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.:)

Thursday, 23 June 2016

The First Step...

Beginnings. Beginnings are often tricky, in a way. Sometimes, they can even be difficult, hard, obscure. Take for example me yesterday evening, when I initially set out writing this post. I had sat there, with my laptop upon my knee upon my little cosy chair in the sunlit conservatory, staring contemplatively at the screen in front of me for ages, my fingers resting motionlessly upon the laptop keys. It was so hard to know exactly what to write. There were so many words, so many things I wanted to say. So many thoughts and concepts and images, twirling and spinning like swallows upon the wing, round and round in endless circles in my head.

But beginnings are often the most crucial part of any task or goal that you may set yourself. It remains to be said that they are often the hardest part of all. Whether that be a difficult exam, the start of a marathon, a climb up a mountain or the commencement of a hospital stay. Because beginnings can be overwhelming, and scary. It is at the beginning when those voices begin to creep in, whispering to you that you cannot do it.

And it's the same with recovery, of course. The first, crucial step, is always, always the hardest.

But you must, and can, make that crucial first step.

How to do it? How can you do it, even? How can one take that terrifying first step, when it feels as if you are literally stepping off a tall, rearing cliff, into nothing but emptiness, into never-ending infinity?

I wish I could somehow reach out to you, make this first step just that one bit easier. Because the truth is the first step is painful and often very hard. But you need to do it, for there is only one choice. To remain motionless where you are, entrapped in this gulf of pain and fear and misery, or to take that terrifying step forward, forward into what seems like endless nothingness, but within that nothingness there is a beautiful glowing light which burns and sparkles like rising golden sun of the new dawn...

I suppose, in my recovery journey, I made a number of crucial first steps. That day way back in 2014 , when I finally acknowledged the excruciating truth that I was suffering from an eating disorder. Up till then, I had been in denial: but that all ended, on that day.

And my terror threatened to suffocate me, because my eating disorder had become my life and restriction, my sole purpose. The prison of ed had encompassed my world entirely. But despite all that..I took that first step. I told my mam, I told my loved ones, I reached out to them, I poured forth the secrets of my heart. And then...I started to eat, again. And then when the relapses came and the hospital admission, I knew that I had fallen, fallen back into ed's dearthly embrace once more. But every single time, I forced myself to get back up to my feet. And then though my body faltered out of the fear and my heart felt like it would cease to beat for pure terror ...yet I still took that step, forward, once again.

There is hope, there is hope, there is so, so much hope, for you. You just have to believe it, believe it with every fragment of your heart and soul. And never give up, and never let the fear paralyse you; to never let it stop you from taking that first fundamental step. <3 xxxx

If I could do it, so can you...

I thought I would break down the First Step into a number of different steps; all of which helped me when I was at that place at the beginning of that long and seemingly endless road.

Taking the plunge
Hope and self-belief
Eating disorder therapy

Facing the fear
Ignoring and defying the Voice
Reaching out for support.
Staying strong

Self monitoring
Talking to others
Educating oneself
Positive affirmations

Taking the plunge: quite possibly the hardest but most important part of the First Step. By taking the plunge, I essentially mean diving straight into recovery - the unknown, the pain, the discomfort of recovery. It means immediately putting aside your fears and excuses, It means directly confronting the eating disorder head on.
Hope and self-belief .A vital part of taking the first step. Stepping into recovery the under the conviction that your case is an entirely hopeless one is bound to end in failure from the beginning. You need to believe in yourself; believe, that you can and will get through this.For where there is belief there is always hope; where this is hope, there is a fire that will never burn out.
Eating disorder therapy:. I think it is important in recovery to get some kind of psychiatric help. And if not at the first stage, at the latter stages; when the mind is in a better state to be able to combat and fight the eating disorder thoughts.

Facing the fear. As in, doing exactly what you are most afraid of; whether that be eating a fear food, or allowing your body to rest, increasing your food intake or getting to your body's healthy set point. You have to directly face those fears.  The only way to destroy those fears is to confront them head on.
Ignoring and defying the Voice. Which involves, inevitably, doing the opposite of what it says. Every time you succeed in doing so, you are consequently rendering the eating disorder that one bit weaker.
Reaching out for support. You should never feel like you are alone in this battle. Reaching out to your loved ones and closest friends One should never underestimate the power of unity, love, and friendship.
Staying strong..and refusing to give up. You have to be aware that there will be hard times ahead..but be able to face those hard times and to refuse to let them drag you down.
Time. Dont take the first step, assuming that the journey which you are about to embark on will be over in a couple of weeks, or months. The road to recovery is long and cannot be rushed in any way. Give yourself time to recover and don't expect impossible things of yourself.

Self monitoring. It doesnt matter what your situation may be; self monitoring is important, as it is you and you alone who has the ultimate control of your recovery. I would really recommend keepingwritten records of everything - food intake per day, progress made, areas you are struggling in, etc. Set yourself goals and share them with your loved ones to pressurise you into keeping them. It can be daunting but it so important!!
Talking to others.again, this one was essential for me. It involved opening up to my loved ones an telling them of each and leaving not one ED habit unconcealed.
Educating oneself. Whether that be through books, websites, blogs, or eating disorder group meetings. I think ed awareness is crucially important to both the sufferer andhis/her carers and supports. Eds ar complex mental illnesses and are very difficult to comprehend. So it is important that everyone is made aware of how they affect the sufferer to prevent tension and misunderstanding. Also I think it is very important to educate onself upon the potential health effects and consequences involved.
Positive affirmations. Just repeated to yourself, aloud or in your head, particularly when the anxiety hits. Having lots of positive quotes stuck in handy places like laptop screen, on your mirror etc..I always found those particularly helpful.

My favourite song at the moment has to be Birdy's Wild Horses..I love this song so much and I find it just so spine-tingingly beautiful. And meaningful, too, particularly in regard to recovery.

I will survive and be the one who's stronger.
I will not beg you to stay.
I will move on and you should know I mean it
Wild horses run in me... <3 xxx

I will survive this, Ed.
For it is I who am the one who is stronger.
I will not beg you to stay...for it is now time for me to move on.
Step by little step takes me further, further away from all the pain that you caused me.
Further away from you...
I have taken the first step.


  1. So incredibely proud of you gorgeous girl. Im also so glad your blogging again too, I really missed your beautifully written posts. Sending all my love from Australia.
    Karly xxxxx

    1. Awwwww Karly you are just the sweetest person I know thank you ever so much hun :* I love getting your comments and just hearing from you always is enough to brighten my day instantly hun :* i am still working on your email hun (as always it is very long!!! ;) ) so i will be in touch real soon dear so keep an eye on your inbox ;) all my love to you hun love emmy xxxxxxxx

  2. It makes me so happy to read your positivity. You WILL survive this terrible ED. YOU are stronger than it. Take control. Take back the power. Keep taking one little step after another. Believe in yourself. Strive for your future. The world is your oyster! Onwards and upwards you go! xxxxxxxxx

    1. Awww my dear thank you so so much!! That means so much hun and you really enforce my positivity too by cheering me on, thank you hun :* love you loads! Sending you hugs hun <3 xxxxx

    2. I'm always here, alongside you, cheering you on! xxxxxx