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, 2 April 2017

Trying to Find the Real Me...

The bog resembled a reedy, gorse strewn paddy field. Water had collected in large puddles upon the ground; some of which had joined together to resemble miniature lakes and riverlets. Water dripped from the saturated leaves of the trees, drops of dewy moisture glistening like carelessly scattered diamonds upon the ground. Every step I took left a deep, malformed imprint upon the marshy soil; soil which now resembled liquid tar as sodden black peat was turned to runny mud.

Daisy, however, was as enthusiastic and exuberant as ever. If anything, the recent wet spell had served to raise rather than dampen her enthusiasm for our little morning walk. As soon as we left the road onto the mud track, she began to prance and buck like a horse that has been kept in over winter, her long pink tongue flapping out of her mouth like a banner. I reached down and clipped off her lead, and she was off, ears and tail streaming behind her, shooting across the field like an arrow from a bow.

I watched her for a while as I always do, the corners of my mouth involuntarily curling into a smile. But then my smile faded as I glanced down at my stomach, bloated, as usual, from the enormous breakfast I had just had. Benny, seeing my hands fluttering from my sides to rest upon my belly, looked up at me expectantly, thinking he was going to get a treat. But I was too preoccupied to notice. Despondent and discouraged, I walked on, Benny tagging behind me, his tail now hanging limp.

I walked along in a sort of daze, the Voice increasing in volume in my head: an insistent, relentless, scornful voice of malice. Oh look at you, oh look at you! Recovery really is great, isnt it?

I turned sharply as I heard a splashing noise behind me, before letting rip a yelp of exasperation. It was Daisy, and she was as muddy as if she had decided to taken a mudbath. Flecks of mud flew off her as she shook, showering me and Benny with dirty brown droplets of peaty, dark soil.

"Daisy!" I yelled, so loudly that a thrush took flight from the adjacent hawthorn hedge. Daisy's tail dropped instantly, and she cowered on the ground in a gesture of penitent submission.

My anger melted away like warmed ice, replaced instantly by a burning sense of shame and selfhatred. I mean what do you expect, you bitch? She's just a young dog!!!

Tears sprang into my eyes and coursed down my  cheeks. I kneeled in the mud and hugged both of my dogs tightly. Im sorry, I whispered into their soft, sodden fur. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. This isn't me, you know it isn't. Please don't think that was the real me.

Its times like that when I realise just how much that Voice has changed me.

It's not only the irritableness; the speed at which I can snap, suddenly and sharply, at the silliest or most insignificant of provocations. It's also the jealousy, the bitterness. The sense of terrible, deeply rooted wretchedness.

This hit me today when I saw mam preparing afternoon snacksfor Daddy and my brother. I had frozen where I was standing to stare, heat rising into my cheeks, turning them to flaming spots of crimson. My own snack was sitting on the counter, awaiting to be toasted and buttered. Prepared in that painful, agonising manner with which I always prepare my own food. Butter and peanut butter would be applied with tediously meticulous carefulness. The numbers of the teaspoons I was taking from the jar or the tub would be resounding through my head, repeating themselves over and over and over.

That's not fair. A lump wedged itself within my throat. That's not fair. Why doesn't she offer to do me anything? Does she not know how easier it would be for me if someone else prepared this for once?

I turned away, not wanting her to see the pain in my eyes. fleeing to the conservatory, I turned my face to the garden, trying to find solace in the dainty, paper thin leaves of the blossom tree.

Jealousy. I...I hate myself, for it, so, so much. And I never, at one time, would have thought that I was capable of feeling like that. But I know, that I am. That incident today was only one drop in the ocean. I know that there's been many, many more.

Surely that jealous, irritable, bitter girl who I have become is not the real me.

The Real someone else. That's what I want to believe.

The Real Me was a happy girl. The Real Me was a girl who always had a smile upon her face and always greeted the morning with joy and gratefulness in her heart. The Real Me didnt care about how many potatoes she had on her plate, or how many minutes she would walk with her family for their afternoon stroll in the woodlands. The Real Me was not surly and irritable over stupid, trivial things that really aren't worth even getting upset about.

The Real Me would have respected her body.

The Real Me would have done alot of things differently, to that obsessive, short-tempered, depressed girl I have become.


There is still time to find her.

The Real Emmy, the Real Me. A girl who is happy and healthy, inside and out.
The last time I couldn't accept it
But this time I have to fight harder.
This is where the hardest part of battle 
is going to begin ...


