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.:)

Monday, 21 August 2017

The hardest fight..

This morning, walking my two furry friends upon the peaty stretches of the bog, epitomised what many might refer to a typical Irish summer. To the east, an unblemished sky of cobalt blue, in which the sun was rising like a drifting golden ball floating slowly to the surface of a tropical sea. And then to the west a completely different picture: advancing storm clouds, grey and majestic in their arching sublimity, stretching hungry arms towards that glowing sun. Two completely different scenes, captured in the same hour of one particular morning. As the doggies and I passed along the rippling expanses of mauve-tinted heather, those clouds reached that invisible divide, causing a spectacular battle to take place.

The weather this August seems to reflect my turbulent, ever-changing emotions; my tumultuous states of mind which so often drift upwards only to be tumbled about like strewn leaves in an autumn gale.

One minute, I would be as high as the soaring kite, soaring carefree across an endless summer sky, my wings outstretched to catch the winds racing behind me. I felt free. I felt like I was riding that wind. I felt higher than I ever had done so before; high enough to traverse the tallest trees, and the highest, most towering of the mountains. And there was immense joy and delight at finding this new found strength, a strength that I wanted to nourish and sustain; along with that strange new voice which had enplanted itself in my head. I'm going to do it, that voice cried in delight. I'm going to reach the mountain!!

But then the skies would darken and the wind would turn against me, forcing me down towards the awaiting ground, the darkness below me. And then that new voice would dwindle and fall away, to be replaced with the one which I've come to know so very, very well.

Weak, pathetic, good for nothing piece of sh**.

Time for me to stop just...stopping, in my tracks, every time I try to move that bit further forward.

Time for me to just stop just talking, and writing, about what I want to do, and achieve. Time for me to actually make those crucial changes. Draw my own rainbow across this raging battleground.

One of the hardest things about being in this place is that noone except me knows the ferocity of this battle inside my head. People look and me and see weight-restored. People look at me and think healthy, and recovered.

I've already mentioned the comments I've had, the ones which grate harshly upon my ears and try to make me swerve off this narrow and somewhat treacherous path. But there's also something else; the fact that others no longer think I have an eating disorder and I do not, and should not, seek help for it. At the moment, all my family's emphasis is on me making a hasty decision about what I want to do as career, and then to pursue it, at once. My original plans to have a year out, working part-time and doing therapy alongside, have been once or twice tentatively mentioned, only to be brushed hurriedly aside. Clearly, the girl who had an eating disorder doesn't really need that sort of thing, anymore.

But they can't see the inner battle ground. They don't know that this illness isn't just embedded in flesh and bone and blood. It's in the head. That's where the main battle always rages. Inside.

I've given up trying to convince them. I've recently spent most of my days inside the clouded part of the sky, wretchedly watching the blue slip away from me. Sometimes I do manage to catch it, grasp at it with desperate, yearning fingers, feeling the warmth of hope. But then the clouds gather behind me and pull me into their embrace. Clouds with ragged edges, like my fraught and jagged emotions. Clouds which envelope my heart and block out every last trace of the sun. Hope can be such a slippery, evasive thing. One minute you have it there in your hands and then it's torn away from you, borne away by the rushing tide.

My thoughts charge like running horses, crashing across a storm-ridden plane.

Their hoofbeats resonate like this Voice, deafening, refusing to be silenced. Unheard by anyone else, but me.

Thoughts as dark and as bleak as the greyest of stormclouds. And yet, somehow, I still keep my thread-thin sliver of hope, alive.

I'm at the rainbow, now. There's darkness as well as the faintest glimmer of light. It is raining but through that rain comes the sun.

I just have to keep going now, put my thoughts and plans into action. Sometimes I think I lack the bravery, the strength to do this. But yet I am still here, somehow, in this place. The torturous state of half-recovery. Where noone else sees and knows. But the inner battle is the hardest and most excruciating of all.

I have to deal with these comments and judgements. I have to ignore the fact that everyone thinks Im happy, and healthy, and capable, on my own. I have to brush aside my own doubts, my own huge, towering anxieties. I have to somehow change how I think about myself and my body.

I have to accomplish the hardest task of all. Fighting the hardest fight, alone.


  1. My dear Emmy,

    Thank you so much for writing. You are very brave, and you have so much insight. I think you are right to hold onto what *you* know, even though the world around does not understand, and it is bitterly hard.

    I hope you will still pursue the year out, the time for therapy and real recovery.

    If it is any comfort, this was the way it was for me too -- as soon as the weight is on, they think it is all better. Inner need drives one to pursue what one knows is necessary. Don't put it off. There will be full recovery beyond this, but one can only take one step at a time.

    Love from a reader.

    1. Thank you, literally, so very, very much.. <3 your comment really meant so much to me. It gives me so much comfort to know I am not alone in what I am experiencing, and feeling. Thank you so much for your heartfelt advice too, I needed to hear those words! <3 xxx

  2. Emmy, as the above reader has alread commented, I really hope you do stick with your plan to pursue part-time work and therapy, because although your family cannot see the inner turmoil tht you still suffer from, it is definitely the best choice. Perhaps when you do find a therapist you could ask them to peak to your famly and explain that healing the body is only one a small part of the recovery road and that although weight-gain can make someone look visually well, eating disorders will effect people at all weights, shapes and sizes. You have proven yourself to be stronger than you thought in getting this far and I have no doubt that you have the strength to take this next step. Please listen to the rational side of you and do what is best for YOU, not what other people think you should do.
    Sending you much love and courage,
    Megan xo

    1. Thank you so , so much for your heartfelt advice Megan, as always <3 <3 i appreciate it so much. it's so true to say that all trhrough my life i have always felt this desperate need to please others. This has shaped many of the important decisions I have made in the past, and is the reason for my hesitating over something which for years I had really hoped to do. I really hope that they will respect and accept my decision to do this..I know it's very hard for them to grasp how much I am struggling, inside.
      All my love dear, thank you so much for your message <3 xxx