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.:)

Friday, 31 July 2015

The Fear...of the Number...

Those eight years before I was officially diagnosed with an eating disorder, I never had so much an an inkling of what my actual weight really was. Unlike many victims of anorexia and eating disorders, I never weighed myself, never went to great lengths to calculate my bmi; or even counted calories: all things which I used, back then, as evidence against the possibility that there was actually anything wrong with me; that I had an eating disorder. Which was stupid, of course,and I clearly see now just how ignorant I really was; but what is done is done, and I know I can't change the past.

It was only when I went to the doctors on that fateful day, back in october 2014, when I became aware of my actual weight and what that actually represented. I had stood there staring at the figures, trying to hold back the tears of shame and guilt that prickled my eyes as my doctor told me that I was very underweight, and that, if I didn't take action accordingly - if he didn't take action, as well, for it was he who was going to dial the number and bring me to the attention of the mental servies hospital - I could die. Or at the best, cause my body irreversible damage which I would be powerless to prevent or repair. and so he referred me, and I was sent to hospital in January, and it was there when the dreaded "weekly weigh-ins" began.

My relationship with the scales has been a somewhat tempestuous one, ever since that day when I became conscious of my actual weight. On one hand, I fell into the all too familiar trap of becoming obsessed with the three numerical figures which would replace the 00.0 kg once I stepped upon that measuring device - or perhaps, that should be, a torturing device, in my view. But likewise, on the other hand, part of me was desperate not to look, to be blind the reality which was my weight in kilograms. But the hospital made me start to look. My consultant told me that I needed to face up to it, to stop hiding from actuality.

Now I am at home, and I no longer have to follow the directions and dictations of my care team. The scales is hidden away in the airing room cupboard: I stepped on it the other day and spent ages just staring at the number at my feet, my body as still as a statue, but my mind whirring and racing faster than a kestrel in flight. I'm .... kg heavier than I was 6 months ago. I've gained ... kg since last October, when they weighed me at the doctor's. Heavier... Weight... Kilograms... Bmi...

Weight... Kilograms... Bmi...

Weight... Kilograms... Bmi...

I can honestly say, I am just so, so sick of it, sick to death of it - the constant preoccupation with food, calories, desire to exercise...and, of course, weight, and weight gain, and body shape. At times i literally just want to tear out my brain with my hands, as it feels like I am being tortured from the inside. It feels like I have a siren locked into my head, wailing and blaring 24-7. I would give anything, do anything, for that siren, that Voice, to be silenced.

I just wish , with all my heart, that it was all over. :'(

I just wish it was all over. I just wish I could go back in time, to the time when I was free.

Anyway, here is my plan, of sorts. To go to the clinic on Tuesday (for my post-discharge appointment) and I will look at the number on the scales, and I will ask my consultant about it. Whether it is a healthy weight or not, because, to be quite honest, I actually don't know what my goal weight actually is. I don't know whether I am at it or do I have a few more kg to gain, or have I gone over it, or what: Ijust don't know, but I know, that I need to find out, even though it wil cause me so much anxiety. But I have to learn to handle and mangae that anxiety, to overcome it, to be stronger than it. One thing is for sure: I do NOT want to become the girl, who is obsessed with the numbers. Who is hopping on and off the scales every hour of every day, checking and staring and driving herself mad with frustration, crying every time she sees the number trickle upwards. No. That is NOT going to become me.

And I am going to listen to my doctor, my loved ones, my readers. people who I know love and care for me. And if I find out on Tuesday that I have not yet reached the target weight, then I am going to give my all in trying get to that healthy set point. If I learn I have already reached it or exceeded it, well, I then know I have to learn what I have to do to maintain that and not slip up, and, of course, focus on the hardest part, which is learning to accept my body in its natural, healthy state.

Because I know that my body does need that, more than ever: to be at its natural healthy set point. My periods are still absent, my osteoporosis is probably still severe, for all I know. My concentration, memory and energy levels are still not quite back on track. And I know all of these things aren't going to simply fix themselves if I just sit there passively and do nothing. The body will only ever be able to function normally and healthily again ONLY when it reaches its natural healthy set point. I know this; ED does, too, I am sure, but ED just wants me to close my eyes to it and remain huddled in the darkness, afraid to reach out towards the light. But no. I will not listen to Ed. I need to take an active part in my own recovery, as do we all. We only have one life, one body, one chance: and this is it. Why should any of us be forced to live a life of fear and anxiety and restriction? Why do we allow ourselves to live in fear of the dreaded number?

Your weight
is a numerical reflection
of your relationship with gravity.
It does not measure self-worth, 
courage, strength, gentleness, 
kindness, intelligence...
or love.

I know that my weight will never, ever determine just how much I love my Mam, nor just how much she loves me. xxx

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The Girl who was Left Behind.

In my previous post from two days ago (The Child of my ED), I talked alot about my ED type immaturity, and mentioned that there was something else on Saturday, a so-called inner demon of mine, I guess; which caused me so much sadness and pain that night. It is at times like that night when I realise just how real these "demons" of mine are, how palpable an influence they hold over me. The other one is something which has probably been with me for the same duration of time as the immaturity, and has had the same kind of negative effect on me. This thing being, my own sense of inferiority.

For as long as I can remember, I have compared myself to other people around me and believed that next to them, I am more or less a nobody. I created an imaginary gap between myself and my peers, a gap over which I would never be able to cross; or even, reach over.

Like the majority of my problems, so it seems, this all seemed to evolve from my early days at secondary school. On that fatal first day when I first put on the cream-coloured blouse and green skirt of the convent school where it all began, I was a changed girl, in many respects. The difference between me and the girls around me was painfully obvious in my eyes. I was desperate, so desperate to make myself fit in, become one of them, to reduce this awful crippling sense of inferiority; a feeling that up to that point in my life had been alien to me; for in my primary school years, I was the confident, bubbly, smiling girl with limitless amounts of energy and rosy glowing cheeks, who did not, at any point, stop and contemplate about just how much better every one else was than herself. I felt equal, respected, and so, so perfectly content. But of course, this idyllic sense of tranquility was never going to last, and last it did not.

I didn't want to leave the happy, innocent little world of my childhood. But growing up is a cruel, cruel thing.

I did everything, everything I could possibly think of, to integrate myself into the new, unfamiliar, and undeniably frightening new world in which I now found myself, lost and alone and afraid, trying desperately not to drown. It was all I could do, to merely keep my head abbove the water, to stay afloat.

I rolled up my skirt at the waist so that it hung above the knee, even though I wasn't even really that sure why I was exactly doing this, at first: but all the other girls did it, so it didn't really matter if the meaning behind such an action was not clear at the present time: all I had to do was mimic them without question, and then, I believed, I would be that one tiny bit less inferior. I abandoned my childhood stories of animals and adventures which I had been working diligently on throughout the summer; projects which at one time had given me so much joy and pleasure. But, once that golden, glorious summer ended and my time at secondary school began, I forsook them entirely, terrified that such a hobby was plain babyish. I resolved to study as hard as I possibly could, anxious to achieve high grades and not become a class clown; desperate to make myself become more than the boring, ugly, stupid girl which I saw myself as being. Who I thought, that surely everyone esle was going to see me as, too, if I did not make some sort of radical change. And then...another thought, a seemingly so innocent, wonderfully simple, uncomplicated little thought came to me. How about if...if I made myself thinner? Then, perhaps, I would feel less inferior? If I replaced what I regarded as being my dumpy, unattractive, plump figure with one which was slim and toned and slender. Which was beautiful.

My eating disorder beckoned with a hand which was as inviting and as shiny as silver. Just as shiny, and just as cold. But I took that hand, and hence allowed anorexia to lead me along a path which appeared, at first, so smooth and shiny and oh, so perfect. But in reality, of course, that golden path soon became strewn with thorns which tore at my skin and left me bleeding. The world moved on, the friends and acquaintances I knew in school matured and grew and shone like stars. But I was the girl who got left behind, trapped on a road strewn with thorns and pain and tears.

