Friday, April 15, 2016

Needs vs. Wants

Since I’ve been unemployed, I feel really guilty about buying things that are ‘wants’ more than ‘needs’. I think I can live a much simpler and organized life if I can stick to just ‘needs’. How do you curtail your ‘wants’?

And there are things that sort of come in-between ‘wants’ and ‘needs’. Like a 2 cup Pyrex glass measuring cup. I have a 1 cup one. I bought a 2 cup plastic one but found that it isn’t accurate. I could have kept using just the one cup. But a 2 cup one makes cooking ‘easier’. I can even break an egg in a 2 cup, beat it with a small beater in the cup, then put a cup or more of other liquid ingredients and adjust if necessary (when the egg turns out to be less than 1/4 cup).

Another thing that I consider as in-between ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ is pierces. I might find maybe a pair of pierce that I like once a year. I don’t go hunting for them so when I find one it’s a serendipitous encounter that I might not be able to reproduce (like finding one at a travel destination). If I don't get it then, I might never be able to get the exact one. A pierce can elevate my mood. It’s not a necessity but has benefits to my well being.

                                     (By Dana Payne & By Pål Berge from Bryne, Norway, via Wikimedia Commons)

Things that are ‘wants’ are books, music, rarely a piece of clothing (ex., a Denver Bronchos Super Bowl championship sweatshirt when I already have enough sweatshirts).

Maybe I need to have a budget for my ‘wants’? Maybe I should decide how often I can purchase from my ‘wants’ list?

I cook most of the meals but I don’t create recipes. I rely on recipes on the web and books. So to pay tribute to all the food bloggers and people who contribute recipes out there, I’m  posting recipes that I’ve recently tried and liked.
In March I’ve made:

Irish Brown Bread: so far the best recipe I’ve tried for Irish brown bread.
Irish Butter Cookies: Nutty, Buttery, and crispy

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Depression and Sexuality

Sexuality and Depression

According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, ’on average, 20 people per minute are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner’, ‘nearly 2 million women raped in a year.

‘Rape’ is a strong word and I’m not comfortable using that word for my experience. But if rape means ‘sexual intercourse against one’s will’, it would fit the bill.

About a decade ago when I did not have the diagnosis of depression, the incident happened. Looking back, I’m sure I was depressed at the time. My partner wanted sex and reached out to me. I just remember thinking, ‘no, no’ in my mind, not being able to react in any way. I was just lying there. My partner maybe didn’t realize that I wasn’t reacting at all. He reached climax and then rolled over and went to sleep pretty quickly. It was unusual, in the sense that usually he lingers afterwards.

I think it is due to that experience, I started thinking men just want to have sex to get pleasure; that it probably didn’t even matter who they are with; they just need a warm body.

The thought did not turn me away from sex immediately. But whenever there was a discord in sexual communication, the idea would return, each time gaining more power. I wish I could do away with the thought. I wish that that incident didn’t happen or that I could go back to the pre-incident set of mind.

Having depression doesn’t help. It’s said that with depression, you have decreased libido. Which is understandable since you just don’t find interest in doing anything with depression. But on the other hand, most of the antidepressants have side effect of decreased libido. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. 

Sexual intercourse became an obligation. I totally wouldn’t mind if I never had another one.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Depression and Memory

One thing I really worry about my depression is it’s effect on my memory. I can’t remember a lot of things and I don’t know if it’s normal or it’s because of my depression.

When I was a child (well, now too), I was a fan of Sherlock Holmes. I read in one of his stories that he has a good memory of what he’s interested in but doesn’t bother remember things he considered unworthy of remembering. I thought that was cool (don’t ask me why). But at the time, for a while, I remember deciding what information is important and what’s not important enough for me to remember. I don’t remember what exactly I thought was worthless. That could have a long effect, too.

Like if I was asked what was on the school entrance exam one year later, I can't recall. I can’t remember who the culprit was in mysteries that I’ve only read once. I can’t recall a lot of things that I did during international vacations (which I’d think are impressionable). 

By Doctor Jana, via Wikimedia Commons

I feel like my brain is a sieve. Because depression is one of the risk for having dementia, it’s really scary. I hope I can leave this world before I lose my mind totally. Am I a coward?

Monday, March 14, 2016

New Medication for My Depression

Previously, I mentioned that I’m ready to try another antidepressant. 

At the last appointment I had with my psychiatrist I said that since I’m tired of being tired, I want to try another medication. I had read about a newer drug that increased ‘functionality’. Unfortunately, since it was too new and only had brand name medication my insurance will not cover it. The insurance company website recommended a different drug from the same class. So I bought that name up in my appointment. Reviewing all the medications I’ve tried so far, it turned out that I have tried one medication in that class. But like most medication, it made me sleepy and did not work for me. And when I get sleepy from side effects, it’s really dangerous. I would have to fight my sleepiness while driving. There were more than a few times I’ve swerved from my lane. Thank God, I commuted in a rural area with very few traffic. There were few times when I just stopped, parked my car at the shoulder, and took a five to ten minute nap to be able to continue driving. 

Anyway, in case of antidepressants, just because one medication doesn’t work doesn’t mean another from the same class will not work. So I tapered off one of the antidepressants I was taking and started on the new medication. I think I’ve been doing a lot better. A lot less tired. I’m probably sticking to this medication until further problem arises. Just like that, after trying so many medication, I think I’ve found the ones that works for me. I might have to (probably have to) take them for the rest of my life, but I’m still grateful.

By Keffy, via Wikimedia Commons

The problem with having depression is that you don’t know what’s your normal or average person’s normal. I can’t say I’m totally at the level before I had depression. But since it was when I was a child, it’s difficult to compare, too. But as long as I can think and act without too much difficulty, I think it’s OK.

