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.:)

Saturday, 4 February 2017

My Little Blue Swing...

It was my favourite place, as a child. The Garden of my childhood.

It became my own little Garden of Eden, of sorts: but also, my Secret Garden; or a place which wasn't really a garden at all.It was a rainforest, a desert; a tropical island, a fantasy kingdom. A wilderness that ranged as far as the eye could see. A kingdom of grass and trees and flowers the colours of the rainbow; of which I was its only queen.

And at its very heart was a little blue swing with green pulley ropes and a narrow wooden seat.

The little blue swing as it is today, minus its seat, sadly. 😔

Often of a fine evening, when the sun began to sink behind the dusky forms of the rosy-tinged mountains, I would slip out to my garden and skim across the dewy grass. I would clamber into that seat and grip the soft rope between my fingers, my toes arched like a ballerina. I felt like a golden-feathered eagle, ready to lift my wings and take off from the ground.

Then I would inch my way back a little on my toes, my heart beating in my chest like a coursing rabbit's, and then I would lift my feet and let myself go.

The rushing air slapped at my face; my hair lifted from my skull to stream behind me like a rippling golden banner.

Benny in his summer garden

Yesterday while I was outside, pegging the washing out on the line, I glanced across at my old blue swing, now rusty and covered with cobwebs and fine green moss.

I remembered how it felt going up - the sheer elation; the longing to not come back down to the ground. And then, having reached the point at which I knew I was going to fall back down, a strange, sharp sense of some indescribable fear.

 And so I suppose that the dips in my motivation to recover are like the rise and fall of the swing.

The strength, the vivacity I feel when my motivation has shot upwards like an arrow loosed from a bow; and then, the counter feelings; ones of fear and doubt and sadness; ones which swiftly move to establish themselves as soon as I begin my descent.

I get a little lift..when eating something I really enjoy; getting a hug from my mam, a comment from a reader, talking with a friend who understands..

but when I am alone, or full, or looking at my body in the mirror...I come crashing down to earth with a cry...

How do I keep it up?

How do I allow that motivation to climb up and up; and, once it has got to the top - to stay there, essentially?

But then I came to realise today, standing outside, my tired eyes fixed upon my little blue swing.

Going up, and coming back down is inevitable.

It's an unavoidable part of recovery.

Recovery is not like a swing that never comes back down. It's more like a dipping, swinging rollercoaster: you go up, you cry out with thejoy, the delight, the exhileration at being on top of the world. But then you see you are going to come back down again, and your heart swells with both fear and apprehension.

But it need not fill you with fear, as you can and will survive them..

So rather than seeking to achieve that impossible feat; of striving to avoid and completely  inhibit those dips and falls in motivation...

I must learn to be brave and steadfast, and face them, head on.

And I now have identified precisely the things that will help me see these times through.

  • Talking to a friend who understands and will not judge me.
  • Reading through the past comments of my readers upon my blog.
  • Playing with Daisy and stroking Benny's velvet like head, or sitting on the sofa with the warm fuzzy ball which is Felix upon my lap.
  • Talking to Mam; or Gran, or my sister.
  • Reading through my reasons to recover and reminding myself again and again of the importance of fighting on.💛

And I know, that if I keep on fighting, keep on persevering, keep on being as strong and as brave as I can every single hour of every single day - that some day I will reach a place where I do feel on top of the world. Recovery is the highest place that I could ever hope to go. Getting there is like reaching the very top of the shining peak of Mount Everest; beautiful and glowing with pearl white snow. It is a place where there will be more highs than lows, It is a place where I will experience peace within myself; high above the choking grey clouds of loneliness and depression and self-hatred. That's recovery. It is there and only there where I will be able to again experience those sensations I had felt when swinging upon my little blue swing. The exquisite, palpable, authentic sense of joy: the kind that stems from that being in that state of true and beautiful freedom. 💜 xxx


  1. Dearest Emily, if you can keep focused on that, you will get there :-) Recovery is exactly as you describe -- it is life itself, more beautiful and real than anything in the world. One does not need to know every step of the way to the future, one only needs to know the direction, the immediate next step, and how to hold on tight when the dips come, because the ups come next.... And if you keep on that swing, one day you will open your eyes and find yourself in a different playground completely, which you never dreamed of, more beautiful, more fun, more vivid than you have known. That is what I think, anyway. Love from someone who never believed how much things could change, until they did, x. ps. also, it isn't always about "fighting"; some of it is just about hanging on tight to the ropes of the swing, and letting it carry you... x

    1. <3 thank you so, so much for such a beautiful, meaningful comment.. what you wrote really spoke to me and touched my soul. And that does sound so true..recovery is, often, a case of taking off from the ground and embracing the fear of the unknown.Oh, how I long to reach that different playground..and as I say, reading the comments of my readers really does help me to keep my head up and my eyes focused on that beautiful mountain peak..hearing from others on my blog really does give me that little "boost", a fresh rush of courage to keep on swinging bravely on. Thank you with all my heart for sharing your words of wisdom with truly means so, so much and I really hope you realise how much of a help it is to me. Take care and thank you so much, again! <3 xxxx

  2. And I`m sure you will reach that place too xxx
    Keep to the path you are on and remind yourself of your hopes and dreams everyday. They are reachable, you can do it and when you do you will feel fantastic. Recovery is scary at times, its the unknown - but even then its got to be better than staying trapped in ED. Being scared never hurt anyone - ED will.
    Take care emmy and stay strong xxx

    1. <3 every word you say is so, so true. ED is more than just a horrible disease; it is a thief, a murderer, which takes and destroys lives and families. Thank you so much again for reminding me of these fundamental truths; it really does help me so, so much to remain focused on my ultimate goal. Nothing is impossible now, I realise! Thank you so much again - I really do mean it so much! <3 xxx