being overweight terrified me, as did the thought of failing my exams, losing everyone that I had ever loved, and being on my own. And this fear then spiraled into an obsession with being skinny which, in turn, allowed my eating disorder to develop.

Why was I so, so bent on being like this...forever? Why did I sacrifice everything, for the sake of just being skinny? 

There are days when I literally want to just reach out and shake myself, if this was realistically possible. Shake myself hard and cry out that unspoken question.

Why, why, why, Emmy, do you place so much importance and emphasis on the way you look? On how much you weigh? On what dress size you are? Why? Why does it matter? Is life not short enough? didn't you once tel yourself...that life was too short, to be not be happy? 

I wish I was able to concentrate better.

This is something that I lost through my eating disorder, and which I dearly wish I could regain. There was a time when I was the girl who could study well for an exam or a test without killing herself with the effort of doing so; who could spend hours sitting with her typewriter in the conservatory;engrossed in yet another piece of narrative writing of her own creation; who could learn languages while on the go and sit curled up with a good book long into thelate hours of the night. But this all changed when my eating disorder became stronger, and, suddenly and horribly, I discovered that it was extremely hard for me to focus at all.

I wish that I could embrace the real me, the happy, bubbly, carefree girl who I once was, and lost.

It's true, I remember what the real me used to be like. The girl who was always smiling, who loved wearing pretty dresses and making herself look pretty, the girl whose energy and enthusiasm knew no bounds whatsoever; the girl who was passionate about the things she loved and who loved to dance and write and meet new people. She was confident, talkative, outgoing and sociable. But now, I feel as if I am a shadow of that girl who I once was. Now, that girl who was once me, has now become shy, insecure, nervous and self-loathing. More often than not, I find myself feeling down, depressed, exhausted and hopeless. All because of Ed, and what Ed took away from me. :'(

And though I know, I will never be able to completely be like that girl I once was...I wish I could, be a bit like her. I hope, with all my heart, that one day, she will come back, back to me.
Before I became sick, all those years ago, everything was so, so different...before everything changed,; before I changed...

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Day 11: What motivated you to enter recovery?

For eight long years, I was completely lost in the sea which my eating disorder had created for me...and I was powerless to resist its domineering, manipulative Voice. A Voice that occupied my head every single minute of every single hour of every single day in which I breathed...or tried to breathe, because it felt at times it was suffocating me.

yet I clung to it, clung to it  like a drowning girl grasping a slippery piece of driftwood, lost in the depthless expanses of some terrible, endless ocean. For a while the driftwood provides comfort, salvation for her. She allows herself to think she is safe and this flimsy thing on which she has pinned all her hopes on will never let her down. But it does, of course, and suddenly she is falling,falling, swallowed up by that terrible grey sea which washes over her without mercy, reclaiming her for its own.

And Anorexia is like that, in many ways...the driftwood is the Voice and its lies, the Voice which you put all your trust in; but ineveitably, of course, that Voice will cast you down without one drop of remorse. And then that sea is is the force which is the force of an eating disorder; a force that submerges you, pulls you under, drowns you, destroys you...

This is what was happening to me, until the day when something moved deep inside me, and I suddenly realised that, no, I was not living - I was drowning. All of a sudden everything changed me and I realised I wanted to recover and fight for my life...

There were a number of things which motivated me to enter recovery. First and foremost, of course, the deep love I possessed for those who cared about me. Whenever I was with them, I could feel their pain; sense their concern and frustration. They were so, so worried about me...but they knew, that they could not help me until I decided that i wanted to help myself.

Another fundamental motivation for me to recover was my recognition of the extent to which my eating disorder had damaged and harmed my body. This recognition was really driven home to me in November last year, when my college doctor pointed out to me that the reason why I had seemingly injured my foot without having actually fallen, slipped, or enagaged in any kind of impact activity, was because my body was so undernourished and my bones and muscles were more than likely damaged and in a very bad way. And then, of course, there was the osteoporosis diagnosis. This was a horrible, horrible blow to the head for me. it was yet another testimony to just howmuch my eating disorder had cost me. The few weeks following my diagnosis were very, very tough for me. I wanted to give up, because it felt like, after having been through so, so much, my anorexia really had triumphed, this time.

I didnt think there was anything left for me to recover for.

But then, after nights of crying myself to sleep, dragging myself through the day and faking countless smiles to those around me; of concealing the hurricane of emotions deep inside me which clawed at my heart; threatening to tear me apart altogether...then, I suddenly realised that I needed to pick myself up again. that no, serious osteoporosis did not mean that my eating disorder had won; or that I should just give in to it. In fact, I knew that it should be quite the opposite. I had to see my osteoporosis as motivationto it was possible, that I could improve my bones and make them stronger, if I continued to nourish my body and fight my eating disorder.

And of course, last but most certainly not little blog and my readers. You all have played such an important part in motivating me to enter recovery. Your support, helpful advice, words of encouragement. for simply taking the time to read my blog, or leaving me a little comment on any particular blog post...I've said it once I know, but I say it again, because I really do mean it, with all my heart. Thank you so, so much, for reading my blog, for writing a comment, for thinking of me, for supporting have no idea just how much this means to me. Thank you, so, so much. <3 xxx

One of my first outings out after being discharged from hospital :) xxx

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Day 10: 5 of my Goals...

1.) To recover from my eating disorder; and to live a life uncontrolled by the Voice inside my head.

