At first glance it might seem that I am just a happy, normal girl who loves to bake and walk her dog. However, I have suffered with an eating disorder since I was 13. It was only in May 2014 when I realised that this Voice in my head was slowly but surely trying to kill me. And so began the long, hard, and painful journey which is recovery...

I want My Cocoa Stained Apron to be a special place...a place for reflection, memories, shared stories...and of course a little bit of cocoa-staining ;) Recovery might be the hardest thing you ever choose to do in this life. But it is also the bravest and best decision you will ever make.:)

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Picking up the pieces..:'(

this was a hard and painful thing for me to write, and I did hesistate in sharing this post with you today, but as I have said before, I dont want my blog to become yet another facade under which I can hide behind like a beetle under a rock; I dont want to have to wear yet another mask of my own making on My Cocoa Stained Apron...that's not what my blog is about. Rather, it is a place where I write from my heart and am open and honest about my feelings, where I can reach out to others and implore them to do the exact same. For I think we all know that wearing all those masks and creating all those facades burdens the soul and bears down upon the heart.

I write this with tears in my eyes, because I feel as if I was so, so close to achieving what I had been yearning for: a perfect holiday, with no upset, fights, tears  or disagreements. But yesterday destroyed all my hopes of that. To be brutally honest yesterday was an awful day. And I suppose the pain is even worse, because I feel as if it was completely out of my control, what happened yesterday. And it wasn;t because I messed up, it wasnt because I refused to eat or paniced at a restaurant or went off cycling for three hours plus and got caught in the act: no. But I think ED was in there, somewhere: subtly entwined into the things I said and the things I did yesterday. And overhanging it all is the knowledge that I could have avoided this..I could have prevented it. But those three demons of my own making - those being, my depression, my immaturity, and of course my eating disorder - were either too strong for me to fight against, or I too weak to oppose them.

Yesterday got off to a bad start: I woke up feeling really down. Not really for any apparent, or logical, reason: but as I looked up the weather forecast online to read that it was going to be yet another hot, sticky, sweltering day, with temperatures ranging from 35 to 38 degrees celsius in blistering heat, I couldnt help but groan inwardly. The heat has been really getting to me on this trip much more so than it has done in the past, and as I sat and contemplated another scorching hot day at the villa, doing the same old things that I have done for the past week and a half - for noone except me seemed interested in going sightseeing or actually leaving the villa, and I of course was too embarrassed to speak up - I began to feel more and more down, thinking of home, of the soft cool breezes of the Irish summer, thinking of Benny and Maisy and Felix, and just yearning to be back at home with them. I have enjoyed my time here, but it has been too long, for me.

And the day just got worse and worse from that point onwards: a number of things happened then, which further augmented the building sense of depression welling up inside me, threatening to overwhelm and submerge every other feeling in suffocating, engulfing waves. It was a scorching day, and I felt sick and wishy-washy and had to sit inside after lunch with the AC on. At snack time noone offered to support me again:it was as if they had completely forgotten about me and what I should be having. We had had a somewhat tense discussion the other night about my future and  treatment once we return home, and the conversation had sat heavily on my mind all day, filling me with doubt, melancholy, and immense apprehension. And then, to top it all off, we were eating out that evening. I did not want to go, but I wanted to put on a brave face. However when it came to washing and brushing my hair, I discovered that it had become very matted and tangled during the course of the day, and now ressembled a blonde streaked brown bush of sorts when I went to go and brush it out. After about 40 minutes - no word of a lie, for that is exactly how long it took - of brushing and futile detangling, I was hot with frustration and angry tears burned my eyes, threatening to fall. You are such a BABY!! a voice screamed at the back of my head. Crying about knotted hair!!

The evening was ruined for me, basically: I sat in the restaurant that night and said not a word, having come under hevy critcism from Mam for looking and acting so miserable. I think she mistakedly assumes that the main cause of my distress  was having to eat out, but there, this time, she was wrong. That was only just one of the coals tossed into the fire,  a fire which simmers and burns with sickly, heavy, oppressing heat.

Now it is morning and I am wide awake, despite the fact I slept for about 5 hours last night, despairing and miserable about the one day that destroyed everything: my positive approach to the holiday, the peace and tranquillity I had managed to uphold so far, and, of course, the possibility that this holiday could almost have been a really, really lovely one. One free of any discord, rows, fights or heated arguments. But the words exchanged last night testify to me that this is not the case. My little bubble of positivity has been ruthlessly burst: my happiness, once again, broken and shattered into fragments before my very eyes. And now I am left to pick up the pieces and try to move forward. The thing is, I don't know what moving forward actually is.

