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.:)

Sunday, 31 July 2016


Sunday. Sunday used to be...different, for me; then the other days of the week. I would wake, every Sunday over the past few months, with a feeling of tension; tautening every muscle of my body. Because Sunday was Weighing Day. Because Sunday was the day I would have to see, and know, my weight.

At the beginning of my fight back against the relapse, me and mam would get out the scales every Sunday afternoon: mam had suggested it, I had agreed to it; knowing, in my heart, this was the only way mam and dad would be able to ensure that I would not slip back on myself; the only way that I, too, would know for a certainty that I was actually gaining weight. And of course, I... hated it. I hated stepping on to that detested square object of bright blue metal, with its shiny surface and silvery buttons and the harsh, glaring numbers upon the screen at its very top. Numbers, which would jump out at me; as loud and as blatant as if they were painted in neon yellow. They were cruel: so, so heartlessly, pitilessly cruel. And the numbers would stick in my head for days after, taunting me, teasing me. You are gaining weight, the cruel voice sneered. You are going to

And thus, that was what I would endure, every Sunday evening. The fear, and the apprehension. And then, afterwards, the backlash of insults, hurled against me by ED.

And that's how it felt, at the beginning.

But now...

But now, things are different. I have changed.

the tables have been turned; turned by me.

And I never thought I would hear myself saying this, but...I am beginning to learn to not give a damn what the number on the scales is. I know what Mam's target is; I know that I am more or less at that, now. I'll find out today what the exact figure is. And that number....that number no longer terrifies me. It daunts me, a little - but no way as near as much as before. I no longer recoil with horror from that figure. I am beginning to learn, and recognise, that weight for what it really is. A number, and nothing more: save representing a rough idea of the weight at which my body is healthy, and able to function at its best.

To be able to accept my body and overcome the fear of being that weight which is my healthy set point...

This represented, at one time, an enormous, seemingly impossible, unachievable challenge, for me.

But I know I have overcome so many difficult challenges, before now. I gained weight by myself. I got myself back onto my meal plan, following months and months of restriction and starvation once again. I did it. It was me who had the strength. And now I know I have to draw on that strength again. Because I know that it is just a number. A number, nothing more. And it does not mean that I am ugly, or fat, or lazy. This number means nothing to my identity, to the person who is Emmy.

I am no longer afraid, of being at that number. The fear, I have destroyed...

All I need to do now is to find... the acceptance.

To learn to accept, like the little caterpillar must accept these strange new wings upon its back when it emerges from the cocoon, after the long, hard winter, a winter which it thought it would not survive. Am I ugly? It wonders helplessly. No, call the other butterflies, soaring in the sky. These wings are a gift. Your new body is a gift. It will lift you, take you high into the sky. You just need to trust those wings and let them grow and become stronger. You have to learn to accept them, accept the newness, the strangeness, the change.

And then the little caterpillar spreads its wings and flies, high into the sky, high towards the golden, glowing sun.

We can accept this, too. Because a healthy, strong body is one of the most amazing things that God can ever give to us.

One thing I have learnt in this post-relapse recovery, is this. You can and will conquer your greatest ever fears. You can, and will, achieve what you never thought was possible. For me, this meant gaining weight without a hospital admission, getting back onto my meal plan, and learning to accept my body at a higher, healthier weight. And I know that I still have alot to work on, but I know, that I am getting there, slowly but surely. And I hope, that by sharing my story with my readers today, that you will realise that you can do this, too. yes, you. You can overcome an eating disorder; you can and will reach the top of the mountain which is recovery. You can and will find acceptance.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Should I surrender myself to solitude...for at least then I would not get hurt? :'(

I check my phone this morning for the twentieth, thirtieth, fortieth time. The screen is blank; the little envelope sign which tells me I have a message is glaringly, cuttingly absent. So I sit down with my laptop instead, in the hope that I might have a few facebook messages to read. But there is nothing. Nothing, except the pain, and the emptiness. No one to see or meet up with, noone to talk to. I am lost and alone on my little lonely ship, lost and alone on this desolate grey ocean.