I realise now that, unless I continue to fight my eating disorder with every breath in my body and succeed in making a full - not a half - recovery, I will never win back my freedom or happiness. Neither will I improve my osteoporosis or accept myself for the person I really am - that person being Emmy, the Emmy without an eating disorder...

2.) To help and reach out to those in need.

I know that there is alot of suffering in the world. In every single country of our planet, there is poverty, inequality, disease, homelessness. And the list doesn't end there of course. On a more local scale, there are many people in our society who may be isolated, destitute, depressed, or just in need of a helping hand.
I want to be able to make a difference in the world, some day...and as soon as I am well enough to do so, I am going to make this goal a reality. i am not sure how, but it is something I have set my heart on. Maybe I will volunteer overseas or become a community worker or get involved in some form of charity work. I'm not sure, I just know deep down this is something which means so, so much to me.

3.) To become a primary school teacher. 

this is the career that I have dreamed of pursuing; ever since my latter years of primary school. However, when things began to go wrong for me at secondary school, my dream wavered. I didn't think that I was good enough, and that I would not be able to do Honours Irish. So I turned onto another path, one which I was certain I would be able to succeed in...that being, of course, English.
Years on from that and here I am. And now I realise that I was wrong to give up on my dream. Nothing is impossible when you believe and once again I have set my heart on pursuing this particular career path. And I no longer believe that  i would not be "suitable" for this sort of career. I am friendly, kind, loving, patient and hardworking and I love being around children. All I need to do is fight and overcome my eating disorder, so that I can be well enough to start working and also so that I can stand as a positive role model to the children, someone they can look up to.

4.) To forge myself a life without an eating disorder.

At present I don't really know what that life actually is. What will it be like, what will I be doing, where will I be going. But there is only one way to find out, and that is to RECOVER. And I know that my life without an eating disorder will be like nothing I have never experienced before...but I hope that my life without an eating disorder will be one of freedom. Freedom, and excitement, and adventure...of laughter and fun and special memories, memories which I will cherish forever and will look back upon with happy, tearful fondness.

5.)To raise awareness about eating disorders, the world over.

When I feel that I am ready I really want to get involved in volunteering with eating disorder support networks such as Bodywhys. Through my blog and my writing, I aim to spread awareness about this awful mental illness that claims the lives of so many sufferers every year. I am determined to do everything in my power to stop the spread of eating disorders. I hope that by sharing my experience and telling my story, I will be able to make people more informed and aware of the complexity of eating disorders, and highlight the awful consequences they can have for the victims and their families. I never fitted the "typical" anorexic stereotype many people might associate with an eating disorder. I was never at an extremely low bbmi, I never vomited or used laxatives and I never went through a day eating nothing at all. But yet, because of my eating disorder, I have serious osteoporosis and very poor mental health. I had been restircting and overexercising for the duration of my teenage years and this had a very damaging effects on both my body and mind.
 My goal is to allow others to recognise that, regardless of how mild or severe a person's eating disorder is; regardless of whether they be underweight, overweight, or normal weight; and regardless of what different symtoms or behaviours they may display  - I want others to recognise that everyone with an eating disorder is equally entitled to proper support, care, and treatment. It's true, you might see someone on the street today and not think for one moment that he or she has an eating disorder...but often, appearances can be very, very deceptive; and so much can be hidden behind a smile and a cheery face. <3 xxx

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Day 9: Who do you look up to? Why?

In my life, there are a number of people who have helped me enormously in my journey to recovery: some, who I have known since i was very young; others, maybe only for the past year or so, maybe even less than that. Yet every single one of them never cease to inspire and motivate me every single day. On my down and bad days, it is they who I turn to, who help me to pick myself up when I have fallen, and tentatively step forward once again. I know thatwithout their love, care, help, and support, I would never have gotten to where I am today in terms of my recovery. They have been there for me every step of the way, and I want to take this opportunity to thank them, all of them, with all my heart. Because without them, I know that climbing out of that merciless, cold, depthless sea of my anorexia would have been impossible, let alone beginning to climb that mountain towards recovery...

One of the people I look up to the most is my sister. Liz has been my rock ever since I was diagnosed with an eating disorder back in October. She helped me to pick up the pieces of my world when it seemed like my whole world had fallen apart. While I was in hospital she visited me as often as she could, despite the fact that it was difficult for her as she had to travel all the way from Monaghan to Dublin to see me.

I look up to my sister because I can see, when I look at her, a young woman who is beautiful, both on the inside and on the outside. She is happy, kind, understanding and supportive. She is friendly and socialbale, brave and strong. She listens to her body and eats what she likes, when she feels like it. She sees food as something to be enjoyed and shared and appreciated, rather than something to be measured and controlled and feared.

I will never be able to thank Lizzy for what she has done for me. She has been there for me since day 1...and I know that she always will be. Time may pass, leaves may fall...and everything I ever knew might change, might vanish forever. But I know that the love between my sister and I, that special sisterly bond that we have shared since we were children, will never be altered or diminished in any way; and will remain as palpable and as strong as the wings of a soaring eagle, or as the waves that crash against the golden shores of the beautiful island where I first tasted what true happiness feels like... <3 xxx 

Monday, 18 May 2015

Places I would Love to see in my Lifetime!!! :)

Before I commence with Day 9 of the recovery challenge...i just had to join in my dear little friend across the North Sea, Ange <3 , in compiling a list of the places we would love to see or visit in our lifetime!!

