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, 8 March 2016

The one, and only one, that I will ever, ever have...

This morning after breakfast saw me sitting at the table in front of my laptop screen once again, gloomily pushing my memory stick into the side of the computer with not the slightest degree of enthusiasm. The reason for that being, this particular memory stick was the one upon which I have saved my two 1500-2000 word essays due in roughly a week's time. Writing essays like this, or anything really to do with my college course, is something which, for me, more likeable to being tortured with hot pincers than having to compile a supposedly engaging and stimulating piece of writing; something which my fellow students in English would probably have no major difficulty in producing, at all. But that's not the case for me, of course. Because I am the girl who is different. I am the girl who is different from everybody else.

I scanned the various sentences and paragraphs upon the pages before me, and felt tears of frustration prickle my eyes. It' doesn't make any sense. There is absolutely no chance that it is ever going to get past the pass mark. 

I had been sitting there for almost fifteen minutes now, and I had not written a single thing. My hands slowly began to tighten into fists; and a steady bludgeoning began to reverberate through my skull, resonating along every artery and every vein. My whole body became taut with tension, a tightly wrapped coil which has been stretched to its absolute limit. And then...then, there was the Voice.

I desperately tried to calm myself, forcing myself to breathe deeply and slowly through my nose, straightening my spine in my chair; pushing back my hair from my face in an attempt to cool down my flushed, hot cheeks. It was a mammoth effort. Like trying to push an elephant up a mountain; like scrabbling, in futile desperation, for the coin that has slipped from your fingers to tinkle away down the dark, greasy plughole. That's how it feels like for me, sitting there, trying to write my third year English essays. The words, the sentences, the arguments that I want to make, come floating towards me like wispy, paper-thin clouds, so close I could almost reach out and grasp them; but then, they always, always slip away. Leaving me fumbling around in the emptiness, groping desperately from the words that are there, so close to me, but always, always just out of my reach. 

And this is what I know is proving to be such a massive, enormous, soul-destroying struggle for me. Trying, struggling so desperately to get through my college degree, pushing and pushing relentlessly until my head feels like it is going to split open and my whole body cries out with the fatigue and the pain of knowing that it is not, and never will be, ever enough. This is my second attempt at third year English Studies at Trinity, and I know all too well, that this course was not and never will be made for me. And it is a struggle. Every single day. There is no escape from the shame, the razor-sharp pain of regret which cuts into you like a knife, embedding itself into your very soul, like a thorn which has wedged itself into your foot. knowing that I chose to take the wrong path, the wrong course. It presses down on me every day, making me feel stupid and useless and selfish, naive and pathetic and deplorable.  with the workload I receive every week, and never, ever get done. And then there are the essays...

Unfortunately for me, the return to college last September was one of the most significant factors in triggering my relapse. I have spoken before about how, in going back, it suddenly hit me hard just how far I really was from real recovery; and how deeply and hopelessly entrenched I still was, in my eating disorder. I had tried to kid myself into thinking that I was ready to go back to studying at a third level institution again; that things would be better, this time. And the fear of the hospitalisation would keep me safe from Ed. But I was wrong. so very, very wrong.

It wasn;t long before I found myself in an all too familiar situation. Crying my eyes over a blank laptop screen, as I fumbled desperately through the empty recesses of my brain; clawing for the right words, the right sentences, hating myself with all of my heart and soul, branding myself as useless, an ineptitude, the dumbest and most stupid person on earth, for not being able to compose what my fellow English students, no doubt, would have produced as effortlessly and as easily as water passes under a bridge. but I was wholly incapable of that. The Voice in my head seemed to have taken over me: it had became so loud, so persistent, so deafening. There was no escape from its cruel dictations; no hiding from the malignity of its penetrating gaze. It knew all my weak spots and vulnerabilities; and took great pleasure in exploiting them. And before I knew it, the restriction had began in earnest again. A skipped lunch or a conveniently forgotten breakfast; a polite shake of the head on being offered a free biscuit by my lecturer who always had them in her classroom. Ed, as it had once before, had become my coping mechanism.

What choice do I have? I would silently weep into my pillow at night when everyone else was asleep; when there was no chance that the stifled sounds of my sobbing could be heard by any living soul. I clutched the lifeless forms of Ducky and Peter Penguin to my shuddering body, sprinkling their soft fur with the moisture of my tears. There's...there's no way out of this. If I choose not to eat the Voice is satisfied; the storm in my head is silenced. But deep inside it's like my heart is breaking; the guilt is tearing me apart; and then, there is the But then, if I choose to eat. My head...exploding. The storm raging...I can't focus, I can't do anything. There's no way on this earth I could write a 5000 word essay, like this...can't...escape...the storm in my head...