It hurts me. It hurts me as much as a knife would slicing across my heart. I scrutinize the messages and search for something in them which might have somehow offended or upset. There is nothing; nothing that I can see; but this does not by any means soothe the anxiety crashing through my head. Then I consider as to whether it is the frequency or persistence of my messages which have somehow annoyed or irritated. I am so angry with myself that I want to pound my head with my own hands. I am so, so distraught that I wish I could just throw away the laptop and the phone and disappear from the world that I know, forever. But where would I go? Would anyone actually notice if I just disappeared? Probably not; a cruel voice taunts at the back of my head. tears crack my eyes and spill in rivulets down my face.

The loneliness, I find, is as hard and as difficult as recovery. I am stronger now then I ever was, stronger than ever against ED. But I suppose I foolishly allowed myself to entertain the notion that, as I made progress with my recovery and the battle against the Voice, that my life would change, too, for the better; that things would be drastically and wonderfully different and changed. but this has not been the case. I am still as lonely and as isolated as I was before. I write countless of messages in the hope that today, tomorrow, the next day, I will get to see those who I love with every piece of my heart. But I guess people are busy and that they have their own friends. Their lives have moved on: but for me, everything remains the same.

I feel such oddity. I often wonder, how many texts and messages an average twenty two year old girl receives in a day. dozens upon dozens? A constant deluge of texts and messages and snapchats? this is not the case for me: My phone usually sits, dejected and forgotten about, in my room every day. I check facebook all the time, hoping, praying, pleading that there will be something from someone I wrote to. there is rarely ever anything. The wound is deepening in my heart.

And so today I wondered...maybe I just need, to stop. To stop being the one trying to arrange things, to stop being the one who always texts first. Because no answers just means more pain and despair for me. And I do not want to infect others with my depression; I would rather die then hurt their feelings, or impinge negatively upon them in the slightest or most minor of ways.

Should I surrender myself to solitude....

Is this the only way I can keep myself, relatively safe? Safe from the pain and the loneliness and the knowing; the knowing that people's lives have moved on, without me?

So I bury my head in my Morokia notes, and walk out alone along the boglands with Benny. He stops to snuffle the ground and I pause to place a kiss upon his head. I take comfort in the softness of his fur. For animals, at least, are not like humans: they, unlike people, remain unchanged.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Finding my little lost gemstones...:) xxx

And so I sit and look out over my sunlit garden, letting the warmth of that evening sun dance upon the contours of my face. A light summer breeze gently tickles my hair, carrying the heady scents of the brightly coloured flowers and the onion-like fragrance of the chives growing on the patio beside me. It is an evening which is just, so perfect: and there is no place on earth now where I would rather be.

At my feet lay several dog-eared notebooks: each one with a cover strikingly different from the other. One is red with white polka dots; the front containing a small, mysterious picture of what appears to bbe a short little man stirring something in a big steaming cauldron. The mysteriousness of the picture is perfectly complemented by the words printed beneath it. The Magic starts here. A notebook which was just made to be one in which I make my scratchy, barely legible notes on Morokia.

Also amongst this unkempt pile of books and paperwork is a number of thick cookbooks; their pages and covers worn and splotched with constant usage and accidental spillages. And then there is the little notebook with the title Lovely Thoughts written on it: one which I designate my little to-do-lists for each day, as well as recovery thoughts and reflections, and also possible dates upon which I will see my friends.

All these things that I love to do: whether that be baking, or cycling, or writing fragments of Morokia. Walking the mountains, and going out for the day with a friend. All of these things, I very nearly lost: for they were buried , buried by the cruel spades and hands of Ed. But now I am beginning to find them again. Now I am able to catch that fleeting glimpse; a glimpse of what life without an eating disorder is really, really like.