  1. I`m sure this will pass Emmy in time. At the moment you are under considerable stress what with your studies and managing your recovery. It is no wonder your emotions are heightened and fragile! Would it help to talk to your mum how you feel instead of bottling it up inside? maybe she thinks you want to be in total control of your food and do not want help or anyone else preparing it for you? Maybe you could suggest a baking session you could do together? I`m sure your mum is feeling as though she is walking around you on eggshells as she really doesn't know how best to help you and is perhaps scared of setting you back by saying the wrong thing. Try to talk to her, it will make you feel better. Unless you open up to mum she can`t possibly know how you are feeling.
    Good luck xxxx

    1. Thank you so so much for your kind and thoughtful words!! <3
      This was a very difficult thing for me to write..I just felt so intensely ashamed of the feelings I have experienced the past few weeks, so I guess I was trying to articulate them and make some sort of sense of them. I am just scared, I suppose, that this is the way I will always be -irritable, obsessive, on edge all the time..I hate it and I don't want to act this way. I hope as you say that it is due what I am currently going through.. bothcollege and recovery are so difficult standing alone, but to do them together is the toughest thing I think I will ever have to do in life.

      I will try to talk to mam..I guess I am scared of being rejected or told to "grow up" or something..I am much too sensitive, the slightest remark can make me crumble, especially when it comes to my parents.

      Thank you so much for all your wonderful advice and help, it means an incredible amount to me..thank you so, so much <3

    2. No Emmy - you won`t always be this way, feeling the emotions you do. Things will smooth out and your true personality will re-emerge and you will become that happy, kind and thoughtful girl again who smiles and laughs. Never be ashamed of how you are feeling and try not to hate yourself, instead try to understand why you are feeling the way that you do. You are going through a lot at the moment and doing probably the toughest thing you have ever done - fighting that voice that wants to drag you back down all the time. But you are not going down that slippery slope again, you are beautiful and strong and can fight this. Your ED is making you believe you are something that you`re not and your emotions are raw, I promise you, this will pass and you will feel happier and calmer in time. Don`t hate yourself - be kind to yourself and give your body and mind time to adjust to the stress you are under. And if you can talk to your mum, do so or even write her a letter explaining how you are feeling. The important thing is that you don`t feel alone, that your isolated with no one to turn to.
      Good luck and hang in there xxxx

    3. Oh thank you so very much for this <3 it's so very hard to be patient and kind with oneself. I know all too well that if someone was telling me the things I wrote here, that I would give them advice not unlike what you have written here. I will try very hard not to be so hard on myself. I know I am stronger now - alot stronger than I ever have been and the Voice is now the weaker one, not me!! But it helps so much to know I have people out there rooting for me. Thank you ever so much again <3 <3 I really do appreciate it more than you will ever know. xxx

  2. Dear Emmy, All I can say is I promise you, the Voices do go away if you keep going. I promise. And life on the other side is amazing -- all the more so for knowing what it was like before, and for knowing that one trusted in darkness, and now daylight is come.
    It is a kind of freedom that is hard to describe, but you will recognise it when the cords of those voices loosen and you start to walk free. I promise you, it exists.
    And, in your writing, and in your actions, it is clear that you *do* trust, even though the place of hope is still something you barely know or feel at home in, you know where it is. Keep staying there, curl up there, keep living out of that place, and the Voice will lose heart and one day it will not be there any longer, and you will marvel with trebled joy.
    Love, from someone who was once haunted too.

    1. Thank you so much too for sharing with me your wisdom and means so very, very much!

      Your message really spoke to me. It made me want to believe with every fibre of my being that this freedom of which you speak is attainable for me, too. It makes me want to fight harder than ever. The Voice IS getting weaker - I know that much. I can say at last that the past few weeks I have overcome so much and have pushed myself harder than ever before. It was terrifying and still is, but I know that I am stronger now. Your message of strength and hope really helped me today, thank you so, so much. <3 xxx

  3. While reading your post i remembered so many moments when i still lived with my many situations I felt agression raise, anger that was you remember Harry Potter being "obsessed" with Voldemord, when he was able to feel his feelings ( is this stupid?)? These are just my associations reading your is so sad, but I truly believe that you will reach the point where you do not need to feel all this any more...continue, just go on this rocky path, I will be with you , my dearest friend!
    Love, Theresa

    1. Thank you, so much for all your support, and really has been so helpful to me in reaching this far and knowing I am not alone. <3 Take care dear! <3 xxxxxx

