Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving Depression

Depression just hit me the day before Thanksgiving. Thankfully, I was able to come out of it by the evening of Thanksgiving day.

Looking back, I probably started getting depressed in my teens. Certain things might be hard-wired by now. I’ve done cognitive behavioral therapy: to change negative thoughts into positive. But getting treatment this late might mean that it takes more effort to change things. And most of the time, it’s not about if I have negative thoughts or not. I just can’t get myself enthusiastic about anything. I just feel like crying for no reason.

Since I started getting treatment several years ago, I’ve been able to more and more recognize when I am depressed. It used to be that I only realized that I was ‘down’ when I came back up to my ‘normal’ level of mood. But noticing depression hasn’t made dealing with it much easier. I just can’t seem to shake it off. Sure, website and books tell me to do certain things when I’m depressed -

Exercise on regular bases, go outside: I walk my dog three times a day which could total up to 2 hours a day.

Eat healthy: I cook most of my meals and make sure it has tons of vegetables, good protein, and reasonable amount of starch.

Take enough sleep: I love to sleep. I take around 8 hours and I rarely let it be compromised by something other activity.

Listen to music: I turn my stereo on when I’m driving and listen on a regular bases.

Be social: I have social anxiety disorder. Going out to a party is a stress.

Do what you like to do: If I felt like doing something, I wouldn’t be depressed.

Keep moving: I’ve tried. I’ve made lists of small tasks, checked each things off as I go. But on a depressed day, I don’t feel any contentment or sense of accomplishment.

Sometimes it’s just hard. Getting depressed just a day before Thanksgiving really sucks. I had plans and was imaging a great day on Thanksgiving.

I don’t create recipes. I’ll usually look up couple of recipes on the web, pick one, and cook. I might increase oil or sugar but that’s about all I do. So to pay tribute to all the food bloggers and people who contribute recipes out there, I’m going to start posting recipes that I’ve recently tried and liked.

In the past few days I’ve made: 

Turkey Meatloaf: my husband wanted something ‘different’ from usual for this Thanksgiving. It was surprisingly good.
Rosemary Roasted Beets and Carrots: I love beets but was worried that my husband might get sick and tired of beet salad. This was a nice change and my husband loved it!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Cooking = Hobby or Cooking = Chore?

Do you cook because you like to, or do you cook because it’s part of housekeeping? This questions has been frequently on my mind recently. Well, the exact question I’m asking myself is ‘do I like cooking?’ Part of the reason is probably because I see so many food blogs. Every one of the author ‘likes’ or ‘loves’ to cook. The other reason is I sometimes don’t feel like it.

My husband and I both grew up with a stay-at-home mother. Hence we are used to eating homemade food. We learned basic cooking skills as we grew up.

Once I started living alone, I mostly cooked. Because it’s more economical, I’d be able to eat what I want, and I thought I should. Once he started college, my husband was in a co-op living with 3 other people and did cook.

Now, I cook most days. I also bake sandwich breads for most weeks. On weekends, I make pancakes, muffin, quick bread, and scones.

When we go out, for me, it’s because I’m tired of cooking, not because I want to eat a specific dish in a specific restaurant. For my husband, pretty much the only reason he eats out is, because I begged off cooking that night.

I’m grateful that my husband grew up like me and appreciate homemade food. But it does become a pressure to ‘deliver’. 

And that might be the exact reason I started seeing cooking more as a chore, instead of an exciting endeavor. Reading Julie Wunder’s post ‘Do More of What Makes You Happy!’ reminded me that I actually LOVE to bake. I’m not saying that I’m good, I’m not creative enough to come up with a recipe, but each time I put something in the oven, I can’t wait for it to come out, hoping that whatever I put in has risen/puffed up. That is even if I’ve made the recipe multiple times. 
So I am going to try to look at cooking as something I want to do. It may not become a hobby, but at least I won’t feel burdened.

What part of cooking do you like? What makes you cooking everyday?

As I mentioned, I don’t create recipes. I’ll usually look up couple of recipes on the web, pick one, and cook. I might decrease oil or sugar but that’s about all I do. So to pay tribute to all the food bloggers and people who contribute recipes out there, I’m going to start posting recipes that I’ve recently tried and liked.