I found doing this so fun and exciting, as well highly motivational - After all, it is important to be fully aware that in order to travel and explore all these fascinating, beautiful, unique or extraordinary places, one must be well enough to do so...and also, of course, the expereince will never, ever be fully enjoyed if you are still holding on to your eating disorder. And this is something which I am constantly reminding myself of, as I look toward the summer ahead of me and all the lovely plans I have made. I know, that if I let that Voice in my head control me, dictate my every move...then instead of laughter and joy and that pure, unbroken, true happiness which makes your heart sour within your chest and a rosy glow spread over your, in replacement of that there will be anxiety, apprehension, tears, and fearfulness. Too many holidays, trips, journeys and special times, have been ruined by my eating disorder...and I never, ever want this to happen, ever, ever again.

So here we own wee (or maybe not so wee.. ;) ) list of the places I want to see before I die:

  • Canada. I think the landscape opf this huge country looks absolutely spectacular..the mountains, the forests, the lakes...and then of course there is all the fabulous wildlife to be seen there..moose, wolves, bears, and so much more. I would love love love to bvisit this stunning country <3
  • Mallorca..haha I know, I've been here for a few times at this stage. But I will never, ever tire from visiting this stunning island off the coast of Spain. It surely is one of my most favourite places on earth. I literally fell in love with gorgeous Mediterranean scenery...I have a bit of a love relationship with that, ever since I first visited Mallorca. The groves of olive and citrus trees, the goats and cows and sheeps with the little bells around their necks which tinkle softly when they move, the narrow streets of the villages with their tiny bakeries and dainty cafes with the parasols open over each table...all of it just has a quintessential charm which couldnt be found anywhere else on earth <3

  • Italy. Italy attracts me for many reasons of course. The historical stuff, the landscape, the weather, the mountains and the cities and the heavenly ice creams. Italy just has it all really it seems. ;) 
  • Florida. Well of course...Disneyland Orlando...I have dreamed of going there ever since I was a little girl. I am an avid Disney fan after all, and I just, well, love rollercoasters, haha. And there really is something magical about enchanted sort of feel which simply can't be found in any other place in the world <3
  • Germany. I've never been to Germany but again, it looks so fascinating. I particularly would love to see the beautiful fairytale Castles there (as you all know I am a bit of a medievalist at heart ;) ) and also visit some of the cities such as Munich..and of course a certain special little friend who lives near there.. ;) 
  • Australia. Again another magnificent country I would love to go to. I would love to swim the sapphire blue waters of the great Barrier Reef and see all the Nemos and Dorys in their natural habitat... ;) and I would love to see Ayers Rock, Sydney, Brisbane and the rainforests. And I'm sure there's loads more to Australia than just that.
  • Wales. I've been to the smallest country of the island of Britain a few times, but for fondness for it seems to augment following every single visit.  Wales is so, so lovely. I adored the Snowdonia mountains, the quaint little villages, the railways, the splendid castles and fantastic coastal scenery.
  • New Zealand. Sofar away, but, having watch the Lord of the Rings and been told it was filmed in New Zealand, I feel compelled to go there for myself. It looks incredible!! And hey there are penguins and kiwis and lots of other animals there <3 it's not a country I know that much about, but still this aura of mystery surrounding it makes me want to go there even more!!!
  • Scotland. Again, the history, the landscape, the wildlife. The rugged wildness of the Scottish highlands hold a sort of spellbinding effect over me. And then of course there are lots of castles, lakes, glens, and forests. A breathtaking coastline, a beautiful capital city, hundreds of windswept little isles and islets to explore. It's one gem of a place. <3
  • Another dear friend told me about Russia and it also sounds amazing, so I am adding Russia to my list too!
  • There are many parts of England that I really want to visit somet ime in the future, too: in particular, Cornwall, Kent, Cumbria. And back to my homeland, too, of course, Kent, the Garden of England <3 
  • Sweden also looks very aesthetic too. As do all the other Scandinavian countries..ok let's just say I would love to go to all of them!!! :p
  • California can never have had enough of the Golden State <3 
  • Austria also looks really nice and I love the Alpine setting <3
Please don't hesitate to join in...what about YOU? Where do you really want to go to during your lifetime? Please comment or link your blog below!! <3

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Day 8: If I could go back in time...and speak to that girl who was once me...a girl without an eating disorder...

Since I was young I have always been fascinated by history, especially that of the medieval era, as reflected in my Morokia. And so hand in hand with that, was the whole captivating concept of time travel. Being the child that I was, I would dream about being enabled to do such a miraculous thing... I imagined myself going back, back, back to the age of castles and knights in shining armour, of pyramids and scarabs and palaces, of long dresses and grand paintings and chandelier-lit ballrooms. I could be the medieval princess, the Egyptian queen, the Victorian lady or the Roman priestess. Time travel was regularly incorporated into my childhood games and innocent play. It was something that I thought about, dreamed about, and fantasised about alot.

But now, now I am older. I am no longer the little girl that I once was.

But funnily enough, alot of the time, I still do think about time travel...

But in a different way than before.

If only I could go back to the girl I was...I would have so much to say to her...

For I wish with all my heart that I could travel back in time, to the girl that I once was. The young, happy, carefree girl without an eating disorder.

I would implore her with all my just be herself, in the years that lay ahead of her: the difficult, challenging teenhood years. And not to try to be someone else. 

