Coping with Depression

I don’t normally do this, but I’d like to ask everyone reading to please be kind in the comments section. Since the thought of writing this entered my head I’ve had so so many reservations surrounding whether I should even make this post. Would I be able to express myself properly? Should I really be writing about something so personal online? I think even after I post this I’ll wonder if it really was a good idea. Doubts aside, I hope by writing this I can give other people going through similar mental health issues a feeling of camaraderie as well as, hopefully, give some advice on what helped me through my most recent bout of depression.

Depression for me isn’t just a feeling of unhappiness or apathy. When I say I’m depressed I mean that I feel as if every bit of myself has been stripped from my body –  like I’m a walking shell of a human. Sometimes it feels as if someone has such a tight grip on my heart that searing pain is being strangled out of my core and I can do nothing but curl into a ball and wait for it to pass. Other times it’s as if I’m being suffocated by a pervasive cloud of self doubt and hate. During those times I’ll lay on the floor thinking that everything I have done, am doing, and will do is for nothing and that I am a useless piece of trash single-handedly dragging society down. However even with all of these terrible feelings tearing through me the absolute worst part of my depression is constant and absolute hollowness. Like I’m not a part of myself anymore. Nothing makes me happy and all I can hope for is that my depression will pass quickly.

Two weeks ago on Monday I woke up and immediately knew some sort of chemical imbalance had gone off in my brain because I was drowning in my usual symptoms.

Rationally I knew what was happening and the ways to combat it – after all I got my bachelor’s in psychology. However, there is a difference between knowing the information you were taught sitting behind a desk in a classroom and the ability to execute those coping mechanisms when you can’t be bothered to get out of bed because all you can focus on is the empty feeling that has settled into every pore of your body.

I was finally able to muster enough energy to drag myself out of bed around one in the afternoon. I brewed myself a cup of tea and began my (current) routine of grad school applications. Which went terribly because I could not get myself to focus on anything. So I decided, okay clearly this isn’t helping me – time to try something else. Which was when I thought I could try starting up on an art commission my friend had asked me to work on for his new office space. Now I’m not going to say I was immediately put back in a regular state of mind, but oh my God was planning and working on that painting essential in getting me out of the pit I’d fallen into. There was something about being able to work on a project that gave tangible results each day that helped to bring back bits of my self-esteem each day. I’m not going to lie and say it was easy to get myself out of bed each day and paint. There were definitely days I had to force myself, but I was able to because I knew each time I added a bit more to that painting a bit of my melancholy would be released and some feeling of self would return.

I finished the painting last week and, although not completely myself again, I am in such a better place.

So my advice to anyone else who may be going through similar troubles is to take something that will challenge you and POUR yourself into conquering it. Perhaps you have your own painting idea or craft project or exercise routine or recipe you want to try out. Find an activity that has a clear ending and execute it. No matter how badly you want to curl up and do nothing, no matter how pointless you think it is at the time – finish your project. Seeing that you can accomplish something, even if it’s just in small fragments, will help to clear the fog of depression and bring you back to yourself.

For anyone else who suffers from depression or any other mental health condition I want to remind you that you are not defined by your illness. The person you are and the person your ailment momentarily forces you to be are two different people. You can overcome the negative feelings pushed upon you by your brain and become the best you, you can be. And please remember if you’re feeling too overwhelmed and alone there are mental health experts out there who are more than willing to stand by you and help ♥

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Gluten Free Review: Krusteaz Gluten Free Honey Cornbread Mix

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Hello everyone! So, as you may know from my last post I have quite the amount of craziness going on right now. In fact I entirely lost track of time yesterday applying for jobs, updating my CV, and writing my personal history/statement that I forgot to work on a recipe I’d been meaning to post today. Luckily, I’d written this idea down in my planner at the beginning of the month, but hadn’t known if anyone would be particularly interested in it other than myself. I thought it might be fun to write reviews on some of the gluten free products I find whilst out and about wandering the isles of my neighbor grocery stores. There’s a huge range of products I’m always interested in buying (box mixes, baked goods, pastas, frozen meals), but rarely do because I don’t know if I’ll like them and can never seem to find any reviews for them online. So I figure why not help myself (and hopefully others) by trying these products out and blogging how I feel about them. So what better time than when I’m in a pinch to give this idea a go!

Gluten Free Honey Cornbread Mix from Krusteaz


Ingredients:

1 Cup Milk
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Egg
1 Package Krusteaz Honey Cornbread Mix

Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread Ingredients


Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

2. The package directions state to mix both your wet and cornbread mix until moistened. However, I’ve found most recipes specify to premix your wet ingredients before adding them to your dry ingredients. So I gave my milk, oil, and eggs a good whisk before adding in the cornbread mix and folding it all together.

Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread Wet Ingredients Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread Wet Ingredients Whisked Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread Wet & Dry Ingredients Mixed

3. Next you’ll need to spoon your mix into your baking pan – the box suggests an 8x8x2 inch metal pan, a 12 standard muffin pan, and a 24 mini muffin tin. I went with my standard muffin tin and filled the muffin cups until they were 2/3 of the way full. As you can see I had quite a bit of mix left over so I added about half a scoop to each muffin until I had used up the mix.

Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread Extra Muffin Batter Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread Batter in Muffin Tin

4. Next pop your muffins into the oven for the specified bake time, which was 16-18 minutes for my standard muffin pan.

Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbreas Muffins Baked

5. Once your muffins have finished baking take them out of the oven and place them on a metal rack to cool. Once cooled you can enjoy them as they are or add a bit of honey for some extra sweetness!

To be completely honest, I actually prefer these muffins without any toppings. They’ve got just the slightest hint of sweetness that combined with their fluffy texture makes them super light. I was actually surprised when I first tried one because usually boxed corn bread comes with an overpowering amount of corn flavor, but these were the complete opposite. Now that I think about it, that may actually be why they aren’t too sweet. However, if you really love sweet cornbread you could always add a bit of creamed corn in with the wet ingredients to amp up the flavor. After trying Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread mix out I think I can honestly recommend it to friends and family – so yes, 5 out of 5 stars on this gluten free product. Besides I’ll definitely be making these muffins again, probably at Thanksgiving when I know everyone will want some cornbread with their meal!

Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread Muffin with Honey

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Yogurt Granola Breakfast Parfait

Hello everyone! I’m not sure about all of you, but I am pretty atrocious when it comes to eating breakfast. Most days I’ll make myself some coffee and that’s that- for whatever reason I have a hard time getting hungry in the morning which isn’t a healthy habit and is something I’m trying to fix. So I’ve begun delving into the mystical world of light breakfasts. Lame, I know. Most adults probably have the whole breakfast routine down, yet here I am sorting it all out at 25 – sigh. However, I will not be discouraged! I’ve found a couple of recipes that’ve been working out nicely – one of which is this yogurt granola parfait.

Eric got me hooked on this after a business trip to Seattle where I’m guessing he had it every day because he came home ever so slightly addicted to the stuff. I’m not going to lie I was a really hard sell on the idea of parfaits – for whatever reason I couldn’t imagine the combination of yogurt and granola to be tasty. But I stand corrected! The granola and fruit give you something to bite into while the yogurt adds a nice overall smoothness to the dish. I’d definitely recommend trying this out if you’re in the mood for something slightly sweet in the morning.

Yogurt Granola Breakfast Parfait

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