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, 6 February 2018

Journey to the Summit

And so I sat in my little writing room with the laptop open and my fingers resting on the keys; poised to type, but today, the words would not quite come. I wanted to blog but the tiny number on the page view statistic page mocked me. Who cares about your stupid work Em? You might as well give up right now.

I know though deep down I will not. I will always be a writer, and I will be drawn back to it even when - as I do, quite frequently - feel disheartened or disillusioned about my work. Even if noone else is really reading, these words mean still alot to me. Releasing pain through my words; channelling out fears and insecurities out onto that exposed white page. It has always been healing for me. And that little number on the page view screen is irrelevant, really; my blog is worth alot more to me than that. What's important is that is the charter of my own recovery journey. And in chronicling that journey I hope that I help - or at least, have helped - many others along the way.

One thing I learnt as an English lit student is never to underestimate the power of writing. Over the years, ever since the first form of writing appeared, the written word has held the power to inspire and excite, to move not only emotions, but people and nations themselves.: to cause both the weak and the strong to look towards change.

And just like Luther writing his controversial pamphlets; and the Gawain-Poet composing his intricate, beautiful poems. I want to leave my mark, too. I want to make people pause and think. More than anything I want through the power of my words to bring about a real change.

So that's my bit of...warbling done for the day💙
Now what I really wanted to talk about is where I currently stand. Where am I in my recovery? Where do I now stand upon the mountain?

Well I'm climbing. I've climbed high enough now to be able to appreciate just something of that beautiful view.
There's fruit trees growing here, at this point upon the mountain. And I'm enabled to actually reach out and pluck their fruit with trembling, tentative hands. The fruit is as wonderful and as tantalisingly sweet as I imagined. But there is a clause, as ever. Only a few fruit trees grow here. The rest remain far up the path, only reachable if I choose, to go on.

I feel something akin to what I felt, all those years ago, on that sunlit day in late April, when the trees bore forth fresh new leaves the colour of polished emerald; and sweet fragrances, delicate fragrances filled the air, scents of moist earth and blossoming flowers; the fragrances which looked toward the early summer. And it was upon that day that I went with mam and dad to Kinnity in my beloved Slieve Blooms; to do a walk which for constituted my first proper ramble since getting my osteoporosis diagnosis. Having received the devastating news which for me, at the time, had had an impact easily equatable to that of a death sentence, I had been forbidden to engage in any form of physical activity until, at the very least, my weight had reached a certain point, and I had been seen by the rheumatologist for his specialist opinion.

But then came that day when the prison gates were flung open and the sanctions were taken away. My soul and my body felt like they had finally been set free.

We climbed to the midway point of the mountain, and I stood upon the sandy skinned rock of the outcrop, and looked down at the magnificence stretched out below me. I wanted to absorb every inch of the scene, down to the very tiniest of details barely visible to my vision.

Hard to believe that it's almost three years ago
that this picture was taken...

And oh, the feeling.

Looking down at how far Id come. It had taken so much out of me to get here. But now I had done it, and was enabled to perceive myself the wonders of that beautiful, beautiful view.

But then I realised with a jolt that we had not reached the summit. And mam and dad were walking on, not upwards, but along the little path that looped around the side of the mountain. As I watched, mam turned and beckoned towards me. Not today, Emmy, she had said gently. Not today. You're not strong enough, yet.

That day I was not strong or ready enough to go further, despite my fervent longing to do so. And in a way, that has how it has been since then, as regards my ongoing recovery journey. Much as I wanted to move onwards, I just was not ready to do so. The inner strength and resilience required was simply not quite there, just yet. But now, in this brand new year, I feel as if I have finally found somewhere in me that inner strength, which will enable me to climb higher, and higher.

The changes I have put into place, so far this year.