Not to try to be someone else...not to be a skinnier, slimmer, bonier version of the girl that was me.

Because that was what happened to me, when I left behind the innocence and tranquility of my childhood behind, to enter an entirely different which I could not find myself. I felt like I had no I told myself, that I would forge one based on how I looked, how the world would see me. And so I set off along that path of destruction, unaware and blind to the consequences and what awaited me...because I wanted the world to see, when they looked at me, a skinny, skinny girl.

I would tell that girl that i once not take those lessons about obesity so much to heart. To be aware of it, but not to automatically jump to the conclusion that yes, that is me, I am fat. I need to lose weight. As this is exactly what happened.

I would tell her that to assume that weight loss and restriction would bring her success, popularity, beauty, achievement and perfection would be the most distorted and falsest of suppositions she could ever, ever make. I would tell her that is just one of the many, many lies that an eating disorder tells you. Losing weight and developing an eating disorder did not bring me success, popularity or happiness. Instead, it brought me loneliness, heartbreak, misery and wretchedness. I brought me extreme distress and drove me into isolation and depression. It brought me the body that I - no, my eating disorder - wanted me to have. A thin body, a bone thin body...starved and deprived of proper nourishment. My bones weakened and became brittle, my skinturned dry and flaky and wrinkly. The light went out of my eyes and my face became gaunt and hollow-cheeked. No, my eating disorder did not bring me happiness. It brought me nothing but suffering and nearly drove me to an early grave.

If I could go back in time and speak to that girl who was once me...

I would say to her...please, please, don't try to change yourself and who you are, in a way which is so, so destructive. It will bring you nothing, Emmy, nothing. Nothing but tears and shattered pieces and bitterness. The path laid for you by your eating disorder is one which will eventually lead to your death.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Day 7: Two things I want...and two things I need.

Well, let's take needs first...

 I know, I need to recover from my eating disorder. I need to gain weight, I need to totally let go of all my old ED habits and behaviors. I need to completely let go of my eating disorder, and to silence that ever present Voice in my head forever and ever.

But on my bad days...I often forget that this is something that I need...which I need to live, live a healthy, happy life free of restrictions, and anxiety, and fear, and isolation. But On my bad days, the thoughts come rushing back, the guilt and sense of helplessness kicks in, and the Voice, that Voice, becomes stronger than ever, and I find myself too weak to resist it. On my bad days, I let myself think that I don't need to recover from my eating disorder.

I am sure I am not alone in thinking this. But what I have to realise, what we all have to realise, is that these are all sick, distorted and very harmful ways of thinking. And that we have every reason to choose recovery, to believe that we can recover, to believe that this is what we need, and need to fight for, with every breath we take, every heartbeat.

I know I need to gain weight...because...

  • I need to be at a healthy bmi to repair the damage done to my body from when I was sick
  • To help improve and strengthen my weak, brittle bones
  • To get my concentration back and to be mentally stronger to fight my eating disorder thoughts.

I know I need to fully (not partially) recover from my ed...because...

  • Because I will never be truly happy or free, unless I totally let go of my eating disorder and all my old eating disorder habits and behaviours.
  • In hanging onto my eating disorder, I will continue to isolate myself. I will miss out on opportunities, I will continue to detach myself from those who I love. I will continue to live in my own little bubble of regulation and control and fear. 
  • If I do not let go of my eating disorder wholly and completely...then that Voice in my Head which has lingered with me for so, so long will never be silenced. It will still be with me, it will still control me, it will still manipulate me and bend me to its will every day. And then one day, I might find myself unable to resist it for any longer...

I think the other thing I need to do is develop my self-esteem, and to distance myself from the sense of self-hatred which has been with me, ever since my early teenage years.
On several times in the past, when things got overbearingly difficult for me, I considered committing suicide. I wrote in my diary how I planned to cycle to the railway station and throw myself in front of a train...and put an end to it all. All the pain, all the suffering, all the tears. Never again would I cause my loved ones, or any other person in my life, any more concern, any more heartbreak, anymore anger, frustration or misery. I thought that the world would be a much better place...without me.

Equally, alot of the time I considered myself "useless" at everything. Nothing I did was ever, ever good enough, in my head. My writing, my communicative and social skills, my blogging, my baking, my academic work, exercise, the way I dressed each day and how I expressed myself. everything, every single thing I did, big or small, I scrutinised and criticised relentlessly. If asked to write a list of adjectives to describe myself, the negatives would all automatically spring into my mind. Ugly, stupid, useless, clingy, pathetic, weak, selfish. Nothing positive, ever.

I know I need to work on this...that I need to work on my sense of self-esteem. Otherwise, I will always be unhappy, because I will continue to see myself as worthless and inept, and consistently bring myself down.

It's hard to say really, what I really, really yearn for, with all my heart and soul. We were talking about winning the lotto the other day around the family dinner table and when Mam asked me what I would do with the money if I won it, I found, to my surprise, I couldn't really answer.

One thing I really do want, and which I know would be such an exciting and life-changing experience for me...would be to go to Sweden to study with a dear friend of mine... I dont' know if this is possible for me, because of financial circumstances and whether I would actually be well enough to go... But it would be a dream come true for me, and it is still one of my biggest motivations to get better. :)

And another thing I want...

