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, 19 March 2017

Leaving behind the scared little girl...

Mam was cleaning in the kitchen, her strong, brown hands scrubbing vigorously at the stains upon the smooth paneled cupboards. I approached tentatively, my hands curling awkwardly at my sides, feet dragging reluctantly upon the tiles. my hope, flickering like a weak candle flame in a draughty, cold church. 

Seeing me, she stopped, glancing at me enquiringly. "What's the matter, Em?" she said.

My heart leaped into my throat; like a lithe young rabbit jumping towards the stars. The longed for, yet intensely dreaded words. I wanted to pour out everything then - but the moment flitted away from me, flecks of dust being blown away by the wind, passing through my groping fingers. And besides. I had - a question, not a full blown account of how much I yearned for her help, her support in what I was doing.

"I wanted to ask you a favour, Mam," I said. She smiled, straightened, flicked the dishcloth she was holding into the sink.I suppressed the urge to fling my arms around her; to release all of the aching troubles of my heart.

No, Em.

Get to the point.

"I was wondering mam," i began, my voice barely above a whisper. "I wrote myself a new meal plan amounting to about 3500-4000 cals. I was wondering if...if you could look at it for me..?"  My voice trailed off at the end; I had lowered my gaze to the floor as I spoke. But at the final few words I snapped my head up again. I had to see  and witness the expression on her face.

Something flickered across her eyes like the shadow of a bat flitting across the bright surface of the moon. I searched those beloved, dark green eyes desperately, with the fitful, desperate hope of the last survivor clinging to the wave-washed rocks.

"Ok, Em," she said, reluctantly, wearily. My heart felt like it had been cleft in two by a butcher's cleaver. I quickly turned away from her, my own eyes filling with a rush of salty tears. Pathetic, I know: but I had so badly, so intensely longer to hear, to see, that ready willingness to help me, which she had so readily exhibited in a former time, a former place. That being, of course, in the days of my hospital admission; when everything had been so centred on little Emmy's recovery.

But things, this time, are very, very different.

As I turned and went back up the stairs, painful, fleeting images began to dance across my mind's eye. Images of that bitter, bitter time: but embedded in the thick soil of that bitterness there lay a sweetness which now I longed for more than anything in the whole wide world.

That being the open support, and encouragement, of my parents, who at the time  had constantly and consistently advocated every single aspect of my recovery. Mam had sat with me through my most difficult meals and had held my hand everytime I would break down in tears over my bloated, distended stomach. Daddy would often ask me as to how I was coping with the meal plan, and offer gentle words of encouragement whenever we sat together and ate our spreaded scones together at half past 4. They were constantly checking in on me, asking me how I was doing. Every little goal I met, every single step of progress I took: each and every one of them, they would acknowledge with a hug or a smile,

But now all of that is gone.

Now...things are different. Mam and Dad aren't involved anymore. Now it is just me. Me, and a flimsy piece of paper upon which is inscirbed the meal plan that I wrote up for myself. Me and my broken spirit and my cracked heart.

And I know - I know, with every piece of soul - that I am the one who is to blame.

Because I know that they are beginning to give up. All those countless tears and countless promises, that this time, it will be different, Mam. I wont slip up again, I promise. All those countless ruined meals and failed attemots at "true" recovery. Is it any wonder that they have given up on this? Is it any wonder that - whenever I ask for thier direct support - they appear detached, disinterested, distant? Is it any wonder that they think, here we go, again. Emmy says she's going to recover.

I know that Mam and Dad think that this place at which I am now at - this semi-recovered state at which the sufferer is not "severely", dangerously sick, but yet, still sick -is the furthest I am ever going to reach in my recovery. I know this. I see it in their eyes and in their faces. I read it in Mam's face when I asked her that question after breakfast today. I hear it in Daddy's voice when he tells me, in the weary, resigned voice of the defeated soldier, to stop picking at my food and start eating like a "normal person". I sense it in that uncomfortable, loud silence that fills the space between us every time I try to express how much I am trying, or to make them aware of the battle I am continuing to fight, every hour of every day.

Mam and Dad have laid down their weapons.

They think the battle is over; won, by ED.

But this is where I have to prove them wrong.

This is where I have to show them that the Emmy they knew and loved was not destroyed, forever.