When I left school and started my new life at Trinity, things did not improve, of course. If anything it got worse.

And now, I am haunted by this sense of worthlessness, inadequacy, inferiority. For example, on the very brief night out I had at the weekend, I was too deeply immersed in the depths of my own self-criticism to even begin to enjoy myself. And there was a boundary there, an invisible boundary which noone else could or would ever be able to perceive. In a way it feels as if I am in an entirely different world; trapped, isolated and alone, in a desolate, hostile universe of my own making.

It is so hard, so hard to even try to put my finger on it; to describe the way I feel. I is as if the girl who is me, the girl who is Emmy, it is almost as if she should have been born in a different world, in a different time, in a different place. I probably should have come into being in an age when women and girls did not have the independence and the equality that they have now: as I am simply useless at taking advantage of those two things, for one thing. I am unable to make my own decisions - the Trinity one still hangs above my head, undecided and unresolved - and as for independence, well, its virtually non-existent; all because of myself. There is such an enormous difference, between me and other young women of my own age. My personality, my mindset, the way I think and feel about myself, the way I look, the way I live my probably would have been more suited to a world like that protrayed in my beloved Morokia, or maybe even, that of Arthur Ransom's Swallows and Amazons, with the children playing innocently on boats and builidng fires and tents in the woods. A simple, tranquil, innocent world.

If only I could bridge that gap, that gap I have made for myself, from all those around me. But I - nno one else, just I, by myself -  have widened and deepened that gap so severely over the years. And I fear that I am too afraid to make that leap.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Day 5: Your Proudest Moment..

If you had asked me this question a few years ago, before May 2014, I would most likely have said that my proudest moment in life would be either the day I received my Leaving Cert Results back in August 2012, or when I won the Student of the Year Cup on the last day of primary school. Back then, both of those things meant more than the world to me: there was nothing more than I wanted, than to achieve that particular reward at the present time.

But now, my outlook has changed, significantly. And though they still do represent proud moments for me, they do seem, in a way, immaterial, after all that has happened. I was always a high achiever in my school days: any less than an A, was not good enough for me, as far as my grades and results were concerned. And I suppose this was reflected in my Leaving Cert; I had enough points to get me into any college course that I wanted. I was ecstatic, on top of the world. And there are not many occasions in the past which I can say with certainty that I felt proud...but that sunny summer day all those years ago was just one of the rare instances that I did.

But I think now I have a deeper understanding of what is the most important, in life. Exams and education and high-flying careers are all very well, of course, and to be able to achieve in these areas of your life is an accomplishment which you should be immensely proud of yourself for. But I guess, for me, I have a different perspective then I did three or four years ago. I, being the girl who always got the top marks, back in my school years: when study became my life; textbooks, my bible; exams, my sole focus. But then, that very same girl was forced to abandon her education, due to an old flame which threatened to burn and consume everything that she held dear.

And in a way, it - it, being my eating disorder, of course - had already destroyed so much that was important to me. I used to pride myself on my ability to study: sit me down with a book, any time and any place, and I would easily have absorbed the contents of said book, regardless of interruptions or noise or tiredness. But that has gone, now. ED took that away, and I don't know if I will ever be able to reclaim it, and this one single fact almost breaks my heart every single day.

Almost. I don't want it to break me, to eat away at me until there is truly nothing left. And looking back now, I have a new proudest moment. Maybe there will be more to come; I hope so. I hope that one day I will be able to stand up and say that I am proud of the fact that I reached recovery, despite the seemingly endless struggles and battles and rivers of tears. But for now, my proudest moment has to be the day I chose to fight for my recovery. It was the month just before I started to blog; when I finally, after so many years, acknowledged the reality and the truth of one of my deepest, darkest, and most well-kept of secrets; that I had an eating disorder, anorexia, to be specific, and that that same eating disorder was going to kill me, if I did not take action and fight. And since that day, nothing has ever been quite the same, between me and that Voice in my Head. I now recognise that Voice as my enemy, my greatest ever nemesis, a malign demon which has already taken so, so much from me, and which I know, will continue to do so, unless I persevere and defy it, with every last bit of courage and strength in my body.

And I still do struggle, I struggle every single day, and I have fallen so many times, and shed so many tears. But the one thing that remains with me, is the will to kill this thing and tread it to the dust: this demon which has stolen so much from me, has made me hurt my loved ones, has made me into a shadow of the girl that I once was, which makes me detest my very own body and want to abuse and misuse it again, as I once did. And I know that it is this which will drive me on through the wind and the rain and the storms. I know that I must not give up. <3 xxx

Sunday, 26 July 2015

The child of my ED... :'(

After another rough day yesterday - what with my parents being upset with me again, a night out which went badly wrong, and a very upset, tearful, and depressed Emmy at the end of it all - looking over my previous blog posts and reading all the little comments and reflections all helped to comfort and soothe me in the face of what could have been another powerful surge of depression-type melancholy; which would more than likely have reduced me to ineptitude, if I hadchosen to give in to it. I reminded myself that everything is going to be ok, the storm will pass, and I will not feel the way that I feel right now, forever and ever and ever. And so, today, I am just going to try to move on and continue on with all the little things that I had originally planned, before the rain came lashing down once more. Finish off the buns I made yesterday; write in my blog and perhaps, a bit of Morokia; sort out the dinner for tomorrow; commence with the tidying of my room after the Lego excavation. Go for a walk with Benny and write an email to the Senior Lecturer of Trinity, having received a bill on my tcd portal which at this point I'm not even sure I am going to be paying, or not. Just ordinary, simple things which will keep my hands busy and my mind off the tears and anger of yesterday, and the darkness which constantly threatens to engulf me at any moment.

I just feel so, so disappointed, again, because, as of Friday, I was feeling alot more positive and upbeat about things. But my head and mind seem to work differently from most people's, it seems. I resolve to be happy, and then something happens - something which might seem so small and insignificant to ordinary, normal people, but subsequently causes a massive issue for me - and I was once more reduced to despondency once again, because my demons - the demons of my very own making, the products of my very own mind - were just staring at me right in the face: and there were two branches, this time, two branches of the wrongness about the girl who is Emmy, snagging and catching at her body, threatening to trip her up and throw her to the ground.

I will tell you about these two demons in this post and the next, and then, I will leave it, here. I feel as if I need to talk about them, as there is part of me which wants to deny that it is ture, that they even exist. But I know all too well, that they do.

A few weeks back, you might have remembered me talking a little about my immaturity. And by that I don't mean anything to do with physical appearance. Though around this time last year, I know, I had the body of a girl. Stick-like arms and legs, tiny waist and hips, small, barely discernible breasts. That has changed, now, but unfortunately, my mindset certainly has not. And I still very much feel like that little girl who I used to be, when ED first came into my life, when my happiness wilted like a flower touched by frost. Small, afraid, frightened and dependent on others to keep me afloat. And unfortunately, that part of me hasn't changed.

It was this which caused some of the upset yesterday, and I completely understand why, it did. And I do not blame my loved ones for this, because I know how frustrating it must be for them, how hard it must be, to understand, why I act the way that I do. But of course, I still wish that they do understand; that they aren't as hard on me. As I don't know what to do to solve this; to make myself suddenly snap out of this self-imposed sense of immaturity. To make myself just grow up , like they tell me I should.

My ED makes me immature in a number of ways. Ways which writing them now fills me with shame and self-loathing, but the sad fact is, that I know that they are true.

Firstly, unlike most girls of my age - an age which is pretty much associated here in ireland as being the time for party-going, clubbing, being out on the town till the wee small hours of the morning, and so forth - do not have much of a social life, at all, and going out is something which fills me with fear and anxiety rather than excitement and delight. That people will look at me and see; and judge, and think, and speculate. I am painfully, excruciatingly self-conscious about my body and the way I look. I don't really drink , so this of course immediately makes me feel something of an oddity in a pub or a nightclub, surrounded by people who are doing just that; and me being one of the very few who are sober. I have been like this for the past three years, and I could count the nights out during this time on my fingers, as there have just been so few of them.