This is something which I always used to pray for, when I was a little girl and always used to say my nighttime prayers before i went to sleep at night.
That is, peace and equality for every single person on this earth...for no one single living human being on this planet to be deprived of their freedom...whatever the word freedom may connote for them.

But I know realistically this is sort of, impossible...because even as I write this, I know that there is so much suffering and hurt and pain in the world. But all we can do is try our best, to make this world a better reaching out, by listening, by offering support, a helping hand, a listening ear...or simply our love. And all those acts of kindness and goodness, whether they be big or small...none of them should be overlooked or taken for granted, as these are what reduces suffering and sadness on our planet, and which helps to make our world a brighter, better place.  <3 xxx

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Day 5: How would you like the be remembered?

Again, another very tough question for me to answer. No sooner had I typed those seven words out as my post title, and had sat back to ruminate on what on earth I should write...the critical voice, Ed's voice, immediately set in.

As if there's anything about you which is worth remembering...

The only thing worth remembering about you, is the girl who suffered, and died from, her eating disorder...

It's true, this is what I used to think and believe. And even now, on my bad days, the Voice is stil there, trying to convince me that this really is what all that I will be worth remembering for.

But I know I that this is not true. I know that what I want to be remembered for, what I really want to be remembered for. I want to be remembered as the happy, smiling, bubbly girl with the long blonde hair and the kind, sincere blue eyes. Who was friendly, loyal, open and honest and loving. Who was a true friend, a loving daughter and sister.

I want to be remembered as the girl who did recover, despite all the bumps in the road, the uncertainties, the fears, the slip-ups. I want to be remembered as the girl who helped others to recover, too. Through my writing and my blog, through reaching out to all those who are struggling, through listening and giving advice and offering care, support, and a helping hand to every single person out there with an eating disorder.

I want to be remembered as the girl who recovered...

Who proved that eating disorders CAN be beaten...

I think there is still part of me too who wants to be remembered as Emmy the Medieval Geek and author of Morokia...haha who knows I might publish my trilogy some day and become famous??? :p haha ahh sure we're all allowed to dream!!! :p

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Day 4...Have you ever hurt or caused pain to someone else, apart from yourself, because of your eating disorder?

It would be an understatement to say that an eating disorder is one of the most cruelest of human diseases...

...Because of the ways in which it touches - in the most damaging, destructive, and potentially devastating of ways - not only the life of the sufferer, but the lives of the sufferer's friends, family, loved ones.

I can relate to this wholly and completely, in regard to all those I love and hold dear.
It hurts me so much, every single day, to think of how they have been hurt by my eating disorder, how much they have suffered. Every day, a crippling sense of guilt claws at my heart, because deep down, I still do blame myself for what happened. Though through the help and support I have received over the past few months, I am now beginning to attempt to challenge this core central belief of mine, which has been with me ever since the day I recognised that I had an eating disorder. That it is your fault, Emmy. You are an awful, selfish person. You can't throw off this disorder which has caused - and still causes - your loved ones so much pain and heartbreak!! 

This is what I know I need to accept and take as my new little belief, and which, as I write to you now, I beg you to adopt, too. This being, that You did not choose to become sick, you do not CHOOSE to struggle as you attempt to shake off this sickness. Would you blame yourself if you developed cancer? If you broke a leg? If your appendix became infected and you had to have it removed? An eating disorder is an illness, NOT a choice. You are not to blame for having developed an eating disorder. You did not choose this illness. But like all those brave, determined people out there who are choosing to fight their illness or condition - the young boy who has broken his ankle but is forcing himself to rest every day in order to allow the essential healing and recovery process take place , the lady who has been diagnosed with breast cancer but who has refused to resign herself to her fate and has gone into treatment to receive chemotherapy...

YOU - yes, YOU - can choose to not give up, and to fight this illness before it destroys you...

I know that my eating disorder has hurt and caused pain to so many of my loved ones. For Mam. My beautiful, strong, inspiring, loving Mam who has dedicated so much of her life, her time, to caring for me, for looking out for me, for holding me close when I cried and sobbed that I couldn't do it. She has been there for me every step of the way. Ever since I opened up to her that day in May, when I told her that I was struggling, sinking in that cold, cold sea, the sea of my eating disorder, and allowing it to submerge and drown me...she has always, always been at my side. She has never given up on me. And I know she never will.

I have lost count of the amount of times, when I have looked into Mam's eyes and have had to look away before she realised that what I saw reflected in them nearly made me weep bitter, angry tears on the spot, every single time. Because I know Mam has gone through so, so much pain and hurt through my illness. To initially see me so sick, so frail, so weak. And then, now that I have actually gained weight, I know that my eating disorder still causes her to suffer. because she can see what I don't see, what ED won't allow me to see. That I look a hundred times more healthier than the way I was before. But I am struggling to accept my new body, and I am still, after all this time, far from free of an eating disorder. And I know that Mam knows this, that she sees it in me every day. And I know that this hurts her. I know that it almost is enough to break her heart.

But I know, the best gift I could give my Mam, would be my full recovery. Iknow nothing will make her happier than for to see me happy again, to see a genuine smile of pure joy on my face. To see me embracing and living life to the full.

Remember this. You did not choose to have an eating disorder. You did not choose to hurt your loved ones, to cause them so much pain and suffering and grief. But. You CAN choose recovery. You can choose to fight your eating disorder. You can choose to make your loved ones smile again, to never be hurt again. You can choose to make them happy, to never be hurt again by your eating disorder.