In the past few days I’ve made:

Amish White Bread: really flavorful and soft
Ukrainian Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup: I was hesitant because I’m not a big fan of sweet and sour pork but this was good 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Excellent Day?

I had an appointment with my psychiatrist last week. My homework was to keep a mood log to see if there is any pattern in my occasional mood dips.

I used ‘Moody Me’, an app that helps me do that on my phone. Doing that, I noticed one thing. For good moods, I can chose between I’m ‘okay’, ‘good’, or ‘excellent’. In the past three months while I’ve been keeping tract, I never felt the urge to press ‘excellent’. So I asked my psychiatrist if I’m depressed or normal because of that. He, in turn, asked me how I’d define each. This was my thought:

‘Okay’: not depressed
‘Good’: probably days when I’ve shared a laugh with my husband just before I logged
‘Excellent’: looking forward to the day, excited about the day

So he asked me, when was the last time I felt excited about starting a day. 

I didn’t have a ready answer. On work days, work had always been a stress. Once I start actually working, I’m OK. I don’t ponder on if I like the job or not. And I feel great if I helped solve a problem or if I was able to get the patient to understand what lifestyle changes are needed. But looking forward was what I was not.

On weekends, I was just relieved that I didn’t have to go to work (would it count as ‘excited’?). If there was something planned, I’d always worried about how that would affect my chores, my studies, reading, and relaxing time.

How would you define your ‘excellent day’?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Cellphone, Yay or Nay?

In October, there was the incident at Spring Valley High School, SC in which an officer slamming a student on the floor over cellphone use.

It was excessive use of force and there is not excuse for the officer’s actions. 

But in the aftermath of the incident, because of the officer’s action, I think another discussion that could have occurred simply got ignored: is it OK for students to use cellphones while class is going on?

Do you want to be the teacher standing there talking when one or more students keep using their cellphone?

Photo Credit: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

I don’t think it is OK. It is disrespectful and disruptive. If they are not interested in listening to the class, they should leave so as not to disrupt the class. I don’t think it is a matter of the teacher giving an interesting enough class so that students aren’t tempted to use their cellphones. 

Universal restriction of cellphone use is unrealistic. Emergencies can happen. Dangers, such as school shootings need to be notified.

And shouldn’t students know that it is not OK without been told by teachers? Isn’t that something that they should learn at home, that not paying attention to someone who is speaking to them at any point in time is rude, not just in classrooms but anywhere and by anyone?

Friday, November 6, 2015

I need MRI-vision !

Does your doctor explain treatment to you? Does you doctor ask if you have any questions?

Because mine isn’t and it’s getting me frustrated. Here is what happened: I twisted my ankle about a month ago. From the bruising and the x-ray it was pretty obvious that I tore more than one ligament. The doctor prescribed me CAM Boots and told me that I’m to keep it on at all times, except while showering. Walking and sleeping at night with it was a pain. But I endured it because I wanted to make sure my ankle healed correctly and to make sure that I can use my ankle without a problem in the future.

I was left wondering how ligaments going to heal if they were totally ruptured. I googled it. It didn’t help. The most I can get was that they usually heal without surgery by stabilizing it.


The above is my x-ray. I have an avulsion fracture on the right side of the thick bone. (You might already know this but) Avulsion fracture is what happens when the ligament is pulled so hard that instead of tearing somewhere in the middle, it tears away the bone it’s connected to. You can see a sliver of bone on the right side. So is that bone going to travel back few millimeters to the bone and stick to where it was originally?


I went for a follow-up visit last week. The place where the avulsion fracture occurred was still a little swollen and tender when touched. This time the doctor prescribed me an ankle support. Then he marked some medical codes on a paper, jot down a small note and left… without even telling me if I was to keep it on all day long or what.

At the initial appointment, I actually stopped him walking to the door and said, ‘I have two questions.’ He answered my first question while opening the door and I had to quickly insert my second question to get my answer. The second time, I didn’t have enough time to come up with a question. It’s so frustrating. I’m pretty sure doctors are busy. But….. I need an MRI-vision so that I can see how things are going in my ankle. Especially since the avulsion fracture site started hurting occasionally when I walk.

I usually avoid seeing a doctor. I just hope that anything and everything will heal on it’s own. This experience will only enforces that bad (according to my husband) habit. 

Does your doctor explain anything? Does your doctor ask if you have any questions?