And then, of course, there is the food side of things. For in this sense, I am so, so pathetically immature: there are a number of things here which testify this, for me. For one thing, when I am on my own, it is almost as if I cannot physically make things for myself. Whether that be hot chocolate, or dessert, or to do myself a buttered scone, or toast a teacake under the grill. It is almost as if, by doing these things, my ED gets extremely agitated, screaming, No! You can't do that! You need someone to do this for you. It won't taste as good if you do it yourself. You need them to "see" that you are actually eating something. If you do it yourself noone is going to notice! No, don't you dare make it yourself! You can get away without eating that! You don't need that! You don't! You don't!...

And it is here where I always fall down in terms of the meal plan, for, if mam or dad or someone isnt there to give me that prompt, or make whatever up for me, or to check up on me to make sure I am actually going to eat it...then oftentimes, I can't do it. And this is all very well now, what with me living at home with Mam and Dad to look after me. But I am 21. 21! You wouldnt know it, would you? 21, and I have never worked, never had any money of my own, never been able to look after myself properly, never able to do anything really, by myself. And Mam and Dad can't look out for me, forever. There will come a time when I will have to leave home; I know that there is no denying that fact. But I am my ED's child as well as theirs, it seems. I would obey its wishes and comply meekly with its demands, just like a frightened child who is afraid of being punished, would. ED has made a child of me...if only I could pull away from its grasp, wholly and truly. If only I had the courage to break free.


Though my body has changed, my head and my mind really haven't...
I don't want to be the child of my ED... :'(

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Day 4: Your Dream Job!!

Hmmm....a hard one to answer..but here goes... ;)

I think my dream job would really be a sort of combination of things:as in, I would have one main job, and then I also do several other things at the same time.

And the main one, I think, would have to be a worker at a National Park, a Nature Reserve, or a Wildlife Park. As you all know I am a bit of a nature fanatic to say the least ;) and I couldn't be happier than when I am outside in the fresh air, surrounded by green leafiness or pink heatheriness, the wind in my hair and the call of birdsong all around me. And to be able to work in a place dedicated to the welfare and nurturing of flora and fauna...well, what can I say, it would be a dream come true for me!!

Working in a national park like the Peak District really would be the dream job for me :)

But if a dream job really was a dream job in all aspects (as in, one gets to choose their own hours, days, etc.) then I would definitely have a few days off in which I would be able to spend doing various other different things. And I would more than likely have my own little bakery business where I would create, bake and sell my own edible delights!!

I also think that I would spend an hour or so of each day writing Morokia and also, doing active research for it (ie. visiting castles and old ruins, deciphering ancient medieval manuscripts, visiting exhibitions such as the Canterbury Tales in order to determine what the medieval lifestyle was really like!:)

Who knows, one day, I might realise some of these far-fetched dreams of mine? I like to believe that anything truly is possible, if you believe. Believe you will recover, and you will. Believe that you will stay strong, and conquer your ED, and you will!! And the same applies for al your dreams and hopes for the future. Maybe you want to be something so badly, but you don't believe that you have what it takes to become that person which you want to be. But that little critical Voice in your head needs to be silenced. Life is too short to be trapped doing something which does not bring you any sense of satisfaction or happiness. So find your passion and fuel it; realise your dream and chase it. It's never too late to change. <3 xxx

Friday, 24 July 2015

Be like a flower...:) xxx

The past few weeks I know I have been posting alot of thought posts in which I have been reflecting upon my life and my future, and the decisions that lie ahead of me. And can I just say, I have really been so overwhelmed and touched by the response I have had on these posts: messages and comments containing Words of support, advice, reassurance and encouragement. I know I say this all the time, but truly, I mean it. Thank you, from the very bottom of my heart, thank you so so much. I mean it when I say that you are all so amazing. <3

Today, as I awoke and peeped out my bedroom window, gazing out at the beauty of the early dawn that lay before me, I felt my spirits lift and my mood lighten as the heavy, burdening sense of melancholy - which I had carried around with me ever since my day with the girls has drawn to a close - slowly began to ebb away, gently and gradually, like shells being tenderly carried away by the rolling waves of a calm sea. It was a new morning, of a new day. The rising golden ball of the sun ascended higher and higher into a gorgeous pale blue sky, streaked with purple and pink and grey. It was a painter's sky, so many different hues and tints and shades, and the effect was breathtaking.

That morning, I spent a little time outside, taking note of some of nature’s finer, more exquisite details. The network of veins on each leaf of the small beech tree growing at the front of the house; the fragrant scent of the honeysuckle twining itself up the sweetpea frame at the side of the house; the yellow-gold brilliance of the blackbird’s bill as he gracefully hopped along the edge of the conifers, twittering softly as his coal-black feathers glinted in the sunlight.
 And then, there were the flowers themselves: both those of the wild, and then the garden. In baskets on the front, petunias, lobelia and marigolds gathered together in a glorious array of colour: dusky lilac and rosy-pink, blood-red and silvery blue, canary yellow and sunset orange. Down at the very bottom of my acre-large garden, where the lawn begins to give way to patches of tarmac and stone, with many a gap occupied by long-stemmed grasses and weeds. And yet even here, the flowers can be found: beautiful ox-eye daisies, dainty herb robert; fuzzy-headed yarrow, and golden, wispy buttercups.

When I left the hospital, one of my dear friends who had been an inpatient with me gave me a beautiful little card with dozens of gorgeous poppies on the front, blowing gently in a soft summer breeze. In flowing script below the poppies was written a little Native American proverb which I thought I would share with you today.

May your life be like a flower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day...

And so from this day onward I am going to try to take my dear friend's advice to heart...I am going to be like a flower, like the flowers in my garden, like the flowers on my card, the flowers growing on the cherry bblossom tree in the grounds of my primary school...the place where I last remember feeling truly happy, and truly free. Like a flower...

And so I made a little plan, which I am going to try to adhere to every day, in order to combat my depression and see the light, the joy, the beauty that is present in life and the world. Because oftentimes, it is almost as if I have been blinded,  to all of that, all of which is beautiful and bright and joyful. It is as if I am stumbling around in the dark with a blindfold over my eyes, thats what it often feels like. Lost and scared and alone, and not knowing which way to turn.

And if you like, I will share my little positive plan with you as it might help anyone else out there who is struggling, to help them find the beauty and joy present in their lives, in life itself, too. <3

And remember, that we, every single one of us, is like a flower. You are beautiful and blossoming... And you should let yourself grow, and be free... <3 xxx

Thursday, 23 July 2015

If only I knew then, what I know now... :'(

Despite the many grumblings and various complaints one can frequently hear being made about the Irish summer, I can honestly say, hand on heart, that there is not one other place on earth where I would rather be at this time of year, than on this beautiful island of endless greenness. I love going abroad, but there is just something so extraordinary, so exquisite, so breathtaking about Ireland in the summer: a beauty and a radiance which could not possibly be found or replicated anywhere else.

But interlaced with the happiness and sense of contentment I have felt over the past couple of weeks - as I rediscover all the joys and natural delights of the Irish summer and revel in my newfound freedom from the confinements of the hospital ward - there is something else, too. It is like beauty tainted with an ugliness; pure white silk stained with blotches of black; laughter combined with bitter, stinging, salty tears. It is like a beautiful oak tree with one long, ugly, terrible fissure running along the fissured trunk, threatening to deepen and grow and subsequently tear the oak apart, destroying it and all the life that it supports.

