Mental Health: Depression Suppression!!!

On Wednesday I got bilateral foot surgery for boring, non-urgent reasons – basically something that was going to get worse with age. My insurance and timelines aligned and I decided to just go ahead and knock it out. I’m set to have my full mobility back in two months, a couple weeks before school starts again.

Before the surgery I did as much as I could physically and tried to postpone all stationary activities for post-op. I raced around to finish a job for Tidy B Organizing, I cooked ahead of schedule for Bummed Out Baker, I went and got ~the final pedicure~. For the first week of recovery I wasn’t meant to walk more than to the bathroom or maybe to the kitchen to grab something (definitely not to stand around to cook), and not much else. Stationary was compulsory. Stationary was good.

The day after surgery, I woke up and relished relaxing in bed all day, watching bad TV, lolligagging on my phone, and housing the cupcakes my sister in-law and brother sent me. On Friday I felt an inkling of stir crazy coming on. How long was I gonna be in this bed, again? By Saturday the dishes had begun to pile up around me and remained far longer than typical me would ever allow (Rick was in charge. Rick is relaxed. Be like Rick). Unwrapped packages littered the desk, random shoes weren’t put away, and clothes were slung over the chair. I’ve never been a clothes-over-chair-slinger, and it was painful to look at. When I managed to hobble into the kitchen while Rick was away working, I was aghast at the damage done without my religious dish-doing and counter-wiping. I hustled back to my bedroom as fast as a foot-bound, drugged up person can and shut the door, hiding away like Quasimodo. I got back in bed and looked around me. Picked up a book, set it back down. Opened Instagram to find nothing new from ten minutes before, swiped up to close it. Got tired of Gilmore Girls, so I just slept. And slept, and slept, and slept. I’m famed among my friends and family for sleeping suspicious amounts, which my psychiatrist has pegged as my emotional escape mechanism, so you’d think this would be my dream (see what I did there). At first, it was. But then I got tired… of sleeping. The pinnacle of my emotional spiral was when Rick made an innocent joke and I burst into tears. #PoorRick

There is no busy work I can do, no collecting Rick’s damn Nicorette wrappers that seem to infiltrate every crevice of everywhere, no bathroom sink to wipe off. I grew terribly depressed in a matter of days and then realized the depression wasn’t new, it was simply emerging from the mountain of unnecessary tasks I typically bury it with. Instead of scuttling around the house doing things that don’t really matter, I was forced to write on Bummed Out Baker, brainstorm marketing for Tidy B Organizing, workshop fellow writers in my collective, organize my digital photos and analog notes, read, write, and reckon. I was being forced to reckon with myself and what’s going on in my head. When there is no choice, there is no excuse. I lean so firmly on busy work to numb my mind that being forced to take a literal seat for weeks at a time has left me with some interesting tea leaves at the bottom of my cup, if you nom sayin’.

these Mickey Mouse feet crack me up every time

Written on Tuesday, June 18, 2019.

Related on Bummed Out Baker:
Mental Health: Depression Lies to You
Mental Health: Guilt and Golden Retrievers and Headaches
Mental Health: Weight Gain and Mental Medications


Subscribe at the bottom of Bummed Out Baker to get my mental health musings and recipes emailed to you directly – Follow on Facebook for mental health articles and discussion – Follow on Instagram for behind-the-scenes panic attacks and my begrudging, meat-eating husband captured in the wild.

If you or someone you know needs help right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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Recipe: Beet Tartare and Cashew Cheese Dip (Gluten-Free + Vegan)

This recipe takes forever to make, but it’s pretty dang good. If you’ve got some sort of sophisticated home event you need to bring a dish to, consider this.

Ingredients

1 c raw cashews, soaked four hours
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T coconut oil
1 T miso
2 t nutritional yeast
1 t apple cider vinegar
sea salt, to taste
2-3 tablespoons water, as needed
5 small, prepackaged beets*
1 T balsamic vinegar

*You can buy fresh beets and cook them from scratch, but I found the prepackaged, cooked organic beets to be much easier.

Instructions

  1. After soaking for four hours, drain and rinse cashews.
  2. Place cashews, lemon juice, coconut oil, miso, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of sea salt in a blender. Blend until completely smooth, adding water if necessary.
  3. Transfer cheese to an airtight jar, wrap jar in tea kitchen towel, and let sit overnight.
  4. The next day, preheat oven to 400°F.
  5. Place beets, balsamic vinegar, and another pinch of salt into a food processor. Blend until beets are diced or nearly shredded, not liquified.
  6. Pack cheese into a well-oiled 4″ dish (I used the bottom half of a round glass Tupperware). Do your best to eliminate any air pockets and bake for ten minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and flip onto a plate. The cheese should slide out.
  8. Top with beet tartare and return to the oven for another ten minutes.
  9. Serve warm with your choice of crackers. I chose one of my favorites, Nut Thins.

