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.:)
Monday, 29 February 2016
I know I have been blogging in a somewhat haphazard, fragmented sort of way the past few weeks, and I am sorry about that. The reason for this being, is that I have been struggling immensely wit my college work, and I guess I felt obligated to set aside the time I usually designate for blogging in order to get a much of the reading as possible done. Which I absolutely hate having to do: I hate being separated so to speak from my bblog, especially now that I truly feel as if I have made some real and concrete progress in my recovery. No, more than that...I have taken some huge, gigantic, and abbsolutely terrifying steps over the course of the past few days. But I know, without one shadow of a doubt, that it was absolutely crucial for me, to take those few tentative steps: which, in themselves, constitute the ultimate leap of faith.
As I mentioned in my last post, last weekend marked a critical turning point in the ongoing and ferocious battle between me and my eating disorder. As I have openly and honestly reflected and spoken of here on my blog, the past few months have been far, far from easy for me, as I fought tooth and nail to overcome my relapse and find my way back onto the steep and rocky road towards true recovery.
It was a difficult and painful time for me. I was barely keeping my head above the water at college: slipping quietly into lectures with my head down and my eyes fixed to the ground in the hope tht noone would notice me. Sitting there at the very back of the room, trying futilely to focus on the lecturer's voice as she outlines the influences Burke's Philosophical Enquiry was to have to future Gothic writers, inviting us to share our own thoughts with the class. I instinctively twine a couple of strands of my hair around my dry, chapped fingers as soon as she mentions the words share your thoughts. trying to swallow the hard lump of anixety that has already entered my throat. my own thoughts run wild like antelope upon a a plain; A voice, screaming triumphantly from a distance with a sort of terrible malice, you are dumb, you are stupid, you should't even be here. Why are you here? A Trinity student, yeah right!!
And this has been, once again, my third year college experience.
I was torn, torn with the fear and the pain and the guilt. It was like trying to pul yourself up a steep, vertical rockface, a rockface lined with thorns and jagged outcrops which tear your feet and hands at every opportunity.
And I knew, that what I was trying so desperately to achieve - that being, to recover from my eating disorder, an eating disorder which had been with me for almost half of my life and which had come so, so close to totally and utterly destroying me - while being at college, without the proper support, treatment, or therapy clearly, should have been indispensable to me at this time, was, after all, proving to be a virtually impossible feat. There were days when I felt so alone, so trapped, so helpless. As if I was the last person left on earth; as if I was the one girl left behind in the devastated shipwreck, wave after icy wave washing over me as I slowly began to lose my grip on the slippery piece of driftwood which seemed to provide the one slim, fleeting chance I had of staying afloat in that terrible, unfeeling ocean.
Ever since September - the month when I suppose, the relapse really did begin in earnest - I had purposely concealed from my loved ones the reality of what was happening to me, covering up the tracks that I left along the bloodstrewn path of my own self-destruction with layer upon layer of pure, impermeable deceit, letting lie after lie escape my faltering lips while deep inside me, I felt as if my heart were breaking, out of the pure pain and the guilt and the shame. It was a state of bbeing which was all too familiar to me; and a path which, while being so horrible and alien, I knew I had trodden so many, many times before.
But then last weekend changed everything.
Now, everything has been laid out in the open. The rockface in front of me is still there, of course..ut now, this time, I have kind and gentle hands reaching out to me, tenderly enveloping my palms in their own warm ones. Picking me up whenever I cry out that I can't do it. And in those hands I can feel a warmth thatI know that those hands cannot make this climb for me...I know, that the real hard work has to come from me. But they are there for me, they are with me every second of every minute, every hour of every day.
never, ever be afraid to ask for help.
there may be anger and there may be tears. But they can and will forgive. <3 xxx
There is just so much I want to say, so many things I want to blog about; at times I feel so happy, I want to leap through the air for that pure joy, like the young deer leaping through the thickets of the forest; but then, alongside that, at times I feel so, so scared, so overwhelmed, so completely and utterly helpless: like riding upon a nail-bitingly high rollercoaster, a rollercoaster with no seatbelts or safety bars. All we can do is hold eachother's hands now as we go over the edge together. And it's true, what they say, Recovery is one of the scariest, most challenging, most difficult thing we might ever have to do in this life. But. We must take this massive leap together; we can, and will, ride that terrifying rollercoaster.