Because this is what recovery should be partially about, for you, and for me. To find those little lost gemstones. To reclaim the things that we loved and held dear, but which, in relinquishing to Ed, we allowed to be simply carried away; or buried deep in the cold, unyielding ground. But nothing is ever truly lost without hope. You can, and will, reclaim what is rightfully yours. And if you refuse to give up and continue to fight on with your held high and your heart open and brave...then you will find that special littleplace, again. The peak of the mountain; the valley with the beautiful meadow. The beauty of true recovery is indescribable, valuable, precious. The fake, corrupted ideas of beauty implanted by your eating disorder are nothing in comparison: They, in their totality, must be completely and utterly destroyed.

The one gemstone that for me that still remains to be found is, I suppose, the social life which I once had. well no; if I was very honest, I dont know if I ever had a proper, true social life. Ed has been with me since the very first day I started at secondary school, meaning that when other girls my age would be going to parties and attending teenage discos, I would have been sitting alone at home, head buried in a textbook as I tried to memorise page upon page of senseless information. I had glimpses of what life could be like; especially, after my Leaving Cert. My two close friends and I went out that summer, and danced like there truly was no tomorrow. but then my illness worsened; my friends, began to move on; to different cities and different lives.

Will I ever find that gemstone again? I hope so. I hope so with all my heart. It will quite possibly be the hardest of my stones to find; as it requires bravery and maturity in me; as well as, I suppose, a willingness to put myself out there; to conquer the fear and the shyness and the self-hate.

But for now, I keep fighting, and searching. The sky is paling; the sun slips down below the dusky forms of the mountains. But I do not fear, because soon, the stars will come out. Twinkling and shining like pure, sparkling diamonds; just like the hope that now shines forth in my heart. <3 xxx

Thursday, 7 July 2016

From the Web of Deceit, flew that

Looking back on the past 10 years of my life, I recognise fully the extent to which I was entrapped within a stealthily spun web.

A web made of lies and manipulation and deceit. A web in which I had got myself so hopelessly enmeshed; a web from which there appeared to be no escape.

And within that web, a cruel little voice spoke to me. A voice which I still hear even now; a voice as soft and as cruelly ensnaring as the pale silk of a spider.

You see the thing is, Em. When you reach this healthy weight that Mam has set as your target..well, you are going to have to drastically reduce your intake again. Otherwise, you are just going to be huge.

No more toast and no more banana and custards. No more dipping into the peanut butter jar with a spoon. No more snacks and no more treats and eating six times a day. You might even need to start thinking about dieting...

Lies, lies, and yet, more lies.

Now I suppose it is a measure of how stronger I have become over the past few months; that I recognise these lies for what they are. Pure. Bull. shit. Since when did ED tell me anything that wasn't untrue? And even now, when I am near enough weight restored. Of course, this doesn't mean he is prepared to swallow his ceaseless fabrications.

He is nothing but a cruel, sly, and utterly merciless manipulator....

And for too long, have I believed, and obeyed, his lies.

So here is my plan. To keep sticking to my meal plan every day until I reach my target weight. And then, what will happen next? Will I immediately restrict my intake, just as Ed tells me to do?

But I was deceived before and I will notbe deceived again. For this girl has become wiser, and stronger. I am no longer the vulnerable, innocent little fly, which has been drawn, weak and defenseless, into the spider's web. No. Now I am a butterfly, a butterfly which is ready to spread its wings and fly. My wings are no longer clipped: this time, I will fly free.

And so when I reach my target weight...I aim to eat more or less the same as what I have been eating for the past few months.

Of course, I plan to make things alot less rigid - it's true to say I have been quite strict with adhering to my eating plan over the past few weeks and months -  but in terms of snacks and meals, I am going to keep things roughly the same. Because I like eating well, and regularly. And anyway, I know deep down, that just because this target weight is healthy, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is the weight at which is most healthy for my body. So I am going to be steadfast, and fight on. I'm hoping that in time I will know what is right and healthy for me. I think one of the best indicators I will have is my periods, which, at present, are still conspicuously absent.