I have to prove to them that their little girl is not lost. Well no; let me rephrase that sentence. That their daughter is not lost. Because the truth is I am no longer a little girl. I am a young woman with an eating disorder, who still has, in some ways, the body of a girl. A young woman who has decided to take this fight into her own hands. Because she realises that she no longer can depend on her parents to manage her recovery for her. It's her who has to do the doing. It's her who has to be the strong one, now. For all the love that I bear for them, and always, always will. For all that they ever did for me, and continue to, every day.

Because no girl has known as much love as I have had, growing up here in the sweet leafy surroundings of my beautiful childhood home. And I know that my parents care about me. And that nothing in the world will make them happier..if I choose to recover.

And so I fight on. I look at my meal plan and feel a tiny surge of pride as I think to myself, well done, Emmy. Because I am sticking to it. I am doing it. I am getting stronger by the day. This second relapse has proven to me I am my own source of my greatest ever strength. I am doing it alone but I know that I am not alone. I know there are people in this world rooting for me. Willing me to move on; and leave that sick, frightened, thin little girl behind.


  1. It's hard being in this state of semi-recovered Emmy as people can't see the war and internal dialogue that goes on in our head. Your Mum is proud of you, perhaps she's scared of saying the wrong thing that may trigger you. I've been there and still there, although I have outside help from a couple of professionals. I feel alone in tackling this and I do feel others have given up on me. Ultimately it's up to us to stand up to this thoughts - thats all they are. I'm so proud of you and the way you pull yourself up and keep going. Your a fighter and you can DO this. I would love to see your meal plan and I'm sure it would help me trying new things etc. Always here for you Emily. Love and prayers to you. xx

    1. Thank you so much dear Sonya <3 your comment really did mean so much to me..and helped me to feel a whole lot better about all of this. Recovery is such a lonely, lonely hard battle dear..I suppose that is why I am finding it so incredibly tough. I always find myself longing for my parents to directly support me as they once did. But as I wrote above, that time is now over and I HAVE to do the hard work this time, myself, for myself. We have to show our loved ones we mean it this time dear. Actions speak louder than words!!Thank you so much hun for your lovely thoughts <3 oh yes I AM going to share that in my next post hun! And I really hope it helps you dear <3 if you have any suggestions for me please do feel free to share them. All my love dear <3 xxxx

  2. I am so deeply touched by this, Emmy. My heart goes out to you. I have so much respect for you.
    Do you know the song "Crazy Fishes" by Renee Yohe (sings under "Bearcat"). It is on youtube if you want to hear it. She was struggling with different things -- drugs and such -- but it captures precisely the kind of moment you write of here.
    I wish I could take away your hurt and pain, you describe the situation so perfectly, so vividly, and the intensity of the pain, together with the intensity of the strength resting in realism. Emily, there is nothing I can add to this except recognition and empathy. Your words have the strength of clarity and truth and insight, of understanding and love for your parents, and the security of quiet hope for yourself, resting in what you at last know to be the true light at the end of this tunnel, whatever the path there may be. Nothing is stronger than that. And one day, your parents will recognise too, and your relationship with them will be stronger and deeper than ever.

    1. <3 thank you so, so very much for your beautiful, kind words. They brought tears to me eyes, literally! Thank you ever so much <3 I will definitely check out that song, I really do love to listen to meaningful music <3 I really cannot even begin to express how much your message meant to me; it spoke to my very soul and made me feel so much better..thank you so much for reaching out. Sending so many thankful and kind thoughts your way! <3 xxx

  3. I`m sure that your parents still care and will support you. Maybe they are just a little wary of upsetting you by saying the wrong thing or don`t want to react too strongly in case it puts you off? I think that at this stage its all about trust. Your parents have to know that they can trust you to follow this through and know that you raelly want to do it. maybe in the past they have seen you give up on yourself even with their constant support and are now at a loss of how to deal with what you are intending to do.
    I would plough on regardless - let them see that you are serious about getting better. Actions speak louder than words. When they can see that you are commited and really trying I`m sure they will be better able to help and support you.
    Hang in there and remember why you are doing this and that your life is going to be so much better as a result.
    Take care xxx

    1. Thank you ever so much for your message <3 everything you said here is so, so true and really helped me look at this from a different perspective. You are so is all about trust, and regaining their trust, and proving to them that this time IS different - really, this time. And definitely - actions really really do say so much!! Thank you so much for pointing all of this out to me. I really do appreciate it - it will help me so much in further moving forwards and I thank you with all my heart <3 take care and thank you, so, incredibly much! xxxx

