Recently, I’ve really gotten into Ask MetaFilter. It full of straight forward advice to pragmatic questions as well as people baring their soul to strangers on the internet and getting genuine responses back.
I love this thread on peoples’ “go-to” salad. Lunch day-in/day-out can get pretty boring so it’s nice to get some new idea.
The most common way my depression manifests itself is a total lack of will power. I know I should advance the latest work project or at least start clearing out my inbox, but I can’t bring myself to begin. While I sit there in a stupor, the unread email count ticks up in both my work and personal email, my voicemail fills up, and my projects begin to grow mold. Beneath the total lack of will, a low thrum of anxiety begins. I cannot start work, so work piles up. Work has piled up and so it seems impossible to start.
Meetings are a bit of a relief because at least I am fulfilling some purpose. Someone has scheduled my time, told me where to be and when, so I get up from my desk and move to occupy a chair at a conference table. Depending on how much energy I have, I usually can let myself be swept away in someone else’s will for an hour or two. The impulse to please people is almost stronger than depression. I want to be cooperative, to be helpful if I can. This is perhaps why it’s the worst when the mask slips during a meeting. A person stops me in the hall outside. “Are you OK?” they ask, keeping their voice down. Clearly, I have failed to occupy my chair in a helpful and productive manner. The person asking genuinely cares, but what can I tell them? My brain is broadcasting static; the occasional station it picks up appears to be a nihilist talk show.
I get home from work and everything feels better. So is it the job? But then sometimes there’s a week where things completely reverse. Work is fulfilling, interesting, I am on top of it and loving the high of getting things done. Home is a slog where it feels like all I do is empty and load the dishwasher, eat, and sleep.
It’s perspective, of course. But what a whole lot of effort it is to cultivate that perspective and keep it alive. When I bought my house a few years ago, I thought, Hooray! No more moving everything year; it’s mine and I’m here and stable now. I learned very quickly that you can’t just buy a house and sit in it; you have to maintain it, constantly. Things tend towards entropy. I’m pretty sure in two summers the wild grapes would tear the gutters from the roof.
I have to tend to my mind. I have to keep up with its maintenance. Take my meds, exercise, eat right, get enough sleep, spend time with my friends, time recharging by myself.
Sometimes it isn’t enough. I have to wait those days and weeks out. I have to sit, with my lack of willpower and my discomfort at the things I’m not doing piling up. I try to take care of myself enough not to disrupt other people’s lives or agendas. The “good girl” impulse keeps me functioning, running on autopilot until the depression passes.
And that’s the perspective I manage to keep while I am depressed. This will pass. Tomorrow is another day.
One of my favorite things to do is to flip through my issue of Bon Appetit and flag the pages with recipes I want to make. I have a stack of issues with pages flagged; more than I’ll ever get through in a year of cooking. It’s a kind of daydream to imagine all the delicious meals I might make over the course of a year.
Last night, I managed to make two recipes from this month’s issue: The Green Minestrone and The Spinach Salad with Dates. If you leave the parmesan off of The Green Minestrone both are vegan. Both were delicious.
Vegas was awesome and full of excess: miles walked, lobbies pictured, drinks consumed, red meat savored, hot dry weather, gaudy decor, etc.
Today I’m drinking detox tea, wearing a fax mask, and about to do a coconut oil/honey treatment on my hair. When you need a recovery plan you know it was a good trip.
Last night’s meal was Mediterranean Cod with Vegetables as the entree and Artichoke Hearts and Peas in Radicchio Cups from the 1986 version of The New Good Housekeeping Cookbook.
The version of Mediterranean Cod with Vegetables that I cooked had slightly different proportions: 2 small onions, 1 garlic clove, 1 green pepper, 3/4 C breadcrumbs (gluten-free in my case), and 1 large tomato, but otherwise is the same. I forgot the dill weed and wish I r had substituted something else in at the last minute. It was a delicious light meal, that made enough for a full second meal for two people. It just was missing some essential extra kick/flavor.
Rachel’s Rating: 1 spoon
John’s Rating: 2 spoons
For the Artichoke Hearst and Peas in Radicchio Cups, I couldn’t find Radicchio and made the mistake of using a rather bitter green.
Rachel’s Rating: 0 spoons. Never again!
John’s Rating: 1 spoon.
The Rating System
1 spoon = It was a OK.
2 spoons = solid meal
3 spoons = instant classic, immediate add to the remake list