Yesterday, I met up with two of my oldest and closest friends from Trinity. We spent the day together, just catching up one another's news and wandering around town with no particular purpose or destination in mind. We rummaged through the sales railings of the local boutiques, exclaiming when we found a particularly pretty dress or gorgeous ball gown, before tittering to each other about the number printed on the pricetag. We browsed through book shops, reminiscing over this book and that, picking up old favourites and rustling fondly through the familiar pages; or pointing out other titles which one of us had attempted to read and then had swiftly wished that she hadn't even bothered. Then finally we went and sat in the park overlooking the lake, chattering away as the sun began to sink towards the horizon, talking of the old times, the here and now of today, and then, of course, our plans, and hopes, for the future.

I had such a lovely, lovely day yesterday: it was one of those days which I didn't really want to come to an end, and, when it eventually did, of course, I felt a palpable wave of melancholy wash over me. And then there was that bittersweet sensation, the happiness strongly interspersed with bitterness. In a state of regretful contemplation, I thought about my life, about the time I had spent at trinity, and, of course, the complete and utter mess I had made of it. The place at Trinity which I had all my hopes on, all those years ago, and had laboured so strenuously for, burying myself behind pile upon pile of books and notes, dedicating hours of each day to committing the essential course material to memory. And I succeeded, and I achieved what I wanted: the place in English Studies at Trinity was mine. But all that I had worked for, all my ambitions and hopes and dreams, it was all squandered, wasted, like diamonds scattered into a  churning, muddy-watered river and remaining suspended on the surface, just out of reach of my desperate, scrabbling fingers.

All the missed opportunities, all the regrets, all the times which I could have ignored the whisperings of Ed and actually put myself out there, enable myself to mature and develop; allow myself to come the person that I wanted to be. But the fear ED had implanted within me held me back every time: I was afraid, so, so afraid to go to any social events when I was at university, for fear that they would involve food or alcohol. Or, often times, I had so little energy, I couldn't face the prospect of going out at night, as I knew that I would be exhausted and would be too weak and frightened to speak to anyone.

But it is too late, now. All that I have is the regret, the bitter, cold, harsh truth, and as I lay down upon my mattress last night, closing my eyes and trying my best to wish myself to sleep, that sentence, that sentence which haunts me so regularly these days, pressing down upon my shoulders and making my eyelids prick with unshed tears, circulated around and around in my head, echoing, echoing, echoing. If only I knew then, what I know now. If only I knew, where ED was trying to take me. If only I knew, that by shutting myself away from the world, withdrawing from the community which i should have been making a conscious and diligent effort to become part of, and by letting myself be governed by a manipulative, cruel, sneering Voice in my Head, I was only going to succeed in ruining my health, crushing all my dreams and hopes which I formally had for my time at college, and, of course, making myself the immature, lonely, painfully self-conscious, and depressed individual I seem to have become.

I would do anything, absolutely anything, to turn back time, go back to where I once stood, change everything. But I can't. It's the same with the osteoporosis - it's done, now, and I am not a heroine of Morokia, or an enchantress, or a princess in a fairytale who gets her happy ever after. I am just an ordinary young girl with an eating disorder, who now has an extremely difficult and painful choice to make, and as many regrets as there are leaves upon the eucalyptus in my garden.

All I can do now is to use my story - the story of me and my eating disorder, and what it did to me - to help spread awareness about this awful mental illness which continues to cause uncountable suffering across the globe: to help others understand just how devastating the effects of eating disorders can be, and how they can potentially change their victims' lives, forever.

The summer before I went to Trinity, when I was so full of hope for the future... I just wish, with all my heart, I knew then what I know now...

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The quest for Morokia! :) Will you fight alongside me? :)

Ok!! Before there are any misunderstandings about this unusual blog post title - no, I am not going off to join the army or the navy; and neither am I planning on embarking upon some fabulous quest for a place that perhaps is bordering Morocco, since the two of them sound vageuly the same; or some other far-flung place that noone really knows about. No, no no! bear with me while I explain: I know my titles can be a little cryptic sometimes. Perhaps there's a bit of an English student left in me, after all.

No, this month (weather depending - if its a really hot and sunny and tropical August (which is highly unlikely, living here in the beautiful Emerald Isle...but hey, you never know!;) ) I do intend on embarking upon a mission of sorts, though. I want to Morokia. As in, I want to start writing again: I want to tell my story, the story of Morokia. I want to narrate this moving, grippingly compelling, complex, engagingly emotional story and make it my own: I want to make it the epic fantasy trilogy  which I intended it to be; which I know it has the capacity to be.

But, the thing is, I know, that I won't ever be able to return to Morokia, in the company of Ed.

Because with Ed, I will never be able to concentrate and focus on what I am writing, give Morokia the necessary care and attention to detail that it deserves. I won't be able to dedicate the time and effort needed to compose a fantasy epic like Morokia. I literally won't be able to sit down for the length of time necessary to write a sufficient quantity of work. why? Because, as I know all too well, after I have been sitting down for any given length of time - yes, and even now, this does happen, frequently; I'm not going to pretend that it doesn't - this little Voice slyly creeps into my head and begins to whisper harshly to me, over and over and over, becoming more insistent with every passing minute. You need to get up. You need to get up. You have sat for too long, You need to be doing something active. Go outside and do a few paces up and down the garden, then you can come back in again. Then and only then. Stand up now and do some squats. Go walk up the stairs and get that biro you left up there this morning, I know you don't really need it, but anyway, you need to move. Move. Move. MOVE!! 

Just a sample dialogue, of the many, many conversations between me and ED.

And so I want you to all fight beside me, against the Voice, the Voice of ED. Fight against the Voice, which has caused us so, so much heartache and suffering and pain. Fight against this Voice which demands that we harm and hurt ourselves, our own bodies, the people that we love and who love us. Fight against the Voice which has tried to take so much away from us.

The Voice in my Head stole so much from me...

And yes, sadly, Morokia was one of those things. For years I have literally been unable to write Morokia: I have physically not been capable of sitting down in front of a computer screen and typing my story. for numerous reasons, ranging from not being able to concentrate, not being able to formulate the sentences in my head; not being able to sit down for any length of time without feeling extreme anxiety over the fact that in sitting there, trying to write, I could easily be spending that time doing exercise, instead. Sitting down, for long or even short periods of time, was a big problem for me; I had to always be constantly on the move; and this was one of my biggest obstacles to getting any of Morokia written. And then there was the exhaustion and fatigue. Often in the past when I attempted to sit and write, I would end up just sitting there, fingers immobile upon the keyboard, as I felt so utterly drained of energy that I was unabble to write anything. Othertimes, my starving body was just so hungry, that to sit down with a blank page in front of me, would evoke nothing for me but frustration and feelings of self-hatred, as all I could think about - no word of a lie - was food, food, and food. What I should have eaten earlier that day, what I would like to eat that moment, but of course, was not going to allow myself to have; what I might be made to have for dinner later on, and how difficult that was going to be. No matter how hard I tried to turn my thoughts onto what I wanted to write, it wouldn't be long before images and thoughts of food would bubble up again, suppressing everything else. So almost 100 percent of the time, I would just give up writing anything, and go off to do something "active" instead, as that was the only thing I could really focus on.

But things ARE different now. Alot has changed, since the last time I tried to write Morokia. And I never want to deprive my body of the nourishment it deserves ever again; and I am going to fight this Voice, this demon in my head, with every bit of strength and courage that I have. And I will return to Morokia, again, and this time, ED will not be able to stop me.

The heroes and heroines of Morokia are fighting their battle against the evil which threatens to destroy them...And I am going to join them, in a battle of my own ...and I want you to join us to. Fight against the evil, cruel, malignant Voice which threatens to hurt and destroy us, to take away everything which we hold dear. Take courage and stay strong!! <3 xxx

Monday, 20 July 2015

Day 3: Your favourite quote!:)

I know!!! I am like so so SO late with my blog challenge posts and I do apologise profusely for that (I did warn you!! ;) ) Anyway, day 3, a quick little post for today. I have a few favourite quotes!! It was so so hard to single out a favourite one , but after considerable deliberation, I chose this one - it's at the centre of my inspiration board on the wall of my room (I might do a post about my inspiration board soon, as I really think they are such a wonderful thing to do in recovery, for a variety of reasons ;) . I think this quote is so so true of both life and recovery. <3 xxx

I dedicate this post to a the lovely, wonderful lady who gave me this. I met her when I was an inpatient in hospital and we became friends instantly. Whenever I was sad or down, she always brightened my spirits with her warm smiles and strong hugs, cheering me up with her funny anecdotes and news from the outside world. I will never forget her and will treasure this little quote that she gave me forever and ever. <3 Thank you, Eithne. This one's for you. <3 xxx

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Another year, Another crossroads...but which path do I take?