Because this is our life...
This is our Recovery...
And we can't just let ED take anymore away from us. ED will take and take and take until there is nothing of you left. ED will take everything from you and never give anythingback.And it will take and take and take somemore, until.
for it to take.
And so here is a rough idea of what my current intake looks like now. Depending on how the weight goes over the next few weeks, I might need to increase it again soon.
Breakfast: 7.30 am: Slice of multigrain toast, buttered, with 1 tsp peanut butter with good bowl of cereal (2 weetabix or a cupful of maltwheats/shreddies etc usually..I have a wee cup for measuring it and all ;) ) with at least100 ml milk (usually hot...mmmmm ;)
Morning snack: Any time between 10.00 - 12.45 am. Hot choc number 1 of the day (heehee more to follow!! ;) ) made with full fat milk and lots of heavenly tesco drinking chocolate powder. with 1 medium snack: usually, big handful nuts (about 30-40g ;) ), or 1 piece toasted spelt bread with peanut butter, or scone + spread, a muesli bar, half a multiseed bagel and peanut butter...etc etc.
Lunch About 14.00 Brown submarine roll/soft crusty roll/baked potato, buttered with protein filling(egg mayo/cheese/tuna mayo/ham etc) with vegetables/salad (tomatoes, spinach, sweetcorn, beetroot etc). with portion of fruit (apple/banana usually).
Afternoon snack Any time between 16.30-17.45 Hot choc with medium snack: usually crumpet + 1 tbsp pb , scone + spread, hot cross bun + spread, etc etc etc
Dinner 19.45 varies from day to day..usually its the basic protein + carbs + vegetables
Banana pud <3 21.00
Nighttime Hot choc 22.00
Honestly...a few weeks ago, I truly believed that I would never, ever be able to follow my meal plan and eat like this every day without fail. I had so many probblem areas and weak points...it virtually seemed like an impossible task. but, well...here I am now, and since last weekend I have not strayed from it, not once. And I know you can do it too...
This is OUR Recovery...
Let's take this leap together. <3 xxx
Tuesday, 23 February 2016
like walking upon a windswept beach, a beach which is strewn with rocks and sharply edged pebbles; a beach which seems to stretch on and on and on towards the distant horizon. The tide rolls in as you walk along, white tipped waves crashing down upon the grey, gritty sand as the rushing waters advance towards you, roaring and pounding itself against the rocks of that lonely shoreline with all the wild, untameable ferocity of some monstrous, terrible beast.
And still the beach stretches out ahead of you. On and on and on, without end.
And as the waves break upon the shore at your back, icy waters surging towards you with terrifying velocity, it is all you can do to not let yourself be drawn back by the powerful, surging currents that are suddenly sucking away the sands to every side of you. Those waters are all around you, now; and your skin becomes drenched with icy spray off those furious waves. And those waves are so powerful, so strong. They will bear you away with them, out into that depthless sea.
A few months ago, this was what had happened to me. I was the leaf lost in the gale; the tiny little stone which has been plucked away from the rocky path upon which it was precariously attached, to be tossed remorselessly away into the icy wilderness beyond. I was the little lost girl who had allowed herself to be carried away from that lonely beach with all its sharp cutting stones. I had lost the strength to carry on. Those cruel, terrible waves, seizing the opportunity and revelling in my weakness, had swept me pitilessly away, out into that terrible grey ocean.
And that's how it remained, for months. Me trying desperately to swim back for the shore, but my weak and feeble attempts were powerless against the raging, irresistible torrent which forced my body further and further into the depths. I was sinking and crying out for help, but noone, not one soul of this earth could hear me; or reach me. My desperate fingers groped desperately, searching for an inivisible hand which would stretch out to me and pull me from this abyss. The sea, the ocean, the abyss which was my eating disorder...it had, once again, claimed me for its own. And that long, hard, lonely path along the shoreline, the shoreline which had been my recovery...now seemed to be a hundred miles away from me, separated by these endless expanses of cold, stormy, grey waters.
