I, like many people, have been barely coping with depression this year. Coping just enough to get by, monthly if not weekly second-guessing past decisions against pharmacological intervention in the hopes that it will resolve on its own. How can anything when the problem is maybe not me but capitalism, and the conditions of my life and labor nearly 2 years into our highly localized, contingent, never-quite-trustworthy slow pandemic fade out? How the fuck are any of us able to keep pretending “this is fine”?
How? The macro is a swirling overwhelm and needs to be processed in solidarity and consensus-driven collective action. In due time. In the meantime I follow Confucius: change starts at home.
I feel like too many different parts of my body have been or are being eaten by the normal wear and tear of aging and chronic stress – also a normal category, but one which I refuse the normalization of because we should all collectively engage in refusing a politics of life that rationalizes and accepts our chronic stress and the very real ways that it breaks our bodies. As I write this I am forced to confront the physicality of my stress. Acknowledging that the pressure over my sternum is not merely the constriction of a compression bra. My inability to deeply take a breath. The pain spindled through the superior margin of my trapezius and into my occiput, vibrating with all the pent-up frustration of my maladaptive habitus until I breathe it out, slowly resetting my scapula on a frontal plane with my spine. I am familiar with how to human. However, sitting with my discomfort made me so uncomfortable that I actually took an hour long (inadvertent) break between writing that last sentence and just now, trying to distract myself. Today I am feeling all my aches, awash in a puddle of all my unshedable tears and messy feels, a toad in a well, and I fucking hate it.
As an act of catharsis, having been reading the energy in the room (so to speak) for the past week and deciding now the time is right, I’m presenting something that has recently helped me cope with one of my many depression issues, eating. Depressed me can’t meal plan for shit. Depressed me is uninspired, non-creative to a fault, trapped in a samsaric cycle of toasting bread and forgetting it was in the toaster and forgetting I was maybe hungry and remembering it an hour later when I’m definitely hungry and wishing I had the energy to turn that toast into breadcrumbs for some future/other/better meal instead of salvaging it before eating now slightly burnt reheated toast. Depressed me buys vegetables and forgets them in the crisper bin because instead I’ve been calling binge eating a bag of salty fried snack foods a meal. Yet oh so cruelly, past experience has trained me that crawling out of wells is energy consuming work, and forcing myself to do even just a little bit better with meal planning that meets me where I’m at is good fortification for the struggle. So, for all my friends and fam who are too depressed to actually think about food, let alone savor the erstwhile/otherwise pleasant experiences of cooking and tasting, I present to you this list of depression meals.
My mantra in making all these “recipes” is one of the most key phrases everyone should know in Mandarin: chabuduo (less, not more).
Depression meals (for one)
Ugh, feed me anything now
Cold: Basic af smoothie, add powdered ginger to assuage inner-acupuncturist
Warm: Grain powder (oat)milk
I can heat, but not plan
Toast or crackers or a warm tortilla with fat, salt
Tortilla or toast
Spinach, or tomato, or salad greens
Parboiled then quick fried potato slices
Crispy fried egg and greens
Boiled and topped with butter
Roasted with garlic
Baked and topped with whatever the fuck
Fried and topped with something from the fridge door
Heat? Fuck you
Seasonal fruit: pear, peaches, oranges, berries
An egg: maybe hard-boiled, maybe fried, maybe poached
Fridge and pantry charcuterie
Take whatever the fuck ready to eat things you can find and make them look pretty on a plate
I plan ahead for hard days
Frozen leftovers, aka homemade frozen tv dinner
I feel like putting in an effort
2+ side dishes as main, serve with rice
Breakfast eaten whenever
- Breakfast cookies
I’d rather use music as a drug to treat my pain
Chutes (mood music for frogs alone in wells)
Ladders (leap up and outta that well, froggie friend)