  4. My dear, can feel all your pain and sadness and loneliness, and sending you ( only, as so often.() a virtual hug....
    We have to understand....that they never truly will understand our struggles, we have to become "independant" of the "recognition"--although this is what we are longing most....
    perhaps, one day, when we have finally have "brokenfree", they will see or feel it...but until then...please try to not be not "challenge" these situations by "searching" their attention for your "wins", they are not able to see it...share it here, at your blog, with me, with people who understand...and I know this is not as satisfying as your mothers` recognition, but...
    love you, dear Emily, Theresa

    1. <3 Thank you so, so much for your wise, caring words, hun..they touch my heart every time <3 everything you say is so, so true. And I will dear - it's time to stop "searching" for that open support and constant encouragement, as things have changed and I have to be the adult here, now. I have to rely on myself for this, and prove to myself, mam and dad, and ED that I am the stronger one..
      all my love dear, thank you ever so much <3 <3 xxxx

    2. Hello Emmy, I hope you are well and everything is going ok for you. I am in the midst of trying to write my own meal plan - I`m not lucky enough to get any professional help with my recovery - and was wondering if you can offer any tips/advice on how to do it? Do I have to include each food group at every meal and what sort of thing do you think would be suitable for snacks?
      I know you are busy with your studies as well as your recovery so if you don`t get chance to answer this don`t worry, I understand. Thankyou xx

    3. Thank you so much for your comment - I am so glad you reached out and I really would love to be able to help you in every way I can!

      I was in the exact same boat as you. I can't afford professional help so have basically been trying to recover alone for the past couple of years since I left inpatient care. I wrote up my own meal plan too roughly based on what I ate in hospital - but with my own little alterations ;)

      So to answer your questions in a nutshell - and this is a topic I could write alot about ;) - I would really aim to adhere to the basic structure of a meal plan used by the professionals; ie. one which consists of three meals and three snacks. Im not aware of your own individual circumstances of course, but there is one thing that I must stress here: if you have been restricting severely and have been eating a very low calorie amount for a long time, then you must be so, so careful NOT to start eating the recommended calorie amount in anorexia recovery (2500-3000 as a minimum!) straightaway. This can cause refeeding syndrome and potentially can be very dangerous. Instead start off with a slightly lower amount and then gradually start adding more and more in until you are eating the full amount every day.

      Yes, at each meal it is important to get all the food groups in - lunch and dinner especially. Oh and snacks!! I LOVE snacks and in general, my snacks are rather large (haha ;) ) but really it all depends on what YOU would like to have. A snack can be anything - but I suppose from a variety perspective it would be fun to mix it up a bit. Would you mind very much if I answer your questions in more detail in my next post (I'm hoping to publish it tomorrow or the day after!)? There is just alot I could say on this and I would love to share with you my own meal plan and give you some ideas re snacks and meals etc ;)
      Can I also just redirect you too to this older post of mine? It might help a little with sticking to the meal plan:

      Thank you ever so much for your message and I really hope you don't mind me answering you in more detail in my next post!! I wish you all the luck in the world, please stay strong and know I am thinking of you - this really is the most important decision in your life right now; to choose to recover.. so please give it your 100% every single day and don't give up <3 xxx

    4. Dear Emmy
      Thankyou so much for your reply. I really appreciate your advice, it is going to help me so much. So thankyou for your time, I know you are busy. I really look forward to seeing your next post to see how you wrote your meal plan, I will admit I`m at a bit of a loss at the moment as to just where to start. But I know I need to do this. I am so tired of feeling so ill all of the time and just feeling as though I am existing through the days. Your experiences have given me hope that I can recover without professional help and the fact that you yourself are so determined to completely recover is an inspiration to me.
      Thankyou once again xxx

    5. <3 no need to thank me, I really would love to help you in every possible way! I will really try to get that post done as soon as possible (I can never write short posts!! argh!! :( ) I was so touched by your message today, thank you so, so much. Recovery IS possible and don't let the voice tell you otherwise - it is a liar. If you believe you can you will and I am sending you all the luck and strength in the world. Believe in your own strength and constantly remind yourself of just what the eating disorder has done to you, has taken away from you. Living with an eating disorder is no life for anyone. Life truly is too short and the time to recover is NOW. <3 xxx