Here I am again, standing at another crossroads; a crossroads at which I am faced with that inevitable, hugely overwhelming question, one which has been hanging on my mind ever since that fateful day back in November 2014 when I walked out through the Front Arch of Trinity, wintry gusts fingering their way into the hood of my coat aand drying the few remaining droplets of moisture upon my eyelashes and cheeks, so that nothing remained but the tear marks in my make up and the bitter, hard lump in my throat as I turned my face toward the sky. It felt like, a farewell. It felt like the very last time.

But...was it the last time? 

here I am now, physically, if not mentally recovered from anorexia: and I know that my time is now well and truly up. I can no longer put off this decision which has been haunting me, ever since I was signed off from Trinity on that difficult, painful day when my tears fell like rain and my heart felt like it was being cut open with a razor-sharp blade. I need to decide where my path is going to take me from here: I need to decide whether or not I will return to Trinity, to complete my English degree - and, if my time at Trinity is well and truly over, I will also need to figure out what exactly I am going to do, instead. 

There is a little Voice inside my head, telling me that yes, of course I should go back to Trinity. It would be the sensible thing to do, the most logical. And I agree, in a way. After all, I was two and a half years through that degree, before I was eventually forced to withdraw. To this day, how I managed to pull myself through two and a half years of a top-ranking university course with an eating disorder is beyond me, as I honestly cannot even hazard a guess at how I survived it. It was incredibly, enormously difficult: I remember all too well the pain, the tears, the isolation, the hunger, the fear, the anxiety; the sheer exhaustion. All I am saying is this: I think I was on borrowed time. I dont think there could ever have been a a chance of me passing third year. 

And I hated it. I hated every single moment of it. This degree which I had set my heart upon obtaining, this university for which I had spent hour upon hour pouring over notes and burying my head behind mountains of textbooks in order to gain entry into - it was nothing, nothing like what I had ever imagined it to be; what I wanted it to be. I felt like a ragdolldropped over from the safe harbour into the sparkling, glistening depths of the sea below - a sea full of nimble, able-bodied marine creatures which were able to stay afloat without effort or difficulty; but I, however, could feel myself drowning, slipping down under, down and down and down, into the fathomless depths below.

But are things different now...? In terms of concentration, ability to study, maturity, self-confidence; motivation levels, memory, independence..? Things that I am sure, come so naturally to other young students of my age. But not to me. 

I have changed, I have made many positive changes, and I know that if I were to return to Trinity, then that girl walking through the front Arch will not be quite the same as the Emmy who passed under that very grand gate, all those months ago, back in late 2014. She is different, but...alot still remains the same...



It's true, I have changed, alot, in the space of a year. My body has changed. The way I see the world, the way I see myself. But yet, i am not recovered from my eating disorder; the Voice is far from silent, whispering instructions in my head, instructions which I am forced to use every ounce of strength within me to defy and go against. Every day, a raging battle takes place deep within me, a bbattle which no other person can see, or hear, or sense: it is just me and ED, locked in this seemingly endless battle of wills...

And I certainly do not feel like a young woman of 21 years of age. And I still don't believe in myself, that I am good enough for what I really want to do. But I know, I have to make this decision. I know I have to choose a path, and that, once I do, that there will be no turning back...

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Dappled cupcakes!!:)

Yes!!! Yet MORE cupcakes were made in the kitchen of Ganache-Elf today!! And you know, the best thing about these is, that they look ever so exquisite, with a delightful, dainty prettiness to them which makes them all but irresistible to anyone who you might consider lucky enough to ask to sample one of your heavenly delights - well, despite all of that, they are remarkably simple to make, and don't need any pricey ingredients. Just check to see if you have some little choccies in the house for decorating!! ;) I used cadbury dairy milk buttons, but it is, of course, entirely up to you which ones you use - as is the way which you choose to apply the most heavenly concocoction ever created by humankind, surely (that being GANACHE of courese. ;) to your buns. Swirls? Smiley faces? A polka dot or chessboard patterns? The possibilities are as endless as your imagination!! Ganache in itself, once mastered, is never really any hardship to make - don't let the fancy-sounding name fool you if you are unfamiliar with the delights of ganache-making. But anyway, never fear - the recipe is included below complete with Ganache-making instructions!! ;)

  • 125 g butter/margarine, softened
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150 g self-raising flour
  • About 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence/extract
  • 2 tsp milk 
For the ganaches...
  • 4 tbsp single cream
  • 100g white chocolate, chopped
  • 100 ml single cream
  • 100g plain chocolate, chopped
  • a few chocolate dairy milk buttons (or whatever small chocolates you prefer )

  • Preheat the oven to 180c/fan 160. Line a muffin pan with 12 muffin cases.
  • Beat the butter or margarine in a bowl until really soft, then add the sugar, the eggs, and the flour. beat well for about 2 minutes until smooth and well blended.
  • Transfer half the mixture to a clean bowl and add the vanilla essence to one of them.

  • Distribute alternative spoonfuls of the different coloured batters amongst the 12 paper cases, filling them about three quarters full. When you're done, take a little thin skewer and swirl it round in each case to get that gorgeous, swirly marbled effect.
  • Bake the cupcakes for about 17-20 minutes, until well-risen and springy to the touch - if you press the top of one gently with a fingertip, it should spring back. If an indention is left bake for a few more minutes and then test again.
  • Leave in the muffin pan for about two or three minutes, and then move to a wire rack to cool. While they are cooling make the ganaches, starting with the dark chocolate ganache. ;)
  • Make the dark choc ganache by melting the 100g plain chocolate with 100 ml single cream, on a very low heat in a small saucepan. Stir until smooth and then refrigerate for about 1 ½ - 2 hours, checking after 1 ½ hours…you don’t want it very hard, just a nice spreadable consistency.
  • Next make the white choc ganache: in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the white choc with the 4 tbsp single cream. Stir now and again and watch it very closely – the white choc will temper easily if it is overheated. As soon as the choc has melted remove from the heat and stir until nice and smooth. Refrigerate for about 1 hour – 1 ½ hours, checking after an hour, until the ganache is thicker and more spreadable.
  • When the cupcakes are completely cold, decorate them with the two whatever way you heart desires. To get swirls or rosettes of course, you will need an icing bag or small piping bag fitted with a star-shaped nozzle. I created flowerheads and circular patterns upon my own batch, and then added a few buttons to some of them. Very pretty, very cute, and very, very yummy, of course. <3 xxx

Friday, 17 July 2015

The courage to be Me...

It was the day which I thought might never, ever come...

But here I am, sitting at home with my hot choc and laptop, a real, true smile upon my face as I write to you, a smile that reaches my eyes and makes dimples in my cheeks as I feel as if I could literally burst with happiness, excitement, and joy, at this precise moment in time.

Because yesterday, the 16th of July, 2015, I left the hospital for the last time..I am no longer a patient. I am free.

It took alot of courage for me to go in yesterday and tell the staff - the dedicated team on the ward who have cared for me, supported me, and essentially managed my recovery for the past six months - that I felt that the time had come for me to move on.

I know that my journey to recovery continues on from here, and that i am not fully recovered from my eating disorder. But today, for what feels like the first time in an age, I experienced a sense of freedom. I am no longer a patient. I no longer have to travel up and down to a hospital several times a week. I no longer have to go into the environment where I was first received professional treatment for my eating disorder. I am now free to move forward, leave the past behind, and forge myself a new future without an ed...