It was just...so tiring, so painful, so hard. And there did not seem to be any end to it. It felt like I had been walking for ages..ages, without getting anywhere. And there were so many sharp, cutting rocks. they were tearing my skin and leaving me bleeding; reminding me, over and over again, just how painful and difficult recovery really is. And that shore was just so, so lonely. at times; for I was the different one, the odd one; the girl who was isolated and cut off from the society into which she had been born. And so, when those cruel waves came, I found myself all too easily surrendering to their cold, coldembrace. Recovery is too painful, too hard. I am not strong enough to do this. I am useless. I am hopeless. I don't...I don't have that strength, to keep on walking upon the sand. I do not have the strength to reccover.
But the past few weeks I finally found the strength to push myself upwards through the cold, icy, raging stormy waters. I have finally found the strength to break free.
And as this newfound strength courses through me, I know I am becoming stronger and stronger; and I can see the beautiful light which burns upon the surface of the water. And though the waves still roar and crash all around me....
It is now my turn to be the stronger one. And I am learning to glide across those waves.
I am nourishing my body every day by eating and enjoying delicious, yummy food that I love. I am bloated and full most of the time, but I am not letting this get in the way of what I know I have to do. I tell myself, every time the anxiety threatens to kick in, that my bloated stomach is my body's own way of protecting the vulnerable organs within, and that when, in time, my body is starting to trust me again, the bloating will not be as bad and I will not constantly be feeling so full all the time. I recognise and acknowledge that my body is trying to protect itself and accept that this is a direct consequence of undereating.
I opened up to my Mam about how much I have been struggling. There are now no secrets between us: everything has been laid out in the open. There is no more concealment, no more pretending, no more secrecy. Mam is helping and supporting me with my meals and snacks and we are going to check my weight every Sunday.
I am giving my recovery everything that I have.
I am getting stronger and stronger every day.
I have found my way back to the shore...
And I know now that not only do I have the strength to overcome those waves that tried to overcome me. But I have the strength to keep walking, too. And so do you. We CAN do this. And one day...one day, we will get there, together. At the end of that shoreline lies a beautiful, sunlit lagoon; a lagoon where peaceful waters flow.
Tuesday, 16 February 2016
The wind catches it cruelly, maliciously twisting that tender little stem. And then, the rain; the terrible, relentless rain. It pours down without mercy, soaking the thin petals, weighing down each fragile bud, causing them to droop downwards out of shame or painful agony; an agony complemented y the glistening, jewel-like beads of moisture upon every petal. Beads that glisten and then fall, trickling down like tears upon each shivering, paper-thin leaf.
And will the crocus fall? Will those beautiful petals shrivel and curl in on themselves; will it resign itself to death and decay and destruction: to be broken, subjected to total annihilation, to be laid low and trampled down into the cold, dark soil.
And there are those who pass by on their way, affording the form upon the ground a fleeting, momentary glance, before shaking their heads dismissively and turning away, expressing their incredulity that that piteous thing could possibly hope to survive this long, terrible winter. A winter which has brought so much pain and agony and death.
But what do they know.
What they fail to realise... is that...
inside the seed of that tiny, minute, seemingly helpless little plant....
Lies the strength and endurance of the towering, exquisitely beautiful, impossibly regal stone mountains which rise from the face of the Earth; crystal-topped pinacales and soaring glassy peaks stretching out towards a glowing skyline the colour of creamy candlelight, spiralling their way upwards to gently finger their way through the floaty, cotton-like wisps of soft lilac clouds. In that seed, in that tiny little flower, resides a beauty that will never, ever fade; for it is as long lasting, as infinitely untouchable, as the endless reaches of time itself. That's what lies at the heart of every one of us... So much hope, so much beauty; so much strength.
If only we could just see this with our own eyes; recognise it as a truth, deep within the soul.
We have to move beyond the doubt and the fear. The uncertainty, of what it is going to be like: that life which, which right now might seem to be so far away - that distant, diamond-right star, twinkling, in all its silvery radiance, so far out of our reach in the endless, blue-black velvet of the night sky. But, in fact, that life, that beautiful star...is waiting for us, waiting for us to find that strength deep hidden deep within that pulsating, vibrant seed deep inside us. Waiting for us to grow and blossom...reach out to that beautiful light. We have to let go of the uncertainty and the fear. The belief that we cannot do it.
Because deep inside us lies the greatest and most palpable strength.