You can choose recovery. <3 xxx

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Day 3: Three positive things about Yourself...

This was a difficult and challenging thing for me to write. if you had asked me to write something like this nine or ten years ago, before all my problems began, I probably would have sat there for a little while with a pen in my mouth, biting in contemplative thought, before beginning to scribble something out, perehaps somewhat sheepishly if anything, but certainly not..reluctantly. Quite a contrast to the girl who sat in front of her laptop this morning, staring at the blank page on the screen, fingers resting motionless on the keypad. 

It was true, I was very reluctant to write anything because well, I thought initially, I don't like anything about myself, in fact I hate myself. So what's the point of doing something like this. Maybe I should just skip this question...

But then I suddenly realised...

that was ED talking, not me.

Look deep inside yourself, like I did this morning...take a long, hard look, and see yourself for the person you really are. No single person on this planet is the same. Every single one of us in special and unique, in hundreds of thousands of different ways.

And recognising those differences and valuing them, does not, in any way, make you selfish or vain. You have to realise that to have healthy relationships with anyone else in your have to have a healthy relationship with YOURSELF too!!!

You could probably think of a hundred different positive things about your best friend, your sister, your boyfriend, your cat. So why not...yourself? Why should you treat yourself any differently?

This is something which I am trying to teach myself, too, and which I know I must work on. because I know that recovery will be made all the more tougher, if I don;t build on my self-esteem and recognise that, no, in fact, I am not worhtless or useless or pathetic or stupid. I have been sick for nine years and I'm only just beginning to try and find my feet in life. And yes, I know, I am not a bad person. I've made countless mistakes and messed up on things hundreds of times. But does this make me a bad person? No, it does not...and I want you all to realise that, too. Making mistakes is part of being human.

Anyway, after much deliberation, I finally got round to writing down three things that I like about myself. 

1.My kind, loving personality. I like to think that for such a small person (Im only about 5 foot and I don think Im going to grow any taller ;) ) I have a big heart. And when I love, I love with all of that very heart. I am very affectionate and care deeply for those who are precious to me (whether they be animals or humans ;) . I am kind and generous in nature. I never like to hear a bad word said about anybody, and always look for the best in people. I always try to be there for those who I love.

2. My hair. I've always had very long, thick, fair hair ever since I was a little girl. I was very lucky in that even when my eating disorder was at its worst, my hair did not suffer. And now that I am much healthier than I once was, I have actually come to like my long, dark blonde locks with the fair streaks of gold in it (people have asked me if they are highlights but I always have to assure them that no, it's all natural!!). It's very thick and a pain to manage sometimes but...I don't think I would change it for the world. Until I start going grey, of course!! :p

Mammy did plaits in my hair yesterday and when I took them out today my hair was alll curly!!! :D

3. My friendly, open nature. I love talking and listening to people. Even though in my head, I have always considered myself a shy, awkward and quiet girl, over the past few months, it is almost like I have started to discover the real me. Because it's true to say, I am definitely a people person. I hate seeing anyone out on their own, and I always make a conscious effort to stay in touch with those who I care about. I don't judge people for their mistakes, their flaws. Rather, I accept them and see beyond them, to the person, the individual underneath. Noone is perfect...rather, it is all these little imperfections and flaws, all these unique traits and distinctive characteristics..they are all what makes us HUMAN. You are beautiful inside and out...don't ever forget it <3

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Day 2: What have you done to help yourself with your eating disorder?

For eight years, all through my teenhood, I did absolutely nothing to help myself with my eating disorder. I was in denial, and did not seek or look for help, let alone accept it when offered. And this was how things remained, all through my school years and then into the beginning of my time at Trinity...restriction and denial and starvation, overexercising and anxiety and depression. But all that time, I did nothing to help myself, because I believed that this was the way it was meant to be...that I didn't deserve help, and that I was unable to help myself, and I did not need help, anyway...

I didn't want anything to change...

But in May 2014 I finally acknowledged to myself that I had a restrictive eating disorder...that now was the time to reach out for help. I knew, that this was not a life that I was living...that on the contrary, is was a living death. And one thing had to, or my eating disorder.

I knew, that I couldn't do this alone.

So I threw away the mask that I had worn for so, so long and told my Mam...of everything I had done, everything I was still doing on a daily basis, that I was scared and exhausted and frigtheended and was in desperate need of her help. She was shocked, upset, and extremely concerned, but she was not angry. And then she hugged me and told me it was going to be okay. That we could beat this thing, together. And from that day onwards, something changed, deep inside me. I knew it was going to be a long, hard, difficult road...but it was on that day, of that month, in the year 2014 when that girl with an eating disorder started to help herself, by fighting for her life and her recovery.

I gained weight by myself over Summer 2014. I managed to increase my bmi from a dangerously low 13 to just under 15. I was still underweight, of course, but I had just managed to pull myself off a brink which could very easily have led to my own death.
Though I was still underweight, I was out of the danger zone...but I was not recovered. I had started the climb up that mountain which is recovery...but at that time, I was still not quite prepared to give myself the help that I needed to reach the top.

In January 2015 I went into hospital to commence my treatment as an inpatient in a mental services hospital. It was one of the most difficult times of my life ...but by putting myself in such a rigid environment in which I was closely monitored on a day to day basis , I was helping myself flight my eating disorder in a way I would never have been able to do alone.