As a side note, my psychiatrist introduced me to a device, a brain stimulator. He said that since I had depression for long and am finding trouble finding good medication, I can try it. It looks weird but it is FDA approved for treatment. 

Guns, Guns, and More Guns (Now on Campus)

Last Friday, March 11th, Georgia Senate passed (37-17 vote) a bill that would allow canceled guns on all public colleges .

How are we going to know who is going to be the next mass shooter? Since multiple students will have it, just having a gun wouldn’t raise any alarms.

What if one students shoots another student and claims self-defense? The shooter can say that the shooter was certain the other student had a gun (no matter if he/she actually had one or not) and was about to take it out and felt danger to own’s life.

A female student can be assaulted easily at gun point.

By Alian Gear Holster, via Wikimedia Commons

But as incredulous the news sounded to me, I found out that this is NOT the first state to do so (I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised?). Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Missisippi, Oregon, Utah, Wisconsin, Texas have already done so (is someone going to tell me that there is no increase in violence in these state campuses since canceled weapons have been allowed?)

U.S. seems less and less like a civilized country. In a civilized country, people rely on law and law enforcement officers to keep the peace. U.S. is going back to those days (wild, wild west) when the land was still wild, no reliable law and officers, and you had to defend for yourself.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Emotional Quandary - Differences in Life Goals

The last 2,3 weeks have been difficult. Do you have expectations for your partner’s career when you get married?

I did. And just recently, after close to 10 years of marriage, I realized that his goal was different from what I assumed it was. To be honest, I was upset, disappointed. I questioned if what I’ve done had affected his manner; if I had worked harder would he have worked harder; am I as mediocre professionally as he is, is that why we are together?

But then, couple of things occurred to me. 
  1. It was my ‘assumption’ no matter what he said or did.
  2. Reaching a certain hight in career is not in everyone’s life goals or means to an end. 
  3. He is the same person I married: gentle, patient, knowledgable.
  4. It’s not like I don’t waste time surfing on the web so who am I to throw stones?

Nothing has changed. I was the fool, making assumption. I also came to the conclusion that for our dreams to come true, I need to do a lot more in my career. We have so far lived wherever he gets a job but that might not get us where we want to be.

By hobvias sudoneighm, via Wikimedia Commons

But I’m still bitter. He hasn’t taught summer courses for the last 7 years and was able to work on his hobby (I thought it was his 2nd job but it doesn’t seem like it anymore). He has taken trips 2,3 times a year (national and international) and bought pretty pricy softwares for his hobby/2nd job. While I worked year around and took on house-work as my job, my 2nd job so that he has enough time for his jobs.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Caffeine and Depression

Couple of years ago when I was trying to find a way out of my depression, I came across a lot of websites like these, that recommended not drinking caffeine or at least decreasing the amount to drink.

I’ve didn’t really take it to heart since I only drank a cup of coffee in those days. But in the last few years my caffeine consumption has increased, especially when I’m home on the weekends. I will end up drinking 1-2 cups of coffee (no sugar) and 2 cans of diet soda a day. I’ve tried switching sodas to tea (caffeinated) thinking that at least it’s a healthier option. But it’s just so easier and time efficient to get a can of soda vs. taking time boiling water, steeping, and then taking out the tea bags. 

So just last week I decided to find what was wrong with drinking moderate amounts of caffeine. I don’t chug these drinks. I will drink it at least over an hour time span. And I definitely am not a Red Bull drinker.

By C. Michael Neely via Wikimedia Commons

An old study done in 1978 on psychiatric patients reported that there is a relationship between high caffeine consumption and worse depressive symptoms.

Another study published in 1981 looking at caffeine consumption of college students reported that compared to people who don’t drink caffeine, students who drank had higher rates of anxiety and depression.

But this could be that people with depression drink more caffeine to get a boost of their energy or mood. I certainly am more prone to grab a diet soda on days that I’m not doing well but I have things I need to be doing. And a study in 2009 studying the effect of caffeinated chewing gum seemed to support this idea. People who were given caffeinated gum seemed to be more alert and energetic.

And another study in 2008 seem to back up this idea. Teens with depression were found to drink more caffeine but as treatment for for depression progressed, they drank less compared to those who did not get any treatment for depression.

More recently there has been articles claiming possible benefits of caffeine. The two articles by the same lead author in 2011 and 2012 concluded that people were less depressive and less suicidal the more they drank caffeine.

This interesting study although done on mice, found that caffeine had decreased the effects of stressful situations.

This article ( 2015 that looked at 11 different studies concluded that risk of depression decreased with increase in caffeine consumption.

But there is one caveat, there does seem to be withdrawal symptoms from caffeine intake. So you might want to keep your caffeine consumption at a certain level daily. But this study in 1992 was done on ‘normal’ adults. It might be different for people who have depression.

This article wrote in 2014 on the Mayo Clinic webpage seems to summarize the current idea between caffeine and depression. 


When you think of China, Japan, England where people drink tea, another source of caffeine, I think it will be difficult to claim that caffeine increases or even decreases depression. In China and Japan, people drink caffeinated tea all day and there isn’t a epidemic of depression in either countries. Nor are they totally free from depression and suicide.

What does caffeine do to you? Why do you drink coffees and sodas?

I cook most of the meals but I don’t create recipes. I rely on recipes on the web and books. So to pay tribute to all the food bloggers and people who contribute recipes out there, I’m  posting recipes that I’ve recently tried and liked.
In the past few days I’ve made:

Strawberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Bars: Made it for Valentines Day. Pretty rich.

Satay Chicken Noodle Salad: Very good and pretty to look at with all the colors. Made a warm version for a winter night dinner.