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, 17 May 2017

From Darkness into Light..

My hands trembled as I held out the blue answer booklet. The invigilator, having not noticed my shaking fingers, took it from me with a smile, and moved on.

I sat there dazed, not quite able to comprehend the feelings that surged in my breast, crashing against one another like the white tipped waves of the ocean.

I had done it.

I was here.

My time at Trinity was finally, finally over.

And so I stepped out of the stuffy, artificially lit exam hall, stepped out from that crowded space in which the dozens upon dozens of  excited human voices intermingled and wove into one another to make one confused, violent cacophony of sound. Stepped right out of there, towards the square of yellow light which led into the outside world. 

Another world, to me. I felt as if I was making both a literal and figurative transition, from one place to another.

Into a world of sweet and beautiful freedom; a world in which my sorrows would melt away like chips of sharp ice being thawed by the delicate kiss of the spring sun. 

I was free. I had done it. I had finished my college degree.

And it did not matter that my exam hadn't gone brilliantly, and that I had ran out of time on the question involving a discussion of two of the course texts' lack of human empathy. It did not matter that, when I had entered that very same exam hall two days before to sit my first exam, it had suddenly hit me, like a stinging blow to the face, that I knew not a soul in that place. I had felt like Robert Neville at the end of the I am Legend novel, looking out at the face of the brave new world and feeling totally, utterly isolated. That was what I had felt like. I don't belong here.

But now it did not matter.

Now, I no longer cared.

For I was free. Free to be me, to forge a new and beautiful future for myself, far separated from the pain and struggles of the past. I was stepping out from the darkness of my loneliness, stepping from that crowded world - a world in which I had been surrounded by people, but had always, no matter how many faces I could see, felt so, so alone, like a lonely, plain-feathered songbird struggling to fly amongst a flock of beautiful swans.

I was leaving behind the loneliness, the sadness, the pain of unbelonging. The constant feelings of not being good enough, that my existence was worthless to everyone and everything.

I was leaving behind that world, that day.

And so I stepped into the light.

And so I ran through the streets of Dublin towards my train, my hair streaming behind like wild uncurling banner, the late afternoon sunshine casting dapples of light upon my face as I passed beneath trees laden with the sweet green foliage of May. People turned to stare at me in surprise as I ran past, their curious gazes following me as I dodged between them like a minnow between reeds.  I suppose what they saw was sort-of  young looking girl, with a full, glowing face, purple runners on her feet, a black skirt with tiny roses, a white top which left her arms and shoulders bare and exposed to the sun. 

But over the past few months, that girl became wiser.

She learned quite a few new things. Things that weren't just related to the degree she was trying so desperately to achieve.

She learned things about herself, her world. Things about life. And ultimately things about her recovery.

She learned that she did have the strength to do this.

She learned to care less about what others think, and to just be herself.

She learned that she was strong and capable. That she has what it takes to achieve her dreams and goals.

She learned to take care of herself.

She learned that she didn't have to be the thin, skinny girl, whose potential to be loved by other is wholly dependent on the severity of her illness.

She learned to be the Real, True Emmy.

She learned that she could leave the thin, scared little girl behind.

And I think it was these vital lessons which got that girl through her exams, to the light beyond. It was these lessons which filled her heart with joy as soon as she stepped into that light and felt the warmth upon her face, felt the heavy, dragging weights being  lifted from her shoulders. It was these lessons that lightened her steps, that day she ran through the streets of Dublin, towards Heuston, and home. It was these lessons which taught her that she could be free. Free to break free from the crippling fetters of loneliness, pain, self-doubt. And to render ED ever weaker.

And though she still has some way to go, she learned that she will see this battle out to the very, very end.

There can only be two possible outcomes to this fight.

I can choose to let ED destroy me...or I can choose to destroy ED, and win the pure sweet freedom that true recovery inevitably brings.

And I've learnt now that I can make the right choice.

For it is time for me to be free, in heart, body and soul.💕


  1. Well done for finishing your degree Em!
    I've been reading your blog for quite a while and your progress is inspiring, as are your words.

    This though, is one of my favourite posts because it truly shows how far you have come and your determination to keep pushing forward.

    The picture you posted is also beautiful, along with your smile 😊

    1. <3 I literally cannot describe how touched I was by your comment - thank you so very, very much. I never once thought, only a few months ago, that I would reach this place at which I am standing at now. I think what made this moment so special for me is that I realised at this point I actually succeeded in putting my recovery first while stil managing to prepare for and sit my exams - whereas in the past it was always a case of falling back with my health, and putting study above all.

      thank you so very, very much. your comment meant so much to me. I hope you have a lovely day. xxx

  2. Congratulations Emmy for finishing your degree and sitting your exam! I just knew you could do it! You are so brave and courageous pushing forwards with your recovery as well as coping with the stresses of Uni - you should be so proud of yourself.
    I hope you can now look forward to a lovely relaxing summer doing all the things you want to do now you have your freedom from study.
    Take care - I am so pleased for you xxx

    1. Thank you so very, very much for your comment, it meant ever so much!! The support I have received on my blog helped me so much in this journey and continues to do so every day. I really appreciate your thoughts and words, it means so much! <3 xxxx

  3. Emily, I am delighted. I have been thinking of you a lot, knowing you would be taking exams around now. Your words here, both in the post, and in your reply to the first comment above, show a new strength and a new hope, and that fills me with a depth of reassurance, and hope for you too. I always believed for you, but now at last you sound as though you have found the strength that comes from within; it is like the difference between the promise of the magic cupboard, and the first steps through the door into the world through the other side! I am really happy for you.
    You write beautifully and you are obviously very gifted. One day maybe you will want to do college-y things again, but next time, from a place of confidence; for now you can find a free and open place to grow past the pain,

    1. Thank you so very, very much for this. I appreciated your message so much! And for thinking of me too - Im really blown away by your thoughtfulness <3

      Yes, I do believe that I have finally found that inner strength and self-belief which before I was lacking and it has in itself made such a difference. I know I still have loads to do though. I just hope I can draw on this newfound strength now, and the insight I have gained over the years, to help me get through the most difficult final phase.

      Thank you so much again, I am so grateful for what you wrote, I hope you know that! <3 xxx

  4. What are your plans now that your course has finished? Or are you going to make the most of the summer and take a break from everything?
    I hope your recovery continues to go well - be happy and enjoy the summer sun!

    1. Aw thank you so much for your well wishes <3 ! Oh gosh, yes that is the question...I'm not a hundred percent sure yet..I have a few ideas and plans but nothing concrete as of yet. And I am sort of waiting too for the 6th of june to come (the day of the results... :( ) before I make any definite plans.. I hpe with all my heart that I passed, I found the exams very tough. :( xxx