And I made it, I got through it all, despite all the odds, the uncertainties, the tears and the fear and the constant anxiety. I spent the first half of 2015 being in and out of a mental services hospital, both as an inpatient and an daypatient. And I survived; it didn't kill me, it only made me stronger. And though it was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do in my whole life - both mentally, and physically - I am glad that I did it, that I forced myself into that strange, unfamiliar environment, an environment which might as well have been a prison to me, despite the gaily coloured walls, the posters and pictures with their smiley faces and motivational quotes, the softness of the carpets and the warmth of the dormitories. I am glad that I went to the doctor that day, all those month ago, now, back in October, over the foot injury which would change my life forever; the injury which I now see as representing so much more than a normal, ordinary injury. No..I now see that that very foot sprain as being my body's cry for help. It was a message from my body to myself, that it could no longer keep up this battle, and that, if I did not act now,

And so, I am no longer a patient. I am free from the restrictions, the responsibilities, the obligations that I was forced to observe, being a patient of an eating disorder ward...

Now, all I have to do, is free myself, wholly and completely, from my greatest ever nemesis...the demon which placed its hand upon my shoulder all those years ago when I was only a young girl of thirteen. I was as helpless as the butterfly which has flown into a spider's web. Tricked into thinking that what I had just found - and this thing, this "friend" who had suddenly caught hold of me with a gentle, but vice-like grip - was something which would keep me safe, which would help me, which would give me everything I had ever wanted, which would make everything perfect, for me. But ED continued to spin its endless web of lies and deceit, continued to enmesh me tighter and tighter in its trap from which there appeared to be no escape. And from that day on, I was no longer free...ever since that day when I first felt its touch: so gentle, or so it seemed; almost like silk...but as cold and as heartless as death itself. No longer free to fly, I became a shadow of the girl that I once was, an empty, hollow shell.

But that was the past. Now is the time we take courage and break though those snares, spread our wings - our beautiful, free wings - and fly again...

I have began to find the courage to be me...not to be someone else...not to be the girl with the ED...

I know now, though, that with my new found freedom from the hospital ward, there is a new onus on me. I know, I have tofight harder than ever against ED, and take care of myself, so that I become the person that I want to be. Emmy. A baker, dog-walker, hiker, animal-fanatic, nature-enthusiast, cook, writer, blogger, medievalist, scarf-knitter,self-confessed chocaholic (or should that be...HOT chocoaholic?? Or maybe even both! ;) ). A girl who struggled, but survived, and RECOVERED, from her ED, and went on to help and inspire others to do the same!! <3 xxx

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Love Your Body! :) Part 2

The second part of Love Your Body (I actually made this one up myself for a change, me being pretty unimaginative at the best of times...but I am really, really glad that I did don my thinking cap and conjure this one up!!) involves me listing the things that I like about my natural body; ie. the way my body is now that I have physically (there's a huge difference!!) recovered from anorexia. Compared to part 1, this was alot more difficult. Because my anorectic mindset is constantly trying to convince me, on a daily basis, of course, that now that I have gained weight, I am ugly, dumpy, chubby and unattractive. And that there is absolutely nothing to like anymore about myself, now that I have lost my "precious" skinniness. That I hate every single inch, every single fibre of my own body now. Yes. That;s what the Voice in my Head tries to tell me, every day.

But I know that is is all lies. Deep down, I know it is. I know now what I didn't know before: skinny is not beautiful. Being unnaturally skinny, I know, equates nothing but unhappiness, bad health, exhaustion, suffering. In my case, it meant weak, brittle, fragile bones, appalling concentration, liver problems, weakness and fatigue, dry skin, no energy or interest in anything, depression, name but a few.

And so today I am going to defy the Voice in my Head, and all the lies and obscenities that it throws at me from the moment I awake in the morning, till when I go to sleep at night. I am going to list the things that I do like about my natural body. Because they are there, the positives; I just always tend to let them be outweighed and overruled by the things that I dislike. But this is where you begin, by focusing on those parts which you like, which make you, you. There might always be something which you will never be able to like, exactly, or which you will always be critical over - and that's okay, as long as you don't let it consume you and spend so much time focusing solely on them and hating yourself, your body, for it!!!

So here is my own template, a list of things I like about myself. I hope that you will all join in too - it's another crucial step to self acceptance and moving towards a more positive, confident and happier you:)

What I like about my natural body...

  • My eyes - big and blue and sincere:)
  • My dark blonde hair with the fair streaks, which is long, thick and lustrous. I have taken good care of my hair. I don't use straighteners or hairdriers and don't overwash it either. It's the one part of my body which I can safely say I really do like, and wouldn't ever even consider changing. 
  • My sallow complexion - My skin colour is naturally quite tanned, and in the summer I go even browner. I think I get this from my Mam! ;)
  • My eyelashes (they are kind of long!:) 
Of course, gaining weight meant that my body underwent many significant changes, and I now look alot different to the way I was before.But are these changes bad, ugly, and altogether, awful? No, of course they are not - it's just the voice of Ed who makes them seem like they are. All of the people who love and care about me tell me I look so much better now than I did when I was underweight. And I know that they would not lie to me. <3

And I am beginning to see for myself, that these changes are good, and that I do, look better. For example...

  • When I was underweight, I had very bony, skinny arms. I hated them, biut of course I was way too afraid at the time to go and do something about it. But after weight restoration my arms are looking much, much better.
  • And one of the best things about gaining weight..? I can actually say this with conviction - seriously. I've got boobs! Yes! I NEVER had them when I was skinny. But now, well, I guess you can see for yourself! :p
  • I used to have really dry, cracked skin on my hands and on other parts of my body, too. My hands were espeially bad and could be very painful. i remember one of the first things my consultant ever said to me, having shook my hands on out first meeting at the clinic, was to comment on the dryness of my hands. But now it's a completely different story. I wil probably always have a worker's hands - a little worn from lots of washing up and cleaning (it comes withbeing a baker and I do like to cleran up as I go along ;) ), but thanks to the wonders of good nutrution, my hands lok and feel much better than they did when I was very underweight.
  • My chest and ribcage were also very bony, and I hated them, but the way I felt about that was identical to the way I felt about my arms - hated them, loathed them - but too afraid to make that change. But now, they look so much better. I stil have my issies about this part of my body, but I know it is going to take time. I know now what I didn't know then...that skinny is NOT, and never will be, beautiful: happy and healthy are, and always will be. It doesn't matter what size, shape, weight or height you are: everyone is different, everyone is unique. There is only one YOU and YOU are beautiful. Take the time to love and respect your body for the way it is, instead of actively trying to change it, modify it, in order to look like someone else!<3xxx 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Day 2: 20 random facts about me!!! ;)