Serves 8-10 as an appetizer.

Bummed Out Baker Honest Rating: 6/10
Rick-the-Meat-Eater Honest Rating: 0/10

I took points off due to the recipes high maintenance time, and Rick hates beets, so.

Adapted from Beet Tartare with Cashew Cheese.

Related on Bummed Out Baker:
Roasted Beets and Sweets
Borscht Topped with Sour Cream


Subscribe at the bottom of Bummed Out Baker to get my mental health musings and recipes emailed to you directly – Follow on Facebook for mental health articles and discussion – Follow on Instagram for behind-the-scenes panic attacks and my begrudging, meat-eating husband captured in the wild.

If you or someone you know needs help right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Recipe: Arugula, Watermelon + Feta Salad (Gluten-Free + Vegetarian)

I suppose it’s the summertime effect, but super simple recipes are prevailing on Bummed Out Baker right now. Enjoy!

Listen to this while you make the salad and, like me, ponder why this guy is stealing bikes when he appears to be old enough to drive.

Ingredients

1/4 c orange juice
1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice (about one large lemon)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 small white onion, minced
1 T honey
1/2 c olive oil
1 t sea salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
6 c baby arugula
1/2 small seedless watermelon, cut in 1″ cubes with rind removed
8 oz feta cheese, diced into 1/2″ cubes
1 c fresh mint leaves, chopped

Instructions

  1. In a large jar, combine orange juice, lemon juice, garlic, onion, honey, sea salt, pepper, and olive oil. Screw on lid and shake dressing until well combined.
  2. In a large salad bowl, gently toss together the arugula, watermelon, feta, and mint.
  3. Pour dressing over salad to your liking and toss. Serve immediately.
Any unused vinaigrette can be stored in the jar and kept in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Serves two as a main, four as a side.

Bummed Out Baker Rating: 9/10
Rick-the-Meat-Eater Rating: 9/10

Adapted from Arugula, Watermelon and Feta Salad.

Related on Bummed Out Baker:
Greek Quinoa Salad
Scrambled Eggs with Parmesan and Arugula
Spiced Cauliflower with Feta


Subscribe at the bottom of Bummed Out Baker to get my mental health musings and recipes emailed to you directly – Follow on Facebook for mental health articles and discussion – Follow on Instagram for behind-the-scenes panic attacks and my begrudging, meat-eating husband captured in the wild.

If you or someone you know needs help right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Recipe: Eggs Benedict (Vegan)

Vegan eggs benny doesn’t make sense, I know. But even Rick liked this one.

Ingredients

7 oz package firm tofu,* sliced lengthwise into 4 slabs
1/4 c tamari
3 T water
2 T maple syrup
1/2 t liquid smoke
1/4 c coconut oil
1/4 c brown rice flour
1/8 t turmeric
3 T dry white wine
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 c coconut milk
1 T nutritional yeast
1 1/2 T Dijon mustard
1 t sea salt
1/2 c cornmeal
2 T whole fennel seeds
2 t garlic powder
1 t paprika
6 T grapeseed oil
1 large vine tomato, cut into four slices
2 English muffins, toasted
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced into rounds
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
fresh chives, chopped

*I like Wildwood.

Instructions

  1. In a shallow bowl, stir together tofu, tamari, water, maple syrup, and liquid smoke until well combined. Cover and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium, stir together coconut oil, brown rice flour, and turmeric and cook for two minutes. Add wine and cook for another two minutes. Stir in lemon juice and coconut milk.
  3. Turn heat up until mixture begins to simmer and then turn down to low for ten minutes, stirring regularly.
  4. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in nutritional yeast, mustard, and 1/2 t salt.
  5. Pour sauce through a fine mesh strainer (this requires rigorous tapping to get through – be sure to isolate yourself so not to bother your husband binge-watching Hart of Dixie). Set aside and keep warm.
  6. In another shallow bowl, combine cornmeal, fennel seeds, garlic powder, paprika, and other 1/2 t sea salt until well combined. Thoroughly coat tomato slices in mixture before frying.
  7. In a skillet over medium, heat 3 T grapeseed oil and sear tomatoes on both sides until golden brown and crisp. Remove tomatoes from skillet and set aside.
  8. Heat remaining 3 T grapeseed oil in the skillet and add tofu slabs. Cook on both sides until golden brown and crisp.
  9. To serve, top each English muffin half with tomato, tofu, and avocado. Spoon Hollandaise sauce generally over each and garnish with pepper and chives.

