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.:)

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Crossroads of Thorns

My head was revolving in slowly spinning circles. I could hear a voice on the end of the phone line, but the voice was distant, echoey, as if I was standing in a long, high tunnel.

Deep inside me floated an immense bubble, a bubble of what could only be described as elation, and excitement. It floated tentatively towards the surface, awaiting to be pricked or even burst with the force born out of exhilaration.

But burst it I did not. That bubble floated, lingered, and then quietly, ever so gently, fell back to the ground, to become no more.

This was the afternoon following the telephone interview that had resulted in me being offered the job in England. Now I think this gives me the opportunity to clarify up things a little here. The past few months I have been applying for jobs right left and centre. The main reason being my Oh-god-I-have-to-please-them mindset had gone into overdrive. I had tossed my old plans of local part time job and therapy aside, committing myself to a new course of action. I was driven. Applying for jobs gave me a buzz from knowing that by doing so I was proving a point to others. Because deep down I know I did not want to enter the working life straight away. But. I was applying because I wanted to prove to everyone I was trying.Then no one can say I'm being lazy and sponging off others. Then noone can say I'm wasting time and money by simply devoting to therapy for the year.

And yet even as I painstakingly filled out application forms, I don't think I really heard the voice of my unconscious mind.Im going to apply for all these but I know I wont get them. I just have to try. Try to get a job and prove to everyone that I'm trying. 

I wish - very much - that I hadn't chosen to do it, and had instead heeded the advice of my readers, urging me to follow my heart and focus on myself.

But no. I had to please others again, didn't I?

But let's get back to the story.

And so, yes, the afternoon after I was offered the Shropshire job for February. I received...another phone call. I had had a Skype interview for this one earlier last week. The job? Santa's Elf. All the way over in authentic Finnish Lapland.

Now, when I saw that job, I knew I had to apply for it. The thought of me, dressed in an elf suit, leaping around singing christmas songs and welcoming rosy-cheeked children to a winter holiday resort was one which I could only describe as magical.

And so I applied for it. And was offered an interview. Still hadn;t really hit me, then, that they were actually, properly considering me. In my head, noone could possibly ever want to hire Emmy Snelgrove. I mean, what was there about me, I had thought, that could possibly make me stand out amongst all the others? They're all talented, they all have skills, experience, qualities which I could only ever attain in my wildest of fantasies.

Why would they employ me?

Useless, dumb, pathetic Emmy Snelgrove.

This was what I whole-heartedly believed. And still do, but, for a different reason. I was offered the job.

And yet, as with the apprenticeship in February, now as looming and as ominous as an overhead raincloud...

I find that I'm so scared to do it.

Santa's Elf. Oh god how did I want that role. But where have the bubbles of excitement gone?? Now all that remains in the fear, and the doubt. Heavier and more crushing than a water logged blanket, pulled right down over my head, encasing me in the darkness. So dark and heavy I want to suffocate. I want to scream and shout and cry like a neglected child. I don't want to go! But I do - just not - not now!! Argh!!!

So many go. But then, so many reasons not to.

The concern in mam's eyes when she saw how scared I was. Her gentle words, telling me that if I dont want to go, its ok. You can stay here and be with us for Christmas Emmy. But I dont know how to advise you, because you really wanted that job so much.

The wording of the contract itself, repeating over and over in my head in a monotonous, droning voice. It spoke of the challenges involved in working such a harsh and bitterly cold winter environment, and that employees must ensure that they are physically and mentally able for such challenges.

Well. Am I able?? My weight's ok. Depending on which way you look at it. My bmi's just shy of 18. People tell me I look well. No stranger could look at me and see a girl who has had anorexia for half her life.

But most of all, the one thing that is holding me back, is the fact that to go away for over a month over Christmas would mean that I have hardly any time left at home. Hardly any time left with my family, hardly any time left here in the place which I love. Hardly anytime to prepare myself for February, if I go. Hardly anytime left to focus on myself before I enter the working world.

But I mean...I've been trying and saying for as long as I can remember that I will dedicate myself heart and soul to my recovery. But still I seem to put it off. I need a therapist. I know I do. But I can't afford one.


Oh God I hate decisions.

I feel like I'm standing now at the most dark and hateful of crossroads. Thorns beneath my feet standing where I am now, digging into me. Im bleeding and want to escape the pain, but I dont know where to turn to, now. I don't know which way to go to escape the pain; or whether which way, will just bring me more thorns and pricks in my side.

I just don't know which way to turn.


  1. Dear Emmy,
    As a long-time reader who cares about you, I would be concerned about you going to the Finnish job at this particular stage in your life, with that clause about the physical & mental challenges and bitter cold.
    I think you have lots of gifts (as your potential employers obviously do too!) but I would want to see you enter an environment that would be hospitable to your current needs, and help you to flourish. That would still be challenging and make you anxious at first, I don't doubt, but it would be different if you were stepping into something where you'd clearly be able to count on a supportive environment.
    As for "people tell me I look well" ... judging by your posts, I think you know just about how strong that argument is?! Both that and the other bits in that paragraph sound to me like ED is shaping how you look at this possibility?
    But whatever you do, like your family, your friends will still support you.
    Take care, and very best wishes.

    1. I was so touched by what you wrote..thank you so so much for thinking of me. It means so much.
      After writing this post yesterday I signed the contract and sent it off.. the indecision was just unbearable, I had to do something so I just did what I did :( but the cold does not worry me too much, in fact, I am constantly warm (abnormally so - Ive read somewhere this is another possible consequence of anorexia?!) ;I think in all honesty its the thought of having that bit less of time at home which makes me well up.

      Ah yes, "you look well""...that hateful comment! And this winter I am determined to get to grips with dealing with it. I really want to focus now on ignoring the suppositions of others, to instead prioritise what is healthy for ME, because what others see and define as "well" doesn't necessarily mean that it is healthy. Thats what Im teling myself anyway..

      Thank you, again, so much. I hope you dont think I am going against your advice; if i was honest, a massive part of me wants to take it, but there is another part shouting at me that I will give myself so much grief if I do not do it, and that others will think "shes such a letdown" etc. Its tough, very tough! :'(

      thank you so much! please take care too <3

    2. Dear Emmy,
      I am really glad you made up your own mind, and that there are several things in your decision that are pointing you to what is right for you ... even if it is also complicated by some less helpful feelings, which hopefully will one day disperse too. Now's to focus on the good bits, the excitement of doing what You want to do, and having fun.
      Emmy, no, please don't "hope you don't think I am going against your advice"!! I'm ONLY a reader, and even if I were someone close to you, I would still want you to make up your own mind and find your feet and your voice, and would want to help support you in that. As it is, I am ONLY a reader. I want what's best for you, and I'm happy to share in your joy and excitement about the bits of this that draw you at the deepest level of all that you long to share and enjoy in this world. Doubtless there will be challenges, but I am glad for the good bits. Take care.

    3. <3 thank you so much. And yes. The past few days I have been paying alot of attention to my thought patterns and have noted how a massive proportion of my thoughts are negative. I tend to dwell primarily on the bad stuff and I know I need to fix this. So at present Im trying very hard to focus on, as you say, the "good bits" and blocking the fear and doubt out.

      Thank you ever so much for what you wrote <3 and honestly, I really am so grateful for all your support. I feel very lucky to have such kind and supportive readers <3 thank you so so much! Take care too. <3