I gained weight during the whole course of my hospitalisation, to reach a much healthier bmi, a bmi which allows my body and mind to properly function. Though I still have an eating disorder, I know that my body is in a much better state than it was this time last year...and though the battle is far from over, I know that in this regard I fought and won a great victory.

I fought the compulsive urges of my eating disorder to exercise for over 2 hours a day when I started to work on recovery. This, for me, was one of the most difficult habits to kick. My walks with Benny in the morning and afternoon were my escape. They seemed to be the only way in which I could quieten the furious, manipulative Voice that occcupied my head every single day. But in the initial stages of my weight restoration, even my walks with Benny had to be curtailed, and this was very, very difficult for me, to refrain from something which gave me so much joy, so much happiness, so much pleasure. But I did it,because I knew that I had to, to help myself fight my eating disorder... and now I am back to walking my beloved springer in the beauty of the Irish summer, in a way which is not unhealthy or obsessive.

For so many years, my eating disorder was my deepest and most darkest secret. I did every single thing in my power to keep it concealed from everyone around me  - my family, my friends, fellow students at school and college, my teachers, my tutors, my counsellors. I put off going to the doctor's about my total absence of periods, reassuring myself that nothing was amiss and I was just later starting than others. I never opened up to a soul...not even those who I loved the most - the closest of my friends, my sister, my Nan, my Mam - noone knew. and though, at times, I was desperate to let them in to this bitter, destructive, harsh world of my own creation...but I couldn't. I told myself that they wouldn't understand.
But things have changed, since then..I have changed. I know that to help myself, it is absolutely crucial that I reach out, that I ask for help and support, that I voice my feelings and share my fears and concerns and anxieties with my nurses, doctors, counsellors and my loved ones.

I want to help everyone out there with an eating disorder. I want to help all those with anorexia, with bullimia, with EDNOS, with a restrictive eating disorder, with an undiagnosed eating disorder. I want to help all those out there who are struggling with this horrible, horrible disease which destroys lives and ruins countless others. I want to help them all to recover, to fight their eating disorder, to be free...
But I know that I will never be able to do that unless I help myself...unless I help myself to fully recover, to fully let go of my eating disorder...

Monday, 4 May 2015

Day 1...A Letter to my ED.

My dear friend and fellow blogger Karly who blogs at yesterday started doing a 30 day recovery challegeg which she invited me to join her in completing. Karly is such a brave and lovely girl and a true inspiration to me: I would recommend her blog with all my heart. The first day of the blog challenge involves writing a letter to your eating disorder. Here is my own one below.

Dear Ed.

Hello. Yep,you guessed it. It's me, Emmy, again, remember? Not that I thought you would have forgotten me, or anything. because after all, you talk to me every day, really. I can hear your soft whispers from the moment I open my eyes in the morning, till when I lie down again to go to sleep at night. Sometimes, I hear you in my dreams, too. You are so real, it feels like I can almost reach out and touch you.

I've lost count of the times, the ways in which you have touched me.

Here's a quote from one of my favourite songs, ED. It's called Linger, by the Irish band the Cranberries.

But I'm in so deep. You know, I'm such a fool for you...You've got me wrapped around your finger...Do you have to let it you have to, do you have to let it linger?...

Can I just ask you that, Ed? Why do you do it? Why do have to linger with me?

Because in a way, by touching my life, you have ruined it...You've made me a lonely, isolated, shy, painfully self-conscious little girl who focuses every single day on her body and every single morsel of food she puts in her mouth. You have made me hurt the people I love, you have made me hurt myself. She have scarred me for life. You made me starve myself and deprive my body of nourishment, having promised me that this would bring me happiness, success, perfection. It brought me Nothing, Ed. Nothing but a wasted life, sadness, wretchedness, and depression. I nearly committed suicide, because of you. I could have killed myself. I was killing myself, slowly but surely. All because of you.

Because of you, Ed, I have lost so many things. You took and took and took, and you rendered me so helpless, that I still clung on to you, as if I was drowning in a cold, heartless, cruel sea, and you were my only hope of survival. I bent my will to every word you said. I told countless falsities to my loved ones, constantly deceiving them so that I could get away with eating as little as possible in one day, lie and lie pouring from my mouth while you furiously worked to soothe my anguished conscience. It's ok, Emmy. They don't understand you, they don't understand us. I forced myself to walk in the wind and the rain and the hail, heedless to the cold winds that tore at my face and my legs and my hands. I didn't feel them. All I felt, was you. We were so close, weren't we, Ed? You held me hand in a vice-like grip, whatever I chose to do, wherever I chose to go. It's ok, Emmy. This is all for the best. We will always be together, you and I. People change, people move on, people forget you, people don't really care, about you, really, Emmy. But I will always be here. I promise you. I will never betray you...

Oh, Ed. When will you ever cease reveling in your endless cycle of lies and deception..?

But that's just the point, isn't won't. So it;s up to me to stand up now and push you away. I don't want you to touch me again, ED. I hate you. I hate you, with every single breath in my body. You nearly destroyed me. You ARE destroying me. Our relationship ends here, Ed. This is where we part our ways.

