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The Something About Food? Blog

This is the Something About Food? Blog, where Chef Chris Clarke discusses new podcast episodes, travel, restaurants, and more!

A blog about food, family, and travel by the mostly-vegan Chef Chris Clarke.   

Sum It Up Sunday - Face It

Talking about mental health has become less of a social minefield and more of a way to share and shine a light on what many folks go through. I’m going to share my most recent… episode? Incident? Mood swing? Depression? Whatever you call it, it happened and this is it.

 Me, after coming out of the depressive fog.

Me, after coming out of the depressive fog.

Halloween is usually a day I look forward to. I love to dress us and I adore seeing kids getting into the spirit of the day. Not this year. This year I barely woke up and dragged myself out of bed to walk the dog. (I’m currently house/dog sitting.)

The weather was warm, the sky was almost all blue and I just wanted to get back to the house and curl up on the couch. And I did. I felt overwhelmed.

The night before I’d met friends for Taco Tuesday, and had a blast celebrating my book coming out. I was worried about some formatting issues, margins and such that still plague the printing. Yet that didn’t keep me from laughing and eating some great food with some great friends.

And there I was, only 12 hours later, curled up on the couch deciding to “take a knee” for the day. That is how I describe my need, from time to time, to not do a damn thing for a whole day so that I can recharge or let the depression move on.

My mom was also a very big fan of Halloween. I am quite sure that not having her around to chat about it and share the costumes we’ve seen added to my general malaise. Missing her is always there, that absence feels much stronger at some times than at others.

My mind was racing as I lay there. Trying to sleep because I was exhausted by… nothing. “Where is my life headed? Where will I live in 4 months? Will my book sell? Can I make enough to live on? How can I vote in this election if I don’t really have an address, just a PO Box? Where is this country headed? Why aren’t people kind to one another? How can I help that one person who can’t seem to get their life together? Is my life together?” This and thousands of other thoughts swirled through my brain. There is no way to shut it off.

So I turned on the TV and found some mindless movies to watch. I fed myself, but it was the same thing I had eaten the day before. Because I, of all people, wasn’t really hungry. I knew I needed something. And yet there was no emptiness in my stomach, no need to fill myself with flavor and texture. This is one of the strongest signs that I am having a depressive moment. There was even an afternoon snack of fresh veg/fruit juice, dark chocolate, almond butter, and a banana, in the hopes that this nutritional alchemy would snap me out of it. It didn’t, at least not right away.

I was quite proud of myself for taking a shower and putting on clean clothes. Though there was some strong bargaining going on in my brain about whether or not I needed to shave both legs. A small mental victory was achieved when the second leg was completed. (These are the things my mind does when this cloud is upon me.)

There is a low-dose anti-depressant that I am on. It works really, really well. That a day or two every few months where the malaise slides through is nothing to what I used to deal with. After walking the dog in the late afternoon I retired to bed, with my computer in hand, to watch even more inane tv and let my mind settle. I turned on no lights so that the Trick or Treaters could go on to other houses where folks were eager to see them.

And the following day I was up and out, walking the dog, back at the computer in the a.m. getting some writing done, and eating breakfast. Later I met with a friend who when I told her about my sluggishness the day before stated: “Yeah I hate when that happens.” That is empathy. She didn’t try to cure me or say she was sorry (because she had nothing to do with it). She empathized. And on we went with our errands.

This, my friends, is how my depression manifests. I’m not here to talk about what others go through, but I would love to hear if you want to share. Please tell your story in the comments below. Stop the stigma. Share, empathize and be there for one another.

Oh and get out and vote.