I loveeee doing these!! So fun to do and a brilliant distraction..please feel free to join in the blog challenge or comment below :)
  1. My middle name is Jade, I think this is because if I was a boy it would have been James, or maybe Mam just liked that name? I don't really know to be honest. :p My first name literally means "industrious" in some old language which I think sums me up quite well! :p
  2. ducks have always been my favourite animal of all. I just love these cute, comical, dumpy waterbirds with their webbed feet, beautiful plumage, and beaks which always seem to be perked up in a smile. I wonder if a prize for the most soft ducks gathered into one bedroom exists anywhere in the world, because I think if there was I would certainly qualify for a runner's up prize. You should SEE my room!!! ;)
  3. I am an avid nature lover and have always been what you would call a bit "green-fingered". I adore being outside in nature, whether that be a windswept beach, a leafy forest, a grassy meadow or a sunlit riverbank. Another one of my peculiarities is that I am absolutely fanatical about the different branches of the natural world. Going out into the woods or up the mountains or whatever, I would usually be constantly peering around me at the trees and the wild flowers and trying to identify them, or gazing at the sky in the hope of catching a glimpse of some kind of bird. As a girl I spent many an hour pouring over nature identification guides and thus committed many of the names and descriptions to memory. 
  4. I love medieval stuff, and love books about medieval people, or poking around old castle ruins with my head full of images of the knights on their white steeds and damsels in distress fluttering their pretty dresses and staring mournfully out of arrow slits for hours upon end. Morokia is a reflection I suppose of my love of medieval history (amongst other things!!!)
  5. I am really superstitious and eagerly buy into the existence of ghosts, witches, faeries and goblins. At the house we were staying in in Mallorca(which was quite old may I add) I got really freaked out one night as I was sitting in the twilight with only one lamp on and I was convinced I saw a large, flickering shadow flit across the wall. Yes, of course it might have been a filament of my imagination, as my family all agreed that it was. But. I saw what I saw and Im standing by that..and I did NOT sit in that room again for the remainder of the holiday.
  6. I still have the little toy duck, Ducky, that I was given as a baby and she and her teddy friends are the heroes and heroines of many of the childhood stories I wrote. 
  7. I have had three rabbits and three guinea pigs in the past. Snuffles was my first rabbit. He was a beautiful grey and white Dutch rabbit and looked as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. But then there came the day that he got out of his pen, went down to the bottom of the garden, and there we found him playing with another rabbit, a wild one. A few months later, and he gave birth to five adorable baby rabbits. Hence the discovery that my little boy was not a boy after all, but a beautiful doe with a bit of a wild streak in her.
  8. I did horseriding before Lizzy did, believe it or not...I went along with my sister to the riding school to watch her have her first ever lesson. But Lizzy was too afraid to get on the big, bulky chestnut the riding school had picked out for her. Daddy turned to me, standing meekly at the edge of the arena in my wellies and crop trousers, and asked me would I like to ride the horse, instead!! I still love horses and would love to be able to ride one :'( I still love horses alot; I think they are the most beautiful animals. I don't think there is a sight more stirring then seeing a horse in full gallop, mane and tail streaming, nostrils flaring. 
  9. My favourite places in the world are West Cork, Sligo, Kilkenny, and Snowdonia in Wales...all such beautiful, spectacular places which I have such happy, sweet memories of <3
  10. As a little girl I adored animal biscuits, Mr Kipling French Fancies and whole galaxy you probably have guessed at this stage I have a bit of a sweet tooth. ;)
  11. I nearly got carried away by a wave when I wasfour years old, building sandcastles upon a beach at Brittany. The waves took away my favourite green bucket and I was absolutely traumatised!! But one of my biggest fears to this day are huge waves an deep water. There's not alot that frightens me but those two things really do make my spine tingle at the very thought.
  12. I am a terrible hoarder and am also very untidy when it comes to my own stuff. My various different piles of "junk" which are scattered hilly-knilly about the house are enough to drive my poor Mammy mad. 
  13. Don't laugh, but i actually dont know how to plait :'( yep, despite the fact that up till I was 18, my hair tumbled to my waist, and even now it's not exactly short, as you can see. it's on my to do list, to learn how to plait. 
  14. I only started wearing makeup when I was 17, when I went on a trip to the Gaeltacht with my friends. And yes of course I had to ask Mammy how to put it on properly and what exactly I needed to get!!!!
  15. I love folklore and am very interested in culture, myths, legends, you name it. Do I believe in the Loch Ness Monster? Of course!!! Would I step into a rath - those earthen enclosures of earth where the fairies were supposed to have lived in Celtic times? Of course not!!
  16. As a girl my favourite toys were Sylvanian Families, those cute little animals in adorable little clothes which resided in a combination of colorful dollhouses. And of course as already mentioned I did love my teddies. Barbie dolls I liked as well. And Lego. Lego men often attacked the Barbies in the games I used to play with Matt.
  17. I love Irish as a language and am really keen to learn more of this wonderful, ancient language . I do have my cupla focail but I would really love to expand and develop my Gaeilge further.  
  18. My favourite kind of chocolate is Milka Oreo or Cadbury Golden Biscuit Crunch. Oh. And Malt Easter. Ever heard of it? Think Maltesers. And then think of a solid, thick chocolate bar with squares of the same kind of chunkiness as those found in a Yorkie Bar. Malt Easter is basically a collaboration of that, 
  19. I wouldnt cal myself a thrill-seeker exactly, but I love nothing more than frightening the life out of myself on scary rollercoasters (the scarier the better!!), and riding downhill on a bike is pretty awesome right :p
  20. I love art though I dont really think I'm that great, haha! I love painting by numbers or just drawing stuff free hand. And as a little girl, a rainy afternoon could never be spent in a better way then sitting at the big playroom table drawing maps for my teddies. :p 
One of my painting by numbers; my favourite one "A Scottish Glen"

Sunday, 12 July 2015

The perfect dream...and the perfect fall...

And so, my holiday to Mallorca came, and went, like a fleeting image of a kingfisher gliding over the still, crystal-clear waters of a reed-shrouded pond, the reflection of its turquoise blue plumage sparkling in the moonlight. A moment of beauty and transcendance: but so fleeting, so short-lived. Beads of moisture catch the light on the kingfisher's feathers, twinkling like diamonds scattered upon a nest of blue velvet. But amongst the light and the beauty there is darkness, too. The silvery fish held tightly between the two needle-like projections of the predator's beak, its lifeless eyes staring up at the heavens . The milk-white disc of the full moon, ghostly and sisnister as it hangs like a bpale, silvery coin dropped down a well, suspended forever in interpenetrable darkness. Altogether, all of these things make a beautiful, haunting image. Almost perfect, I suppose one could say. Almost.

But you know, one thing I was thinking, as I stood in the porch of my home yesterday evening, that there is no such thing as perfection. The search for perfection is one which is inevitably both fruitless and futile. If anything, as I have learnt to my cost, the strive for perfection is just setting you up, for the most perfect, perfect fall...

You see, at the beginning of it all, when that thirteen year old girl who was me, all those years ago, suddenly and without any apparent reason, developed an eating disorder...that was what that girl wanted, really; she wanted every single aspect of her life, and herself, to be perfect.

I didn't suddenly wake up one day, and decide to go on a diet, to drive my loved ones sick with worry and concern, to restrict what I ate and forbid myself to eat many of the foods which I loved. No; the reasons behind my eating disorder lay much, much deeper than that, and this, I recognise now, was probably one of the most fundamental of them all.

I believed that I would only ever be truly happy, if I had that perfection; if I created a perfect world for myself...if I moulded my own body, into a form which I saw as being perfect. And hence began, at the age of thirteen, this relentless striving for everything to be what I saw as being unarguably flawless, corerect, perfect. I became obessessed about getting perfect grades; I would weep my heart out if I got anything less than a B in a class test, or did less favouraly than my peers. I wanted to be the perfect student; I wanted to be the Trinity graduate with the perfect degree, who went onto get the perfect career. I wanted everything in my life to be perfect: lots of friends, a spectacular social life, knowing that I was liked and respected by everyone;the security that noone would look down on me, judge me, think negatively of me. And so it was with my body, too. I believed with all my heart that if I did not change myself and the way I looked, and alter my body into an image of what I regarded as nearest to perfect as I ever would be, that noone would ever like me; noone would ever want to be my friend. Why would they, I thought, want to be friends with a short, slow-witted, dumpy girl with the round face and stubby legs? All I have to do, is reach that perfect weight, that perfect shape, have a perfect body, in the eyes of society. And then, everything will be perfect. everything will be as I want it to be.

Today, as I sit here writing to you, I clearly see just how distorted, how wrong, how destructive this mindset really is.And looking back I see what this relentless striving for "perfection" really rought me? Did it bring me contentment or satisfaction, a sense of fulfilment, purpose...complete and unbroken happiness?