Because of you, I now have serious osteoporosis. Because of you, I won't ever be able to ride a horse, ski, go ice skating, run a race or a marathon, bungee jump, do gymnastics, or take up Irish Dancing again. Because of you, I was forced to leave university, for my exhausted, frail, tired body could no longer cope with what English Studies at Trinity demanded. I have now lost all confidence in myself. I no longer want to do the things that I always dreamed of, the things that I have always loved and enjoyed. I criticise myself over everything and anything. Everything I do every single day, everything I try to's never good enough, for you. You have made me hate myself. My body, my shape, my weight, every single fibre of my being.

I no longer want you, Ed. It's been nine years, now. Nine long, hard, bitter years full of tears and pain and suffering, missed oppurtunities, loneliness, deceit and heartbreak. You betrayed me, you cheated on me, and you very nearly killed me. Listen to me, Ed, and hear my words. I feel nothing for you anymore. Nothing. because you told me, promised me...that if I listened to you, heeded your every word, that if I stayed with you, forever and ever and ever, that I would be happy.

It's over, Ed.
I never want to see you, feel you, hear you ever again.

Good bye, Ed.

Yours, for no longer, and never again, 

 Me and Benny in April 2014, just before I chose to fight and recover.

Walking Benny up at Kinnity in the mountains, a year later in April 2015...

Looking back now, I no longer am blinded by your lies and false whispers...I can see for myself just what you were doing to me...

Sunday, 3 May 2015

A few little ways to self-soothe:) x

I have honestly lost count of the amount of times in recovery, when I have broke down in tears because of something or other. And when we get upset, it is all to easy to become immersed in our own melancholy, and this can result in more crying spells, withdrawal and isolation, thingsbeing said that aren't really meant, and other unwanted consequences. Therefor I can't stress how important it is when you are distressed, to find a way of self-soothing that works for you. IN ADDITION to talking to someone. Please, please, please: al;ways remember, it is so , so important not to bottle up. Even if it's only a small, three word text or a hastily-composed email. Don't ever feel you have to suffer alone.

Anyway, to return to the original point, self-soothing techniques are really important when you are stressed or upset. When you are caught up in a a storm of powerful emotion - whether that be anger or frustration, sadness or fear or extreme anxiety - these calming techniques may help to lessen the intensity of your feelings and allow you to think more clearly and logically. I can only speak for myself but I know, when I am very, very upset, my thoughts become a racing pulsation in my head and it appears, in the heat of the moment, that my whole world is destroyed. So of late, I have been trying to help myself by self-soothing and comforting techniques, to help ease my distress and clear my head and prevent myself from going into total shutdown. But I know that I have beome more open. I have learnt the importnac of reaching out. After keeping secrets for so so long about my eating disorder and how I really felt about my shape, my weight and my body, I am finally learning to accept and seek help.

Anyway, enough of my babbling - I just thought I would share some of my own favoured comforting techniques which you might find helpful :)
  • Take a long, hot shower. Grab some fluffy towels, a soft dressing gown to wrap yourself up in once you are done, and then of course an aromatic, soothing shower gel to scrub all over your body. Step under the tap and feel the hot water run over your skin. Scrub at your body with a soft sponge. I always focus on these sensations and take comfort from the warmth and the fragrant scents of lavender or chamomile or coconut.
  • Make yourself a mug of your favourite drink - whether that be hot chocolate, herbal tea, a strong coffee or milky tea. Sit down with your cuppa and wrap your hands around the mug,savouring the heat and inhaling the scent.
  • Go outside into nature and take a few moments to look at everything around you. Notice all the little, beautiful things. The sparrows building nests, the fresh new green leaves on the trees, the bees sipping nectar out of the flowers. And listen, too. I love doing this and always fin it so focus on the different sounds, just notice them. Birdsong, the wind in the trees, the distant sounds of farm machinery, the cows lowing in the fields.
  • Pet a furry friend <3 I do this with Felix all the time and for me, this is the ultimate soothing effect. ;) <3 

Awwww what could be more comforting than having this little cutie on your lap... <3

  • Sitting in a quiet, warm, comfortable room and closing your eyes, just for a matter of minutes, I have also always found very helpful. I sometimes put music on playing softly in the background and when I close my eyes I let the music create pictures and images in my mind. I also like to focus on the different sounds I hear, both inside and outside the room. 
  • I know it's quite an obvious one but...Hugging or cuddling up to someone is always so so comforting <3
  • And also, especially on old days, I love to pour a little hot water and baby bath in a basin and soak my feet in it for a while.
If you have any little soothing or comforting techniques of your own please do comment below <3 

Friday, 1 May 2015

I want to recover for...

I want to recover for...

For everyone I love, near and afar.

For my Mam

For my family

For all my dear friends across the world <3

For everyone who reads my blog

For others who are suffering from an eating disorder, so that I will be able to reach out and help them, too, and stand as the living proof that recovery is possible...

For Benny, Felix and Maisy

For loved ones I have known and lost

For happiness and freedom

For everyone who has been there for me, along this long, hard, painful journey..

For the hope of a brighter future

For everything that the Voice in my Head took away from me

For the happy, healthy life that I could have been living, that I should be now living.

For the energy to do the things I love.

And, someday, I will realise that I want to recover for myself, too.

never have so much to recover for. <3 xxx

Over the next few days I am going to reflect on a few things. First and foremost...why I want to recover, and then of course, the fears and anxieities I have surrounding recovery. Then I am going to think about how I want my life to be from this point onwards. 

I hope that by sharing with you my own reasons to recover in my next few posts, you too will realise just how much recovery is worth fighting for, every minute of every hour, of every day...