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.:)

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Look to the Sky...

The cool northerly wind pawed at my exposed cheeks as I climbed out of my neighbour's car, in the middle of a bustling supermarket car park in which shoppers intently searched for spaces like hungry lions hunting for gazelles. Not surprising, really: it was Wednesday, the day before Christmas Eve, and it seemed like the whole population of my small home county had descended upon Portlaoise in order to get all their essentials purchased before the big day itself.

"Thank you so much," I had said to him, and he smiled and assured me that it was no trouble. I had got a lift off him into Portlaoise to start the big food shop for mum. I had an hour to kill before I headed into Tesco as it wasn't until half 4 or so till mam would be able to get out of work.

Usually, whenever we did this of an evening, I would cycle into town and make my own way. But, on being offered a lift from James, it suddenly occurred to me that this was the perfect opportunity to test myself. Because that morning, it had rained heavily, and I had forgone my usual romp with the doggies for a quick five minute potter around the daisy field.

An hour to kill, Em.

Anxiously, I looked to the sky.
It was long past mid afternoon at this stage; and the pale yellow orb of the sun was now beginning to slowly inch its way towards the western horizon. The sky was like an endless expanse of pale blue velvet, interlaced, here and there, with wispy, peach-fringed clouds of lilac-grey and creamy pink.

One more hour of daylight...

I have shopping to do, things to get..

But you haven't done any exercise today. Oh it's going to rain tomorrow! Aren't you going to make the most of this lovely dry afternoon?

But...I said that..

I would..reduce...

But you haven't done anything...the shopping can be done tomorrow, are lazy, you need to move, imagine how anxious you will feel later if you don't do anything now...

And then you will be all moody and won't be able to focus on your college work tomorrow morning..the anxiety, oh, Em, you know full well you won't cope with it...

And so I bowed my head in acquiescence, adjusted the straps of my bag upon my shoulders, and walked.

My three furry friends <3 

Looking back now to that evening, I know that it was wrong.

it was compulsory, it was what ED wanted me to do. I love to walk. Walking with Benny and Daisy upon the heather-covered boglands; trotting alongside them along woodland tracks scattered with pine needles.But here? Upon the concrete streets of Portlaoise; alone, with a heavy handbag slung across one shoulder? No. In this instance, I did not really want to go off power-walking: I wanted to go to Home Store and More and buy some picture frames; before then proceeding to the pound shop to purchase wool and gift bags and Weetaflakes. Did I really want to be wandering the streets of Portlaoise in endless circles for forty-five minutes? No, I did not. But yet, because I had not been able to walk that particular morning, I felt absolutely compelled to do so.

Em, why are you afraid of not exercising..when you have some weight to gain?

But that is the point, isn't it, after all. I am afraid. So, so afraid. I am so scared to gain weight again even; despite all the times when I did so before.

I know that I have to do it.

And so I cast my mind back to that moment when I raised my head to stare up into that beautiful sky; on that cold, pearl-bright December evening, no more than a few days ago.

Up there, birds had been wheeling together on the wing; the jet black crow with his harsh grey beak; a bottle green starling with flecks of silver upon his nape.

So free, up there; in that endless blue infinity; so far removed from all the troubles in this world.

If only I too could grow my own wings and join them. If only I could fly, and soar, and be free. Be free like I have never been for so, so long.

 But I am a human; not a beautiful bird. I have to work with what I have.

 I have lungs and a heart and a head in which a mind is contained. A mind which, I realise now, has the power to set me free from this snare.

I think, for my next post (and I really, really hope that you will do the same too if you are in a similar position as I am ) I will compose my Reasons to Recover list...

Because I truly believe this is such a worthwhile exercise to do; if you find yourself  in this state of ambivalence. When you are teetering on the brink between recovery and relapse, perhaps; or if you have embarked upon the road upon the mountain, only to have fallen down upon the stony ground, overcome with the fear of where this road is going to take you.

You are not alone.

This is me right now and I am afraid too.If there was some way I could make this road easier for us, I would cross the oceans of the world to find it..

But there is one thing that I know I posses: I have my words, my voice.

So perhaps, through reflecting, and writing, and sharing, and exposing, I will help both myself and others to recover...

 I may not have much, but I have my voice..


  1. Thank you for you wunderful post, dear Emily....
    it is " funny" how I really want to tell you what has happened yesterday and two days before...but I am still "looking" for fitting words...until soon, dear, love you from all my heart, Theresa

    1. <3 thank you dear, so much <3 I am so glad you can feel that you can be open with me. You know I am always here for you! All my love <3 xxx

  2. Powerful words, powerful voice.

    I'm on the brink of giving up. It's so hard to keep fighting :'(

    1. <3 Oh Annie..your comment was enough to break my heart. I wish so much that there was something I could write here which I know will really help you.
      I know exactly how you feel as I have honestly lost count of the times in which I too felt like up. They were dark, dark times and looking back now, I wondered how I got through them. But there was always a tiny part of me which held on to hope, in my darkest hours. A tiny, minute little voice whispering that things would be ok and that, despite everything, the storm would end. And it did hun, it did. And it is no different for you too. I know you may not believe me but I promise that it is true.

      In the middle of the storm the whole world appears dark and you might feel as if you are drowning in the pain but please, hun, hold on to that little lifeline of hope. Find that tiny part of you that believes there is hope still and grasp onto it with both hands. It doesn't matter how small it may be.. what matters is that you DON'T give up. Because the storm will pass. It doesn't matter either how many storms may come; just take them on one at a time, reminding yourself constantly that "I am strong, these thoughts that I cannot do this are nothing more than that - they are THOUGHTS, FEARS, not facts". Because I know you can do it hun. You always helped me realise my strength and cheered me on when I felt all hope was lost. Now, I hope so much too that my words will help you to carry on with your head held high.

      I may not be there with you in person but I hope you realise that you are never far from my thoughts and that I am here fighting alongside you every day. Please hang in there dear. Push away that voice saying "I can't go on, I have to give up." Tomorrow is a brand new day for us both. Life is so precious, so short. You are capable of enormous strength - we BOTH are. I love you so very much; and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers <3 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx