Back to Basics

Have we talked about my amazing skills at self-delusion? Like the way that I insisted that my enormously puffy sausage legs were TOTALLY FINE YOU GUYS, JEEZ, right up to the point where my midwives sent me to the hospital with the threat of inducing labor so the kiddo and I didn’t, y’know, die? Or when I said, “yeah, I”m kind of skinny, I guess,” when in reality I didn’t have enough body fat to keep me afloat in the swimming pool?

This week, it’s, “I”m just a little tired, I’ve had a lot on my plate!”

Let’s cut through that for a moment, though, shall we? I am, indeed, tired, and I do have a lot on my plate, and in the epic series of ups and downs that is the process of recovering from depression, I have hit a big dip. Today is not as bad as yesterday, and yesterday was a huge improvement over Monday, and I know that the downs are a normal part of the process, but man, they are hard.

As I have been wobbling back toward balance, I remembered some wisdom from the Yarn Harlot, about matching the scale of your care to the problem at hand. Actually, I think about this post a lot, when I’m taking care of the kiddo, but this is the first time that I applied it to myself.

The problems of a full-grown adult with a kid and a husband and so much going on are more complicated that the problems of a fussy baby, of course. I have big problems and little problems both. I’m antsy with cabin fever and I feel incompetent in just about every area of my life. I know, in my smart brain, that I am not entirely incompetent, but it’s hard to get over that feeling. I decided to approach it from both ends of the intensity spectrum: I made vegetable broth for my tiny little troubles, and then I went for (kind of) a run.

Vegetable Broth:

broth veggies

Dig around in your fridge for some veggies that look delicious and/or almost past their prime. For me, that was carrots, parsnips, celery, onion, garlic, mushrooms, and broccoli. Cut them into manageable chunks.

oiled veggies

Liberally coat with vegetable oil, and roast at 350 until they look toasty and delicious.

toasty and delicious

Put in a sauce pan, cover with water, simmer until you like the look of it. I had ambitious plans for this broth (soup! with butternut squash! And sausage!), but in the end I’m just drinking it. I am more of an invalid than I like to admit.

It doesn't even LOOK interesting
It doesn’t even LOOK interesting


This was very much a remedial food item for me. Take some simple things, turn them into something simple. Nothing complicated, nothing fancy, hardly anything that could go wrong. It was like putting a task I’ve already finished on my to-do list, so I know I’ll be able to cross it off. It is a basic, unassuming, fundamental kind of food, and it was perfect for reminding me that I am, in fact, capable and competent. Every day doesn’t have to be a party.

And then I went for a run

OK, that’s kind of a lie. I said to Dita, “do you want to go for a run?!” But the truth is that we went for a very fast walk with some short bursts of jogging. What I really wanted was to go for a bike ride, but a certain dog is a little too unfocused and perhaps stupid to be trusted as a biking companion. Putting on my shoes and leaving the house was hard, as it always is on days like this, but it was so worth it.

There are, of course, some time- and science-tested foods and methods that can help you cope with depression, especially these smaller episodes. This article is a good place to start. I already ate some brazil nuts, and on Carlos’s brilliant recommendation, I’m going to go see about some kimchi. And take my little kid for a walk.