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, 10 January 2017
It's not until it is gone forever, do we realise what we have lost...
I shuddered and rummaged in my bag for my book, desperate to divert my mind from the food thoughts which were beginning to flicker across my mind's eye. If I did not - I knew all too well - those flickering images would grow and grow, like a spark shaping itself into a candle flame, and any kind of concentration would be impossible. Must read. Back to lectures in two weeks. I need to read my novel for Dr O'Toole. My fingers scuttle like ants over my various bits of junk crammed into the bag's small interior. Why can't...I just...stop thinking...about food all the time??
Flowers in the Attic. Tenderly, I lifted it out, smoothing the cover with the same attentive care that I handle all my library books with.
And so we rumbled on, through the sodden grey streets of Dublin, passing the sludgy brown waters of the Liffey and the Phoenix Park monument jutting sharply into the sky like a blunted penknife. Onto the motorway, then; past fields of glittering emerald; across babbling rivers and streams which churn their waters into creamy froth and course their way freely to the sea.
But I was no longer in Ireland. For I had become completely immersed in the sparse, brutal world which the narrator of my novel, Cathy, depicted.
Across from and around me, people snored and muttered and stared fixedly at their smartphones. Two children screamed and shouted at their mother, furious that she was adamant that they were not to be given any more Fruit Pastilles. I was oblivious to every single one of them.
The pages turned and turned like the fluttering feathers of an alighting swan. The speaker's raw emotions tugged at my own, iron fingers tugging at heart strings.
A few pages into the novel, I reached the part at which Cathy and her siblings learn of their beloved Daddy's death in a tragic road accident.
My vision became blurry with tears and I snapped the book shut with a snap. It has been a while since a piece of literature had moved me quite so palpably.
For Cathy's message here was plain and true, and struck a chord deep, deep inside me, to the innermost part of my heart.
It's not until it's gone, till you realise just what it is you have lost.
And this is so, so true: in all areas and aspects of life.
We take things - people, too; and states of being - for granted every single day. And it might not be until they're taken away from you that that crucial realisation may dawn.
In a month's time it will be two years since the day I got my osteoporosis diagnosis. It was a day of which I will never, ever forget. I cried a river of tears as it was then I was forced to recognise just what ED had done to me. There it was, right in front of me: the devastation that ED had wrecked upon my body, painted in the harshest and most ugly of colours.
Before that fateful day, I never thought twice about my formerly healthy, strong skeleton. Not until that day: when I stared, with disbelieving eyes, at that immaculate piece of paper with the three-toned graph upon it, which Dr Prasad's long-nailed, slender hand held out in front of me.
I can still see that graph now, to this very day.
The yellow at the very top; the section which represented the state of healthy, normal bone density.
The orange in the middle. Osteopenia. Bones are fragile, more brittle, weakening. But, with the appropriate interventions, they are savable.
And then. The red bit at the bottom.
At this stage there is no turning back.
There is now getting back to a state of healthy bone mass. That has been taken away from you, forever.
But by the time that I realised that...it was much, much too late.
A healthy body is such a precious, valuable thing. It is probably the most important possession you could ever possess. Money, positions, whatever - compared to health, they essentially equal to nothing. What good will that prestigious degree do you, if your body is too weak, too broken, to function properly? What good will all that money do, that job? Will it bring back the healthy, strong body that you once had, but lost?
I write this as a reminder to anyone who might be reading this, as well as myself. Because I know I am all too guilty of putting recovery on the back burner.And I know - at this stage in my life, the year in which I will turn 23 - I literally cannot AFFORD to "postpone" real recovery for a moment longer. I have seven years. Seven years to improve my osteoporosis, before my time well and truly is out.
Every day ED tries to make me not remember. Not remember what is has done to me, and what it could do, if I don't - break free.
I don't want to reach the age of thirty, to discover then I can't even break into a run without breaking a bone.
I don't want to be in that place again, weeping over something which I once had, and could have saved, but ultimately lost.
I don't want to end up a cripple, an invalid. With a body which is weakened and broken by years of malnourisshment and abuse; of starvation, and restriction.
The time to recover is NOW. NOW, before if is too late. 💗