The strength to reach forwards now and say, that now is the time to be strong.
That now is the time to say Yes... Yes. Yes, I CAN.
Monday, 8 February 2016
We wander far across the exposed expanses of windswept heathland; a landscape fully exposed to the wrath of that bone-chilling, icily cold wintry wind which hurtles itself down from the distant slopes of the purpley-tinged mountains standing solemnly on guard to the northerly horizon. And then finally, we come to the river. In carefree delight, Benny launches himself into the ice cold water, his little pink tongue lolling, the strands of curly hair at his chest and stomach becoming sodden with moisture as he waded deeper and deeper into the rushing, swirling waters.
Watching him, I could not help but smile, even though my eyes were filled with unshed tears, because seeing him there, contently splashing about without a single care in the world, made me realise how much I loved him; how precious he was to me.And how easy it would be for me to lose him forever: one single little slip, and he could be borne away, away from me by the hostile, inhumanely cruel current; a current which would take no heed of my desperate, agonised shouts to bring him back.
That single one fleeting moment made me cry out in alarm, gripped as I was by a sudden and unstoppable surge of terrified anxiety. I sprang to the riverbank and shouted his name. He turned and swam back towards the shore, soft brown eyes gazing into my own. As he emerged from the water, I enveloped him in my arms and held him tightly to my chest, oblivious to the muddy, cold water that seeped into my clothes from his sodden fur.
Of course, my fear then was more or less illogical. It was very, very unlikely that Benny, being the strong swimmer that he was, was in any kind of danger. But the moment stuck with me, when we finally got home and I was sitting by the fire with my laptop, gathering my thoughts together for a little blog post in which I could inscribe into words the realisation of truth that struck me today.
Because here now is the truth, the real, ice cold, undeniable and inevitable truth.
Life is precious and in a way, so, so fragile. It could so easily be taken away. And once we have lost it, let it slip through our fingers, let it go, just that once...well then, there is no going back. The rushing tide which took it away, will not simply bring it back to us when we realise our fatal mistake.
And yes, it would be so, so easy, for me, to just let life slip away from me, slip through my fingers like tiny grains of sand, grains which I will never be able to pick up again, grains which I will never again be able to retrieve.
I have wasted nearly half of my life, imprisoned and enslaved by ed.
Is it not time that I, that we, break ourselves free...
And not let ED steal away, one single piece more of this precious, transitory thing that we call life.
Thursday, 4 February 2016
Sleeves rolled up to my elbows, my hair pulled back from my face in apoor resemblance of a bun at the back of my head, I was in the process of making a batch of oat and raisin cookies for the currently empty biscuit tin, methodically weighing out butter and sugar and flour, stepping lightly from one cupboard to the next as I laid out the required utensils and ingredients. On a chair in the cornoer of the room sat my laptop, song after song on my Spotify playlist blaring out from speakers turned up to their highest volume. My mind, however, wasn't really focused on what my hands were doing. Rather, I was a hundred million miles away: in another world, a world which no other person except me would ever be able to comprehend, let alone step into; a world which where two wills are locked together in what appears to be a never-ending battle.
It's the world, of course - that space, within the deepest and darkest corner of my mind - where ensues the ferocious between me, of course, and ED.
It's 12 midday now...
And if I were to stick to the meal plan...this is the time, when I would have my morning snack...
But you can't, that Voice hissed. I mean...you've never done this before. It's impossible!! You will be having a snack later on I am sure. You simply CANT have one in the morning as well!!
I can, I cried, desperate. But my resolve was weakening. The butter and sugar in my mixing bowl were fully creamed together, now, but I still continued to beat with a furious, desperate vigour, my knuckles white upon the handle of the spoon. I can't...do...it....
Let it go.
Elsa's Voice, cutting in across my own. Let it go.
Can't hold it back, anymore...
Let it go, let it go...
Let the storm rage on.
The cold never bothered me anyway...
I lifted my own voice to join in with Elsa's own. It didn't matter that my voice was no where near as strong or as beautiful as that of the Disney Snow Princess; neither, did it matter, that my face was smudged with flour dust and I was currently wearing probably the oldest and most tattered looking top that I had in my possession. For I suddenly felt like a newly fledged seabird, one which has been perched upon the edge of the cliffface for so, so long, so afraid to take that one single step forward:That one single, tiny, but inescapably crucial, definitive step forward. A step that constitutes the ultimate leap of faith; for now, the time has finally come, for the seabird to test his wings.
