At first glance it might seem that I am just a happy, normal girl who loves to bake and walk her dog. However, I have suffered with an eating disorder since I was 13. It was only in May 2014 when I realised that this Voice in my head was slowly but surely trying to kill me. And so began the long, hard, and painful journey which is recovery...
I want My Cocoa Stained Apron to be a special place...a place for reflection, memories, shared stories...and of course a little bit of cocoa-staining ;) Recovery might be the hardest thing you ever choose to do in this life. But it is also the bravest and best decision you will ever make.:)
Saturday, 2 January 2016
On Christmas Eve, following the unfolding of what had been, for me anyway, a very upsetting and bitterly disheartening end to what could have been the perfect ending to a truly beautiful day- that being, of course, the incident with the dessert which I referred to in an earlier post - I sat by the fire later on with my hot choc and laptop and endeavoured to write out a complete and brutally honest list of the ED rules currently present in my life. And I suppose that's when it really hit me, sitting there with this list in front of me: a list written by me, for me; and which, in its simplicity, made manifest the sheer enormity of ED's power and authority...over me.
I have to admit...I felt a dark, overwhelming sense of crushing despair building up within my skull, as I sat there, frozen in my little chair, staring at the page in front of me. There were just...so many. So many chains and iron shackles for me to break, so many barriers which I have to tear down. Everyone else in the room with me were laughing and smiling and settling down to enjoy their evening in front of the blazing, cosily warm log fire. But for me, however, there was no warmth, no laughter, no smiles. No calm in my head: just a raging, ceaseless, pulsating thudding, as if my head was being bashed, again and again, against a bbrick wall. The fire might as well have not been there...for I felt chilled to the bone.
So many barriers...so many chains...
so much...noise...in my head.
How will I ever succeed?
How will I ever calm this...storm?
The past few days here in Ireland, icy winds and heavy rain have battered the island from all sides, storm after storm rolling in off the Atlantic with the wrathful, violent ferocity of a starving predator with the scent of blood in its nostrils. The sun remained obscured beneath a heavy, suffocating cover of thick, interpenerable cloud; the rain, lashing down without relent, pelting against walls and windows to gather in grimy puddles on the ground.
On just one of those particular days, I had tentativvely crept to my bedroom window and had gazed out at the terrible, sublime beauty of what was a real winter storm in its unbridled and terrible fury. A wildness so...powerful, I could feel it as surely as if I was standing there, right out in the very midst of it, staring into the very eye of that storm and allowing the ice-cold rainwater to soak into my clothes and body.
The thought, of that...being out there, at the very mercy of such a wild, untameable, force of nature...was unnerving, to say the least, but I did not draw back from the window, but yet remained with one hand against the glass so that my fingers left small circles upon the condensed up, foggy edge. Afraid... but it was not the storm. Not the storm which held me there, motionless; like a frozen shadow by the window. No...it was something else.
Because even though the storm did frighten me...what frightened me more was in that storm, I saw a startling and vivid reflection of my very own mindset. The outer mirroring the inner: the exterior reflecting the interior. Because that's what it feels like, deep inside me...my mindset, my inner psyche, like a exposed winter landscape, rendered helpless to the pitiless fury of the approaching storm.
Emotions, as charged and as palpable as lightning, striking down to either side of me, making me want to flee out of terror of their intensity: to flee, in search of some safe, non-existent place; for I know that there is no escaping this storm, this storm which has blown up within my very own head . Sensations, washing over me like rain, ceaselessly pouring down all around me to create rushing, swirling whirlpools which threaten to engulf me in their wake and bear me away without pity. And then...then, there is The Voice. Screaming and howling its way across my brain, cutting and slicing its way through my skin with as much force and remorseless cruelty as an icy winter wind.
I finally withdrew from the window, shivering, an icy chill having suddenly spread all over my skin, causing goosebumps to appear upon my arms and icicle like sensations to run across my back. A feeling not unfamiliar to me; for this was how I felt just a few days before: the night of Christmas Eve, sitting by the fire with my family, but unable to feel a single flicker of its warmth. I just felt so...overwhelmed. ED appeared so big, then. So vast, so limitless, so infinitely, terrifyingly immense.
And the truth is...an eating disorder is, like that great storm.
It is immense, it is vast. It is a terrible and potentially fatal disease which has claimed the lives of so, so mnay victims; destroying and crushing the lives of others who manage to cling onto the fragile strings of the thing that we call life. But. Please hear me now when I say...that eating disorders are not undefeatable. And, just like the storm...it can be faced. It can be battled through. We cannot let it hold us for any longer, entrapped within the fear of its power and apparent impregnability. We can, and will, fight our way though... <3 xxx
And I know that it is going to be so, so hard, to stand directly against that wind, to not let it keel me over. It's going to be hard, and scary, and pure terrifying. But I realise that that is xactly and precisely what I have to do, in 2016. by myself. Last year, things were different. I confronted my fears because I had to: I was forced to, in the confinements of the hospital; I didn't have a choice. but now, my situation is completely and fundamentally different. My recovery and my life are in my very own hands.
And I can choose to let this storm destroy me, now.
Or I can choose...to fight, and stand tall and firm against the wind and the rain.
I have to do the things which terrify me...confront them, straight on.
As for my list of ED habits and behaviours...
I am determined, more than ever, to work on it; for I realise, I can be stronger than the storm. I just need to find the courage to believe in myself. To not flee from the storm for any longer. But to step out and dance in the rain, and know that I am the one in control.
It took alot of willpower, and self-discipline, and strength, to build those habits and enforce them in my life.
But habits can be undone.
And if I was able to utilise all of that strength and stubbornness and self-control before...
I know that there is nothing in the world to stop me, from using those very same traits once again...only this time, to undo those damaging, obsessive, an destructive habits and behaviors.
Step by little step, we will make it up this mountain. <3
No matter how hard that storm may rage against us,
We will stay strong against those harsh winds,
And the clouds will clear, and the thunder will be silenced.
And then out of the mist shall rise our beautiful, golden sun.
a life of hope and promise and light.
which, like the sun that spills its light upon our earth...
may dim and fade at times, as clouds gather about it, blocking out the brigtness, darkening the light.
But that sun will never truly be extinguished...
The storm cannot, and will not, rage forever.