  4. Hi Emmy - I hope you are well and things are going alright for you.
    Can I ask you a question(S)about your meal plan?
    When it comes to the food groups such as protein and carbs and fat, what size portion do you refer to? I am having trouble deciding what is a suitable amount.
    When it comes to snacks, just how do you manage to eat a snack only for it to be followed by a meal a little while later? I am having great difficulty with this as I feel so full. I know its because I`m just not used to eating so much and so often in one day
    And is it normal not to feel hungry at mealtimes?
    If you get the chance to give me some advice on these questions I would be so grateful xxx

    1. Of course you can - I would love to be able to help you in every way I possibly can! <3

      The amounts are tricky alright..I am lucky from the point of view that Mam often dishes up the main meals for the whole family, so I just eat what she gives me. But I suppose, the best rule of thumb for this is to take what most people I suppose would consider a "normal portion" as your MINIMUM amount to have at the meal in question: if you can manage to eat more than that, then so much the better. Remember that there is no such thing as "too much£ in eating disorder recovery, and that any extra food you have is only going to make you stronger, and ed weaker.

      So a good sized portion of protein at dinner (my main meal of the day - though lunchtime might be for others! ) might be a fillet of fish, say, or a chicken fillet, etc.. then for carbs, again it's difficult to say - in hospital, we were told 3 good sized baby potatoes was what should be aimed for. I suppose here the "plate rule" is also helpful - the plate should be divided into thirds, with protein occupying one, vegetables another, and then carbs the other third!!

      Look at packets etc. for the recommended portion size and use that as your MINIMUM - always remember that!! They are guidelines only and if you can eat more than those, than you simply must eat!

      Would it help you if I were to do a post on this? Again, it is something which is hard to answer in a single comment! ;)

      Yes, unfortunately, at the beginning it is normal to not feelhungry, at all - in fact, it's to be expected, as it's highly likely your stomach has shrank due to the restriction. Please believe me when I say you simply just HAVE to literally swallow this fear and let go of the control. I used to feel so scared at mealtimes when I didn't have an "empty" feeling in my tum. But then one day I realised that I was just kidding myself. I was never going to recover and gain weight if I kept on going like this. I accepted the fact that the next few months were goiing to be hard, physically and mentally very very hard. BUT ultimately, I had to do it. Think of all your body has been put through at this stage. I know you are probably deep down aware of the consequences of remaining underweight. I urge you now to openly and forcefully face up to the facts. I am the living proof of the awful, awful effects of anorexia on the body. I have serious osteoporosis and hence will never be able to ski, horse ride or do some of the things which I had always really wanted to do.

      Same goes with the just have to tell yourself, no matter how full you feel, "I have to eat this." start off with a small, non challenging snack and then gradually make them larger and more generous. It's hard, I know, how hard and unnatural it may feel. But please believe me - you will get used to it. The first day is always the hardest and once you have done it , and keep on doing WILL fall into place. Space the meals and snacks out well - I try to eat every 2 hours and find that works well for me.

      I hope this helps. Please comment below if you think a post would be helpful as this might be of some use to other readers too.

      Good luck - I am thinking of you. Fight the fear and that Voice telling you "you are not hungry, so you cannot eat." truth is, you CAN. Your starved body needs every ounce of that food. Bear in mind how your natural hunger cues and digestive system are more than likely not working as they should right now - is it any wonder you dont feel hunger like everyone else? But it will come back - but ONLY if you persist. Good luck!! I am thinking of you!! xxx

  5. Dear Emmy, thank you so much for your reply. Reading it has helped me so much. Yes, if you get the time a post on hunger (or lack of it!) and portion size would be useful further reading.
    But I feel bad for asking this of you because I know you too are going through so much at the moment so please don`t feel obligated, only if you have the time.
    I hope things are going ok for you and that things have settled down somewhat. Thank you once again for your help, it really means a lot to me just knowing someone has been through the issues that are my stumbling blocks at the moment and got through it.
    Take care xxx

    1. You are so welcome. I am so glad I can help in some small sort of way. Oh and please don't feel bad about that - I love blogging and helping others so much and if I had it my way I would blog every day, but unfortunately of course at the moment college prevents me from so. But 4 weeks from today I will be done so I will have plenty more time to write! ;)

      It really is no trouble. I really feel for you as I am all too aware of just how extremely difficult this part of recovery is. It feels so unnatural, so uncomfortable. I am sure you are tired of hearing people say this, but please do try to believe me when I say it does get easier. The body is an incredible thing and it WILL adapt to the more frequent eating and larger portions...but only if you choose right now to persevere with it, every single day, no exceptions. A half-hearted attempt is not good enough here, because if you do not commit the stomach won't adapt and you will just end up in the place where you started.

      I will definitely write more on this topic in a post, I would love to be able to help you and any others who have experienced this problem! Take care too, and good luck <3 xxx