A Change Has Come to Bummed Out Baker!

After 63 consecutive Mondays of recipes, I’ve made the decision to cut recipes back to every other Monday. I put so much TLC into my recipe posts- from the grocery shopping to the cooking to the photographing to the cleanup to the photo selecting / editing to the post drafting, and each recipe post takes about one full day of work to put together. That’s 63 days of my life spent lovingly working on this passion project in hopes of drawing people into a supportive, unguarded, sometimes funny (I like to think) community and, while I’ve enjoyed it, I realize I need to reclaim some time to work on my book / thesis and my budding home organization business, Tidy B Organizing. More importantly, for those seeking community, I can now focus more energy toward my mental health posts, which seem to interest and resonate with readers most.

This is not some kind of slow decline until BOB slides off the face of the earth, rather quite the opposite! I’m in the throes of designing a fabulous new website with Kiki + Co. and have recipes that are both delicious and a bust (lol remember, honesty is my policy) queued up for the rest of 2019, even some for 2020. I’ve also been dreaming up and brainstorming the approach to something super exciting I have in mind for a Friday feature.

As BOB evolves organically to better suit readers and myself, the aim remains the same: to champion mental illness and discuss it openly. It’s imperative to destigmatize something that every person has been touched by in some way, and I look forward to continuing the charge.

Thank you, readers, for all your support so far!

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Mental Health: A Regular Ole Tuesday

Tonight on the way to dinner I’d barely hit the road before I felt strong anxiety coming on. I gripped the car wheel tightly at the top and, when that didn’t feel just right, moved my hands into different arrangements that never felt secure. The AC was blasting in my face and I took deep breaths over and over. I pictured my mom sitting in the kitchen eating the roasted artichokes I’d just made before I left and thought Well, that was the last time I’m ever gonna see my mom because I was about to have a seizure followed by an aneurism, swerve off the road into a guardrail and die. I don’t even remember what my dad was doing. Why didn’t we hug bye? How’re they gonna tell Rick I’m dead? I rifled around in my purse for meds at a stoplight but couldn’t find any. I’d run out. I forgot to restock. Shit. I mashed the gas and raced to my destination, knowing if I could just get to where I was going my anxiety attack would subside. I was meeting three friends for dinner – a low pressure social situation. But it was in public! There would be people there! I might ralph everywhere and humiliate myself! There might be extremely bothersome fluorescent lights! There would! There might! This is it, sorry for wrecking your Lexus mom and dad, bye mom and dad! Did I just begin to drift? No that’s my imagination. No, no, no. Am I here? Is this it? Thank god. I pulled into a parking space, concluding an experience that was not unlike the Willy Wonka boat ride from hell.

If booze is handy when my meds aren’t, I cruise into the self-medication zone. When I get a cocktail down, usually my anxiety-induced nausea subsides and my heart slows down. When I ordered a drink with my friends tonight, though, it didn’t work. I put my forehead in my hands and ran my hands across my head and over my hair over and over. I fiddled with my fingers. I told them I couldn’t relax. I admitted I self-medicate w booze. They understood my plight and, while it’s not great, I do what I can to survive when I genuinely think death is imminent.

My mental unrest never receded tonight. Even as I type I feel jumpy and my brain seems to be 1-2 seconds behind my actions, which alarms me. What’s wrong with me? At the same time, my body is exhausted, completely spent after being tense for so many hours, unconsciously holding my muscles tight while in survival mode.

A regular ole Tuesday, folks, imagining the last time I’ll ever see my parents over and over and over. With artichokes!

Written on Tuesday, July 9, 2019.

Related on Bummed Out Baker: 
Mental Health: No, You Don’t “Have Anxiety”
Mental Health: Psychiatrists
Mental Health: Compassion Fatigue and Hyper-Empathy


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: Saying No in the Spirit of Self-Care

I have a hard time saying no to people.

I don’t know if my trouble saying no stems from a fear of being disliked or seen as cold (often socialized in women, like our nauseating habit of over-apologizing*), or from PTSD of other people not being there for me or showing me mercy when I needed it most. I am still learning that I cannot be everything to everyone, or even something to everyone. Sometimes, for the sake of my mental health, I have to simply say no. It’s hard!

Rick started telling me that I emotionally give myself to everyone else and then, when I get home, I have nothing left for him, which breaks my heart. My allocation of energy is wrong if my MVP, my husband, feels shorted. It’s unfair that a friend or even acquaintance gets top shelf Bailey, and Rick is served up the dregs. Rick doesn’t deserve Everclear-in-a-plastic-bottle-Bailey, he deserves Belvedere-Bailey.

As a person who battles severe depression and anxiety, my energy is truly finite. I liken it to a gas tank, especially in regards to social situations: I only have so much to give before I need to go home, be alone, and refill my tank. There are very few people in the world I can be on empty around, which, for me, means I can be blue without questions or expectations to be acting otherwise. These people are mostly just Rick, my parents, and my brothers and sisters. And, that’s okay! One time my brother-in-law found me crying the bed in the dark while clinging to (and probably scaring) Apollo, the family golden retriever. He offered to make me a cocktail and then proceeded to sit in silence with me and watch Shrek. Just sitting there was all I needed. What a guy.

My psychiatrist and I joke that if me and Rick have a kid I can just be like “GOTTA-GO-CHASE-MY-KID BYEEEEE!” to anyone hogging my energy resources. (Don’t worry – no babies will be harmed in the making of my sanity.)

Overextending and overcommitting myself has become a nasty habit of mine. After feeling the muscle rocks that have formed under my skin on my shoulders and back last week, my horrified GP told me that I had three responsibilities: Rick, school, and yoga. Everything and everyone else must take a backseat. She then offered me muscle relaxers, to which I despondently replied, “all the world needs is another white woman on a bunch of pills”. My doctor, a WOC, laughed and didn’t deny my claim, but she didn’t not deny my claim. She gave me a topical ointment instead. Lol. She then reached out to me one week later with my blood lab results which indicated that I’d just had mono. MONO! I hold the world record for the oldest person to have ever had mono.

My call to action is to say no when you need to, and to be unapologetic when it comes to prioritizing your well being (or “well bean” as I like to say) over someone else’s perhaps insatiable desire to take, take, take with minimal or no return. It also doesn’t have to be that dramatic. Sometimes you’ve got to say no to going to that party, committing to that dinner, or doing unpaid work for a friend. If someone is a true friend, they’ll understand. Take stock of the people in your life, and then cultivate and invest in true blue relationships. Simply, protect yourself before you wreck yourself.

*The other day I apologized to a backpack. A BACKPACK!


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.