To get a job? To try and go back to college, with the little money or funding that I have? To keep on going to the hospital in the knowledge that they have done all that they can possibly do for me, in terms of my recovery? I thought initially before writing this post today, that I had only one demon: one terrible, hideous, crippling demon. But it turns out I have three: I know I do, and they are ruining me. Yesterday was merely a snapshot of just how much control and influence they have over my life. Just how exactly do I move forward and pick up the pieces, and patch together my torn, broken heart?


  1. Emmy... It upsets me so much to read this and see that you are feeling so awful. It is only last year that I went on a family holiday and had a very similar experience. For the first week i was happy and positive however in the last three days I became very depressed and miserable. I feltt guilty at the time as I felt as though I was wrecking ouur holiday for my whole family but I really couldn't help the way I was feeling. It is really only since I came home from that holiday that I have got stronger and made more progress in my recovery. Try and believe that his will be the case for you too Emmy. I know that he future seems scary but you just need to trust that everything will work out. I know that you cant always help it but you really shouldn't be so hard on yurself Emmy. Your are one of the most kind hearted and considerate people I have ever known and I know that you have the strength within you that you eed to recover. Try and make returning home a brand new start for yourself. Make your mind up now that when you get home you WILL fight your anorexia and follow your meal plan. Remember following your meal plan isnt only about gaining weight, its also about fighting your anorexia. I want you to recover so much Emmy. Please stay strong and know that I am alwways here for you. Sending lots of love, Karly xx

    1. <3 aww Karly thank you so so much, you are so sweet and kind and your words really helped me to feel that little bit better <3 I just wish that my family would understand hun and that they arent so hard on me as it breaks my heart when i know i have upset them. Definitely hun I think you are right, I think coming home I should make a fresh start and put the past behind me and get to grips with the meal plan again, regardless of everything and what everyone else thinks about me. Thank you so so much for this hun. Really means so so much and really touched my heart and made me smile <3 . All my love and best wishes hun <3 xxxx

  2. I'm sorry you're having such a hard time. I don't know you, but I've been following your blog and your commitment and insight is really impressive. You have a lot of strength inside and you CAN do this.

    Your approach to whether or not the holiday was a good one seemed a bit black and white in this post: 'perfect' vs. 'ruined'. Maybe it would help to embrace the grey tones? Could you think of the holiday as 'mostly good' or 'pretty enjoyable, though I had a few more difficult days'?

    I have struggled with anxiety and depression myself, and I think it is very easy to fall into the trap of expecting that improvement, when it comes, will come as a long string of perfect, anxiety-free (or ED-free) days. I find that there are still bad spells scattered throughout the good days; they just come less often, and don't last as long. I find it helpful to focus on bouncing back from the bad days (building resilience) rather than on not having them, because that is a battle that I will always lose. I think it's the same for everyone. You've made so much progress - don't equate this with failure, because it's not.

    1. Hello:) thank you so so much for your comment it meant so so much to me! Your words were so thoughtful and insightful and really made me stop and think about things in a more positive sort of way. You are right; up to this point the holiday had generally been very enjoyable!
      What you said in the last section of the comment made PERFECT sense. If only, it were the way we wished it, for all days to be perfect and easy, but of course unfortunately it's not so simple as that. :( Thanks a million for your advice, I really appreciate it SO much! xxx

  3. so sorry you've been feeling down, i know how hard it is to move forward, but you will get there just keep fighting, have you thought about counselling maybe it would be good to have a place where you can talk more about these feelings, i find it really helpful in recovery, hope you feel better soon xx

    1. <3 thank you so so much hun, really appreciate this so much. I think counselling would be very helpful..I am reluctant to spend the money is the only thing (I always feel so guilty abbout that!) but at the end of the day, I suppose it might be worth it if it helps.. thank you so much for thinking of me hun take care xoxoxo

  4. Oh Emily, I'm so sorry you've been feeling this way. Know that your feelings are valid and it's ok and NORMAL to feel this way in recovery.