Because I want to be free and to be healthy; to be strong. I want to be able to chase Benny across emerald green fields of soft summer grasses; leap wildly across the streams and brooks of the hills with their fringes of ox-eye daisies and lustrous clusters of marigolds. I want to be able to stand at the top of the great mountains and gaze upon the view stretching out in front of me. I want to be able to dance and travel and to learn and speak and feel. I want to be able to go out there, to see the world in all its sublimity, to feel its pulsating, ceaseless beat. To experience, to live, to love. To die knowing that I lived a life that I loved, and that behind me I left a legacy, a legacy that proved to others like me that there is always, always hope. xxxxx

Friday, 1 July 2016

The long and lonely mountain...

9 am, Thursday morning. My eyes skim over the two paragraphs of Morokia that I have just written; an excerpt which describes the feelings of my heroine Rachel as she watches her brother depart from Yuarentan Castle for one of his many sea voyages. At first, the feeling that tingles across my consciousness is one of real, pure pleasure. It is Morokia, my story, and bit by little bit it is getting written.

But then gradually, this feeling subsides, to be replaced by something quite different. My smile fades as I reread the paragraph again, my enthusiasm draining away like water leaking from a cracked glass. It reminds me of something; something, which is hurting. Twisting deep inside me like a dagger within my heart, embedding itself deeper and deeper.

For this paragraph reminds me...reminds me, of how alone, I really feel. And that transitory feeling of pleasure - stemming for my passion for Morokia, the story of that world and its characters which I myself created - also serves to remind me of how detached and separated I am from the real, human world. I am not a princess in a fairy tale. I am not in the same place as Rachel and Narcissus and Begonia, with their beautiful dresses and spirits of fire. They are brave and beautiful and noble; fighting for their freedom; their homes; for those that they love. I am not, and never will be, part of that world. A massive part of me wishes that I am, because this world, the world of the 21st century, feels like one in which I will never truly belong. And it is such a lonely, painful world. So painful it feels like I am lying on a bed of thorns. So lonely and so isolating, I might as well be standing upon the most desolate and barren mountain, a million miles away from any kind of human civilisation.

The hardest thing for me though is...I know, I have brought this on myself. Years and years of being sick with anorexia meant that I detached and distanced myself from my peers, particularly in my years at Trinity,when my eating disorder was as its worst. The old friends who I love are now moving on, moving away from me. And there is nothing I can do as I watch them spread their wings and fly; because I love them , love them with all my heart, and I want them to achieve their dreams, and be free. I cannot want them to think of me now; for why should they? They have their own lives, their own friends; jobs, boyfriends, a social life. They are free and they are happy. My heart feels like it could burst with happiness for them; while at the same time it feels like it could bbreak. For the pain of losing them; of watching them slowly and gradually begin to slip away from me.

If only I could reclaim everything which i have lost; ever since Ed entered my life, and began its never-ending game of all take and no give. Lost, and will never be able to retrieve. For I know, I will never be able to relive those years at trinity..years in which I should have spent socializing and trying out new things; meeting new people, making new friends, and, essentially, finding myself. Because that's how I feel, even though, having achieved so, so much with my recovery, I still feel defined by my eating disorder, because it laid its mark upon my life in ways which I feel will never truly be eradicated. Will I always be the lonely one? The one who is always on her own, cut off from all the others by those vast, fathomless gulfs of isolation? The shy, quiet girl, who can barely speak out of nervousness or anxiety when in the company of strangers; who feels so shy and awkward around boys, that she would purposely look away so they could not look at her in the eye? who spends so much of her time scanning her phone or her Facebook messages, hoping against hope that someone, anyone, has messaged her? Who spends so much of her time alone, burning the little candle of solitude?

I can only hope that things will change, for me. Change, in a way that means my life will change too, and that the sun will break through this suffocating fog of isolation; in which i seem so helplessly, futilely lost. But it seems like I have been waiting for this change for an eternity; waiting, and hoping, for such a long, long time. My road of recovery winds on and on, up and along that steep-sloped, towering mountain. A mountain which I know I must, and will, continue to climb. but upon which, no matter how high I ascend, I have never felt quite so alone.