But that all changed that day two weeks ago now, when I promised Mam that I would never let her down again; that, from that day onwards, there would be no more lies, no more deceit, no more secrecy. That I would give everything to my recovery; and that, no matter how . But before I made that promise, I had grasped her strong brown hand and had whispered to her that I couldn't do it. Im going to fail college, Mam. I cant recover and study at the same time. I cant let you down mam..But I cant waste anymore of your money.

I felt so torn then, at that moment. so lost, so broken, so afraid.

but, like she had done so many, many times before, ever since I was a little girl, Mam was there for me to hold my hand in her strong, warm one. And to gently and firmly turn me onto the right path. So I knew, exactly then, what it was I had to do, and where I had to go.

The road to recovery...
One day, we will make it there, together. <3 xxx

But I guess, since that day, I now realise what is truly important, in this life.
recovery should be, for each and every single one of us, something which should be made our top priority. For, think about it this way...

There will always be another chance in life, to go back to college or take up that degree.
There will always be another job. Another degree, another place at university.

But we only have one body.


  1. Well done Emmy! I am so glad that you are finally putting your health, happiness and recovery first. At the end of the day.... getting a degree really means nothing compared to your recovery. I am so proud of you Emmy and want you to know that I am here for you always. Sending all my love to you gorgeous girl, from Karly xxxx

    1. aww hun you are such a star, thank you so, so much hun for your support it really means so much <3 I really appreciate your words dear, this was a very hard post for me to write as there is still a big part of me which tells me I shouldn't even contemplate putting myself first. But I know that is something I need to keep on fighting every day. And you are right dear. Recovery and happiness is the most important thing of all. love and hugs to you Karly i really hope you are well dear <3 xxx

  2. Emily, I think anyone who's read this post will find it hard to believe that you could possibly struggle with writing! You describe your emotions so vividly and the passion in your words make this such a gripping read.

    I'm sorry to hear you've been struggling but it certainly sounds like you managed to get life back under your control. I've felt that same turmoil where restriction, my default coping mechanism, suddenly means giving up so much more and there's this emotional tug-of-war where it feels there's no way out.

    "There will always be another job. Another degree, another place at university." rings so true with me. Nothing is more important than your health. When you've got that, anything is possible. :-) x

    1. Thanks so much Dan for your kind words! Oh believe me though Dan - I mean every word. Doing academic essays is , for me, a MASSIVE's totaly different to writing for my blog. It is just awful as it's something I feel that I can't really speak about to those in the university. "I cannot write my essays as I am unable to concentrate/focus" - in my head, it doesnt sound like a valid excuse..
      you are so right though Dan, I agree with you 100 % ! Stay strong Dan, I really hope you are doing ok! Thank you so so much for your comment :)

  3. I hit rock bottom mentally and I had to realise that my only goal is recovery. You helped me to realise that, it doesn't make it easier but the struggles are easier to bear if I know that there are people who are there for me. Thanks for being there, listening and helping to do this challenge.
    Kindest Maria

    1. Hi Maria, I've seen your name come up a few times. Am I correct in assuming you've had ED problems for a while. Don't give up! People like Emily are inspiring. Hold onto that. I'm coming up to 36 years of being anorexic. Its horrible living in torment. I so understand and my heart cries for others who can't see their beauty. Maria I dont know you but from what I see I can yell you've a beautiful spirit and I wish you blessing, health and recovery. Afyer all these years ive just made a huge breakthrough. First time ever I feel I'm getting better. With the help of my pychiatrist who ive know for 30 yeats. Hes nevet given up on me. Its possible Maria and I send you love and my very best

    2. Dear sonya,
      Your words made my day. Thank you so so much, I am suffering from anorexia for 20 years, I am fighting as hard as I can, your words were healing, because the voice in my head is very strong today. If you like, you can mail me,
      Kindest Maria

    3. Dear Maria and Sonya, thank you so so much for your words; it really means so much. together we are stronger and we will help and support eachother through these tough times. I am so proud of you for being so brave and strong. I am so glad that my writing is of some benefit to you and I really hope that I can help you in every single way I can along this long and difficult road. Never forget that no matter how long you have been sick, it is never, ever too late to choose recovery..This is a reminder to myself too. Every day spent with anorexia is another day lost; we must fight as hard as we can now, fight for everything taken away from us by the Voice; and fight for everything we love that ED might still take away, if we were to continue to give in to it. We must not let that happen; I believe in you, please stay strong with me <3
      All my love to you both, emmy <3 xxx