    I want to echo what has been said above, this holiday was NOT ruined! This is very all-or-nothing thinking (which is very common amongst us in recovery!). Read your past few holiday posts. You had a week of amazing days! You had so many situations where you fought ED and you won, you defied it so many times and you gave your family a great vacation. So maybe the last day was harder and you struggled. That doesn't negate the week of great holiday you had! And you could have refused to gone out but you didn't! You went anyway. That sounds like a win to me.

    Remember you don't have to be perfect! No one is perfect, recovery isn't perfect, holidays are never perfect and neither are we! Slip ups, falls, hard moments, tears, those are all NORMAL. But more than that, they are all ok. It's ok to have tough days. Like that saying goes, fall down seven times, get up eight! So long as you keep pushing on, that's what matters! Learn from the past, but don't dwell on it. And if it helps, I definitely think you should read over your last few did incredibly on holiday Emily, and this doesn't change it one bit! You need to keep reminding yourself that it's ok, go easy on yourself! You're doing your best and that's what matters.

    As for moving forward, trust me, I understand how hard the unknown and having to make those decisions is. From my own experience trying to balance recovery and school is incredibly hard. Actually, the thing I keep telling you I am e-mailing you about is that I am currently also taking a Medical Leave of Absence from school to focus 100% on recovery. Because of the nature of my program that means taking time off until April 2016. But ALL of my preceptors (teachers) felt it was the right decision. You cannot help others if you cannot help yourself first. But I understand how difficult it can be to just do nothing but recovery. My plan is to go home and get a job for the year. Not a stressful job, but a job surrounded by people, part-time, where I can leave my work there at the end of the day and have evenings to myself. You need other people, especially if you are also dealing with depression. I have watched a dear dear friend return to school too early after treatment for depression and I would hate to see you struggle as she has. I think it is VITAL to be 100% healthy before returning to something so important that will have such an impact on your future.

    As for treatment, I also agree that counseling is the best option. If going to group therapy at the hospital isn't helping, maybe you have past that point (I actually got turned away from the outpatient program here as they said I was too far along in recovery and would just get triggered/held back by the other patients). But make sure you keep doing something! A psychologist or therapist is a great option, but make sure you find someone you connect with! I had to try three different people before I found my current therapist, but she is awesome. A dietician can also be a great resource as they can (blindly) weigh you and keep you on track.

    So many people don't recovery completely, they settle for a partial recovery but always deal with food issues. DON'T be that person! Fight for full recovery, because maybe I'm alone in this, but I believe with all my heart that 100% recovery IS POSSIBLE! I'm determined to get there and I hope against hope that you are too!

    Sorry for the crazy long reply! I know you don't see it, but you are SO STRONG! E-mail me whenever you need it! Your blog has helped me so much, if I can help in any way I would be honoured!

    Chin up girlie!

    -N xx

    1. Hun thank you so much for your lovely comment it is so sweet and kind of you to take the time to write all this out for me thank you ever so much hun <3 And I really, really appreciate your support so so much <3
      Hun what can I say..I am so, so glad you decided to take time out. I really, really think this was the right decision for you to take. Recovery while in full-time study is just so, so hard and creates even more pressure and strain in an already extremely stressful situation.
      I agree with you one hundred and one percent hun!! I truly believe full recovery is possible too and I do NOT want either of us to be stuck in the phase of half recovery forever.
      And I love your long replies hun!! They are so special and your words always make me smile and give me so much insight, strength, comfort and courage. Thank you ever so much hun <3 can't wait to hear from you soon <3 xxxxx

  5. Oh hunni :( I hate to hear you suffering :( it is one of the worst feelings in the world to me :( I know how hard it can be to realize how hard it is to resist all the mean traps and snares Miss Mager always sets in our way :( she is such a devil :( But huuuun? please promise me to be strong against her, you are such a powerful gal ;) myyyyyyyyy hot choc Emmy from the Green Isle;) who is a beater of anorexia and I am sure you can do it ;) I believe so much in you and so you will!!!
    Love u so so much and thinking at you ;) xxxxxxxxxx

    1. aww huni <3 don't worry hun I will be ok <3 And you are so right hun, Miss Mager can be so sneaky and deceptive and causes so much heartbreak :( but as my friend in her comment above wrote hun that we just need to believe full recovery is possible <3 we CAN and WILL beat Miss MAger forever hun <3 aww hun thank you <3 my Nutella girleeee in Germany awwww :* take care now hun love you so so much xxxxxx