  • I renewed my efforts to break down just some of the many, many rules that Ed established for me to keep me in half recovery. 
  • I'm due to make an appointment with an endrocronoligist that I was referred to by my doctor in trinity. The cost of the appointment is enough to make me want to recoil, but I am going to make myself go. For too long have I ignored my absent periods, clinging to the lingering hope that they would eventually come back by themselves. I'm really hoping the consultant will be able to give me some advice as to how I should address this, as well as her thoughts on my current weight, bmi and diet.
  • I've started the frightening but necessary process of tapping into my oldest fears and demons. The bloating, of course; of no longer being the skinny girl, and the compulsion to do x amount of exercise.  
  • I'm no longer content to let ED manipulate my thoughts and twist them in a way so that I am constantly filled with loathing and dislike for my body. Rather, I am striving to accept. Accept and respect, and to realise just how valuable my body really is to me. And then maybe in time, I will learn to love. It's a long and hard road ahead but I know that some day I will get there.
What I need to do
  • Gain the rest of the weight that I know I need to; and allow my body to be the healthiest it can be.                                                                                                                                               But this goal is by its own nature one framed by uncertainty. Just how much exactly do I need to gain? What is the "healthy" weight for my body?
  • I'd like very much to find a little part-time job; a job which would then allow me to both earn a wage while simultaneously enabling me to focus on myself and my recovery. I'd like very much to commit to therapy. If only though I could find something. I've been looking since I returned home and thus far my efforts have proved fruitless.
  • Dismantle the long-established beliefs ED long ago established for me, about myself and my body.
  • Continue to break ED's rules and push myself far beyond his boundaries.
  • Seriously consider as to what it is that is going to enable me to climb higher than I ever have done so before. 
Kinnity <3


  1. Dear Emmy,

    Thank you for this. I love your writing. And the thoughts at the beginning about writing itself are very moving. You put your finger on something deeply true, and I am grateful to you for articulating it.

    Very best wishes with the ongoing recovery journey. Eventually, if you keep going with it, I think you will discover that "how much do I need to gain" ceases to be a question. The body knows what it needs, and you don't even need to know the number in the end (in fact, for some ex-anorexics, it is better not to know...). One day, it won't be important, and you will trust your body -- not with fear and trepidation, but with respect and gratitude and genuine, deep trust -- and you will have other things to think about that absorb you so much that all of this ceases to matter, except for the few moments when you look back with glee on how far you have come, and how different now is from what it used to be. I will be so excited with you when you get there, and excited for all the things you will do with your life beyond ED. For the moment though, these words and this struggle are themselves the places where your soul shines and it is a gift to read about it too.

    1. oh thank you, thank you thank you so much for your kind words and lovely message, it means so much <3 what you say really does speak to me, and it's true to say I can feel a touch of what is I think excitement and curiosity about where my journey is going to lead me, whereas before there was only fear..and it's a strange but beautiful feeling indeed <3
      thank you so much and please do take care! <3 xxx

  2. Dearest Emmy,

    Please never stop writing your blog. You are a fantastic writer and have the most elegant way of describing nature and using it as a metaphor for your own struggles with an eating disorder. Who cares if you don't have as many followers or views as other bloggers or instagrammers. Ultimately this blog is a space for you to express your feelings and track your progress and keep yourself accountable. You're just extremely thoughtful in sharing it on a public platform where others can read about and benefit from your own experiences. Plus, a smaller readership means less pressure to post things that others want to see and more freedom to post exactly what you want.
    As a reader from the very beginning, I feel very privileged to have been able to follow your progress and see how far you've come since you first made the decision to recover. I'm so proud of what you've achieved so far and am so excited to see where your future will take you. Please keep writing and please keep smashing those goals (and smashing that eating disorders to pieces too).

    Love from your loyal reader,
    Megan xx

    1. <3 Oh Megan thank you so so much hun <3 it isso lovely to hear from you, I have been thinking of you alot and I really hope you are well <3
      To read this made me feel even more determined to carry on writing despite my occasional doubts and moments of feeling disheartened. Everything you say is so so true and I'm so grateful to you for sharing your insight with me <3 and I can tell you now, I too feel very, very privileged to have got to know you, youve supported me every step of the way of my journey and Im eternally grateful hun <3

      Much love to you from Ireland.
      Emmy xxx

  3. I just wanted to let you know that I love reading your blog and always look forward to your wonderful descriptive articles - you truly have a talent for writing. Your journey through recovery has been an inspiration and I`m sure you have reached many people with your honest account of how it is for you. I wish you all the best in furthering your recovery and hope that you will continue writing xxx

    1. <3 thank you so, so much for this lovely message <3 Im touched to the point of tears!! It means so much to me to hear you look forward to reading my humble little blog!! I will always keep writing, yes, I know that in my heart <3 thank you so so much for your words. Im genuinely so, so touched. <3 xxx