No, of course it did not. My strive for perfection was, inevitably, the thing that so, so close to nearly destroying made me depressed, isolated, obsessive, bitter, anxious, extremely self-critical, lonely, and very, very unhappy. I became almost devoid of all hope.

So please, when you find yourself restricitng, or overexercising, or purging or whatever, or even if you aren;t physically engaging in any behaviours, but are just making yourself feel down or depressed with your negative thoughts, wishing that you were at a size x or that you could have a body shape like y...that you were at the shape or weight that you see or regard as perfect...just stop and take a deep breath, and think...what exactly will you achieve by doing just that? Will it bring you everything you have ever dreamed of, everything you ever really wanted, in life?

I still realy struggle with applying my own advice to myself, as the holiday really did testify. More than anything else in the world, I wanted it to be absolutely, flawlessly perfect - in every single possible way.But of course, it was unrealistic of me to feel this way - in reality, things never work out quite as perfectly as we would like them to be; and thinking like this can be problematical. Setting my hopes so high meant that I was bound to be disappointed. Hence why as I snuggled under the duvet in my own bed at home, my body still but my mind anything but, as thoughts and memories circulating around the holiday chased eachother round and around in my head - hence why I felt a sharp, bittersweet sensation tug at my heart right then. because it had been a lovely, lovely holiday; but, unsurprisingly, it was't absolutely prefect in every way. And is the often case with me, all the negative things, all the imperfections, I allow to swallow and submerge everything else which is bbeauitul, I hope that, in the future, I will learn how to see my world, and my life, in a more positive and healthy way; and accept that both I, and my life as a whole, do not have to be perfect to be happy. <3 xxxx

A reflective moment for me by the sea yesterday, before we headed for the airport to go home.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Day 1: The name of my Blog?:)

Over the next couple of weeks or so (or, knowing me, it will probably take alot longer than that..;) , i am taking part in a blog challenge alongside my fellow blogger and dear friend Karly. It's only really a bit of fun, but also it might help you to get to know me just a wee bit better; to see beyond the girl with an eating disorder with her weak bones and uncountable regrets and difficult, stormy past. Rather, through this wee blog challenge, I hope you will come to know the real Emmy - a twenty-one year old girl who is fanatical about animals, who is super-superstitious, who is always, always hot and who absolutely adores chocolate, in its various forms. ;) I do think that there is much, much more to every single individual out there then meets the eye; we all have as many layers as an onion, if not more. So please feel free to join in, on any or all of the different days of the blog challenge -I would love to hear from you! :)

Your blog's name?:)

I clearly remember the day when I decided I was going to start blogging; the tingling sense of nervousness and anticipation when I wrote my first ever blog post. When it was completed, however, I had another more pressing dilemma; one which was much more tricky to solve than the question of what exactly I was going to write in my first blog post. That question being, of course...what should I name my blog?

And then a dear friend of mine suggested something to do with my apron, no doubt referring to the gaily coloured little apron I would always wear when baking: something which I had become famous for amongst my own circle of friends. I loved to bake, and even when I was very sick with my eating disorder, baking was one of the few interests that I managed to keep alive.

And so that's how it came into being, I suppose. My Cocoa Stained Apron - my blog. I wanted my blog to be a combination of posts which related to both recovery and, of course, baking. But the title has a few other connotations which I thought I'd share with you today. The first isn't quite so explicit as the first (let's say it's alot more metaphorical!! ;) ). An apron is worn to protect oneself from stains and marks when in the kitchen. It might undergo alot of abuse. It might be torn, holes might appear in the fragile fabric. however, the dedicated owner will patch it up and determinedly carry on.

And now I'm going to say something which might not make much sense at all, but here goes. Recovery is like that faithful, stained apron. The journey of recovery is never perfect - there will be marks and stains, spillages, tears, holes; just like those made upon the apron.

But if we, the person who essentially OWNS our own recovery - noone else can do it for you - persevere and don't give up, and keep on fixing those tears and holes, and keep on going despite all the marks and imperfections...for recovery is, and never will, be perfect, or without some flaws.

Okay, yeah...I guess my metaphor isn't very good, I get that. But hopefully you get the general idea. ;)

And now, of course, the title of my blog has a more obvious meaning as well. ;) As you probably already know by now, I absolutely love chocolate, of both the drinkable and edible kind. Hence the reason why my actual real-life apron, currently stuffed in an untidy drawer in the kitchen at home, awaiting my return - does in fact have many a chocolatey stain upon it! ;)

My love affair with chocolate continues on!!! :p

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Love your Body! :) Part 1

A few days ago I wrote a post explaining how over the next week or so I am going to write a few wee lists which will hopefully help me (and all you guys too! :) ) to begin to appreciate and love your very own body. for accepting its so-called imperfections (thought I am a firm believer in the saying that it is all these little imperfections which make us special and perfect in our own little ways), bestowing upon it the care, respect and attention it deserves; and for recognising and appreciating everything it has done, will do and does for you, in the past, in the future and on a day-to-day basis. You and only you can be responsible for your body's health and well-being: others can help you, or try to force you to take measures in an attempt to protect yourself from causing you and your body from harm; but at the end of the day, the ball is in your court; it is your body, your life, and there is only so much people can do for you... inevitably, the person who has to take on the responsibility or who will suffer the consequences, whose life will be you.

And so today, I thought I would share with you my own list of the things that my body has done, and still does do, for me...things which I may have taken for granted in the past, things that I might not even have given a second thought to before. But now, I realise, that it is all because of my body that I could do and can do all these things. Writing a list like this acts as a real eye opener, to the extent to how hard your body works for you, what it has done for you, and which it loyally continues to do for you on a daily or regular basis...for as long as it can draw breath. We need to all realise just how amazing, how incredible our bodies really are; we also need to learn how to love, respect, and care for them. Always remember: your body will never give up on you; it will take care of long as you are prepared to care for it, nurture it, in return.

  • Without my body I would never be able to see, hear, or feel the world around me; without it, I would never, ever have been enabled to experience the breathtaking magnificence and beauty of the planet which we know as Earth. I wouldn't be able to inhale the delicate fragrance of the bluebells in springtime; I wouldn't be be able to hear the cuckoo calling or the blackbird singing from the rooftops, neither would I be able to witness to pale, radiant purity of a snowy morning. 

  • because of my body, I was able to gaze over the sapphire-blue waters of the Pacific and watch fluffy wild sealions wreath and play in the tresses of yellowy kelp which form underwater jungles along the coast of California. I was able to climb to the top of Puig de Maria, running my fingers through the silvery leaves of the olive trees which overhung the rocky path upon which I trod. I was able to leave my footprints along the golden sands of the beaches of West Cork, the roars of the Atlantic crashing in my ears, the fresh sea breeze catching strands of my hair and casting them across my face.
  • Because of my body I was able experience the magic of Irish dancing for myself, feel the pulsating rhythm and the enchanting beat of the bodhrán, leap across the stage like a creature of the faery world, as if my feet were on fire, as if I was one with that music. I will never forget being able to dance like that. And I hope by caring for my body, I might be able to do so once again.
  • Because of my body I can feel the softness of my doggy's fur, ruffle his ears, take him for walks on the heathery bogs and moors, the rustling forests, the dewy meadows. I can pick up my cat and cuddle him in my arms, feel the warmth of his body against my own.
  • I can write and do things with my hands - knit and draw and make delicious creations in the kitchen. 
  • And of course, it was my body which kept me alive, when I at my lowest weight in the depths of anorexia. Despite all the strain and abuse that I forced it to endure, my body refused to give up on me, and allowed me to survive. Now I know is the time I repay my body in full for everything it has done for me, and, though I know this is easier said then done, I am determined to prove to my eating disorder that it is no longer the one who decides what is best for my body
And there you go, just a snapshot of some of the things which my body does and has done for me which I am so, so grateful for. Think about your own body, your own life, and what your body has done for you. Love your body and it will love you back; choose recovery and fight your eating disorder. It is the best thing you could possibly do for your body! <3 xxx