So this is me, Simon Rickards. I’m 43 & I live in the Forest Of Dean in Gloucestershire, UK. As you can tell I have an absolute passion for baking. So far nothing particularly unremarkable. That is until I tell you that I have an eating disorder, namely anorexia nervosa.
So why have I launched a website that is dedicated to sharing recipes filled with cakes, cookies, biscuits, pies and all manner of wonderful baked creations from the mind of someone who finds it so hard to actually consume what he’s creating? Well, I’m in a battle, a battle with the very eating disorder that is robbing me of having a life that I so dearly want. Not necessarily the life I had before – let’s face it, would I be this way if it was so good as it was (that’s not to say it was all bad) but a life that could potentially be so much more than I had and most definitely better than what I have now, what I’ve had for the past three years. That’s how long I’ve been ill.
I’ve always had issues with food. Before slipping into the chaotic world that anorexia leads you into I was a binge eater. Without talking numbers I was a very large man and it almost cost me my life. Type II diabetes by the age of 25 and insulin dependent. A major heart attack resulting in a double stent implant into my heart at 36. So here I am now at the opposite end of the spectrum, every bit as dangerous, even more frustrating, definitely more upsetting. Anorexia has robbed me of most things that did matter already. Health is only one part. Jobs, friends, dignity – so much that it brings tears flowing just typing that out.
Until recently professional people tried to help get me through this, but in truth I only ever got worse. Two in-patient admissions into eating disorders units failed to have an impact. One very brief encounter on a day treatment programme that I felt unable to engage with saw me discharged after a week. After each of these attempts to “fix” the issues I slipped further into the toxic world that anorexia was creating around me, to where I find myself now, to where I feel trapped. Eventually, recently, the professionals & I reached a stalemate. They could only offer the same things I felt unable to progress with and so we parted ways. I was left to try and find a way to fight this beast alone. It was time for me to battle my eating disorder.
Now, this is very recent. I’m not going to pretend there’s progress – there simply isn’t yet. What I’m doing is this. I’m immersing myself in my baking, creating more and more of the recipes that my passion is fuelled by. However, whereas before I wouldn’t dare try any of them I now HAVE to try them. What happens after is between me and my eating disorder but I’m TRYING hard to do this battle. So, whatever you see posted on here, whatever recipe you feel inspired to try out or just look at – I’ve tried it. And believe me – it was bloody hard!!
I’m not going to put anything on this site about my battle or progress, I really want this site to be all about my recipes. I want people to love them, to be inspired by them, to bake them, to tell me when they like them or to make suggestions about how to make them better. I DO have a sister site about my battle with my eating disorder where I blog about my battle from time to time. If you want to know how things are going you’re welcome to pay it a visit. The address: www.conflict-ed.com – but just to say, if you have an eating disorder yourself I may at times say things that are unintentionally triggering. I do suffer with borderline personality disorder too so I forget myself occasionally.
So anyway, that’s how The Battling Baker came to be, that’s a bit about me and why this exists. Now if you could do the one thing I really would love you to do that would be great. Go and take a look at the recipes and try just one of them out if you find one you like. And then tell me about how it went. I love feedback 🙂