To be overcome by the rush of the air and the roar of the waves as they crash upon the jagged rocks below: to be numbed and paralysed by the fear, a fear born out of the strangeness and unknown of that moment. And that fear overcomes him, and he plummets down, down towards those pitiless, cruel, cold, dark rocks.
Or to spread out those beautiful, strong wings...and to fly and to soar, to ride upon the winds and glide above the waves, beautiful and strong and finally, finally free.
I can be free...I can let it go.
Ed can rage and threaten. This storm is my head may rage on.
But I can be stronger and face the storm.
I can let Ed go. I can...be free.
And I DID have my morning snack. The one thing, which I have never, ever managed to have, since I went off track back in September. Morning snacks were "banned", by ED. Even since when I started working on the relapse, and started having hot choc in the mornings again...having something to eat with it, as my meal plan dictated I should have, was a big no-no, of course.
And that day, I achieved what seemed so scary and impossible: I followed my meal plan fully, no slip-ups or exceptions. The hardest part was over: I know now that, having done it once, I will bbe able to do it again.
I'm learning to spread my wings...
I'm finally learning to fly.
And the fears that once controlled me...can't get to me at all.
It's time to see what I can do...
To test the limits and reak through.
No right or wrong, no rules for me...I breathe...
Let it go... <3 xxx
Monday, 1 February 2016
I don't want to feel like that anymore...
so hollow, so empty, so lifeless and broken deep inside.
Didn't I want this year to be my year. Didn't I want to come alive again, like the vibrant, blossoming, bountiful buds of spring?
But the new spring did not only bring of course, spell upon spell of pure, unbroken, immaculately golden sunshine; days of vitality and growth, spans of fertility, renewal, life. Instead, that spring brought to me rain, and with that rain, the terrible, uncontrollable, wrathful storms. Thick, grey, inter-penetrable clusters of heavy dark clouds crowding in on one another, blocking out the light, casting my world into darkness.
The tender little snowdrops, became soaked and dripping with icy rain.
It's all they could do...that I could do...to barely keep themselves upright, to not be ruthlessly torn from the soil.
I know I have been absent from my blog a little while since I wrote my last post. There are a few reasons for this, all of which I will reflect upon a little more over the next few days. But, firstly...the past week I have felt so disconnected from everything. And recovery is, as always, proving just so, so hard.
And so, yet another week passed me by; another week in which I tried so, so hard to get fully back onto my meal plan, to achieve all of my goals, to give recovery my 100 % ; to never, not once, give in to the cruel, heartless, whispered dictations, of ED.
But...of course, I did not fully, completely, succeed. For every ED victory that I won, there was, eventually, yet another loss.
But if I don't continue to fight...
Then I know I will remain entrapped, within this dark and lonely winter, forever.
So cold, so bitter, so desolate. So deprived of light, and warmth, and life.
If I choose not to recover, I am just going to spend the rest of my life in and out of counselling sessions, sitting in doctor's waiting rooms...I could end up back in hospital, for a second, third, fourth time. Countless times. Perhaps for not as long as I was in there before. Or. Maybe even longer than I was, there before. Weeks, months, half a year. A whole year. And is that the way I want to live my life? Always...a patient? The "sick" girl? The girl who could not, would not, and did not recover??
I just need to realise that...I can recover. That I will, if I just allow myself to break away completely from ED.
That I have evry reason to recover, and that I have to fight for it, with every single ounce of strength that I have left in this tired, broken body. Because, as I wrote before...I have two choices, now. Black and white, life and death. Recovery, or eternal imprisonment. For as I well know, a life with an eating disorder is not truly a life at all; and the past few years it feels as if I have slowly been dying inside. torn and bleeding, with the pain, a pain borne out of the fear and the hatred and the guilt.
I need to come alive again...
I need to open up those buds of the New Spring. Let them blossom, let them grow.
I just want to say this, again..thank you, thank you, thank you, for staying with me. My days are just so dark at the moment, but your help and support is like a little candle of light in the darkness. And for that, and for everything else, thank you so, so much, with all my heart. <3 xxx