Serves two.

Bummed Out Baker Honest Rating: 8/10

If I could do it again, I’d ditch the tofu. It’s simpler and just as good with only the tomato, avocado, and Hollandaise – I did the leg work.

Adapted from Vegan Eggs Benedict.

Related on Bummed Out Baker:
Scrambled Eggs with Parmesan and Arugula
Açaí Bowl


Subscribe at the bottom of Bummed Out Baker to get my mental health musings and recipes emailed to you directly – Follow on Facebook for mental health articles and discussion – Follow on Instagram for behind-the-scenes panic attacks and my begrudging, meat-eating husband captured in the wild.

If you or someone you know needs help right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Mental Health: Guilt and Golden Retrievers and Headaches

Another day, another bout of random, crippling depression.

I texted Rick asking him to please bring Apollo (XXL golden retriever) to the city with him when he comes back from playing golf on Long Island because he brings me great comfort and joy. When I’m having a blue day like today, to hug and snug with Apollo for just one day (before he returns to the wide reaches of a yard a dog his size deserves) does wonders for my mood. When Rick confirmed Apollo was coming into the city for the night I walked around smiling like a nut. In case you’ve somehow missed it in my writing so far, I am, indeed, nuts.*

I woke up with a gnarly headache. Again. I’ve been especially suspicious of booze lately but, save for a 1/2 tablespoon of Triple Sec used in the strawberries romanoff recipe, I haven’t had a sip since a friend’s wedding Rick and I attended last week.

Yesterday evening I had my first visit to an acupuncture / medical massage place that not only accepts my insurance, but that I also have unlimited visits to. After years of being wrecked by migraines that stem from stress and tension, a lot caused by my all night teeth clenching, this was a huge W in an effort to curb my headaches. After my ridiculous psychiatry bill, I feel like my emergency deep tissue massages were our second biggest expense.

My headaches are unruly and relentless. They’re unresponsive to sleep, caffeine, and Excedrin. They often bring me to nausea and, sometimes, when everything is really magical and the stars align, vomiting.

When Rick and I were in Mexico for a dear friend’s wedding, for whom I was a bridesmaid, one of the days I was completely knocked out due to a migraine. After fighting through a speech, I had to leave the rehearsal dinner early before I hurled or something. We returned to the boutique hotel that had no TV, so I passed out while I imagine Rick just kind of sat there staring into the dark void. Poor Rick.

The first Christmas Rick ever spent with my family, we’d gone to my great aunt’s house and my headache was so bad I had to lay down, leaving Rick with a bunch of people he’d just met. While he enjoyed going to visit my great aunt and uncle’s herd of cattle, a comically exaggerated way for someone to be introduced to Texas, it was still a little uncomfy for him. Poor Rick.

I had a terrible headache the day of my prom and, as the night wore on, it morphed into a migraine. My boyfriend and I had to leave early. He was a metal dude who didn’t really want to be there in the first place, or else I’d say “poor boyfriend”. He was probably thinking about Slayer or Hands of the Few or something, but I was thinking about how crushed I was to miss a chunk of prom.

When I am laid up with a migraine, I get frustrated about missing, well, life, and my mood plummets. I hate to be more high maintenance than usual, which causes me to then become more guilt-ridden than usual. With general clinical depression, I am often plagued by a baseline of guilt. I do my very best, but there are some days when it feels like a herculean task to just get out of bed. No matter how productive a day I might have, I always feel bad about not doing enough. Regularly being laid up with a splitting headache exacerbates this feeling. In my dark moments I try to remember that depression lies.

Guilt, guilt, guilt. Plummet, plummet, plummet.

One time I saw a psychiatrist here in New York who looked like Einstein. He’d written a book about Catholic guilt and kept trying to peg my issues on Catholic guilt, even when I told him repeatedly that I wasn’t Catholic. I didn’t see fake Einstein for very long, but I suppose he was onto something.

Does guilt accompany your mental health issues? If so, how do you deal with it?

*I was singing “You are so Beautiful” to Apollo and he stalked out of the room mid-line. Upon further thought, I don’t blame him.

Written on Saturday, June 1, 2019.