Today I woke up blue… real blue… that ‘low with no real reason to feel that way blue’, that ‘you went to bed peachy keen and rolled out the other side like the bottom just dropped out’ blue. There are two things I can always tap into that turn that deep blue around: hitting up the movie theatre by myself and hitting up the kitchen for some playtime
I’ve been dealing with depression my whole adult life, but it’s only in the last handful of years that I have made headway with a great doctor and some helpful medication (don’t tell Tom Cruise about that last part). Those days that I can’t get out of bed come with much more time between spells, but they still come. It affects my ability to sleep, my need to self-medicate, my self-confidence and physically feels like a big ol’ boot is pinning me down. I’ve made really positive changes, but these days still come and they always will.
I’m lucky to have a great support in Johnny and our little pup Emmett. This morning, or shall I say afternoon, I just couldn’t do it. It was passed noon and I was epically exhausted and resolved to stay in bed until I had to leave for work that evening. And why not? I already missed the window of doing anything productive with my day, may as well call it a wash. Failure…. stay down… you’re just killing time…
It isn’t my intent to get dark here with you all – to be a Dana Downer. I just know that there are hundreds of thousands of people that feel the same way I do on any given day. That feel like they wake up in a hole and it takes the better part of the day to climb to solid ground. I personally have found it helpful to read about other people’s journeys, what picks them up and how they go on.
My guy picked me up this day – literally. Johnny hoisted me from the bed wrapped in our comforter and took me to the living room sofa. He plopped our pup in my lap and put on the latest “Brooklyn 99”.
I don’t have a proven method, but this day that was all I needed – a gentle comic nudge and knowing that a tiny step in the right direction was all I had to take at that moment everything else would follow. And it did. It took an hour to get the ol’ engines fired up, but I got to the shower and even left the house early to write this for you.
My doctor told me something a while back that has lingered (I am greatly paraphrasing): depression is the act of looking inside yourself at how the world affects you – living is looking outward at how you affect the world.
BLUEBERRY CORNBREAD WITH MAPLE BLUEBERRY SAUCE
makes 9 squares
I have a delightful memory from childhood of a super early morning breakfast on the road to a Vermont ski vacation. It was still dark and cold and we rolled into an Perkins after a long drive. I ordered blueberry pancakes – sweet and warm and fluffy. On our table was an epic array of flavoured syrups: apple, chocolate, strawberry and so on. So that grey morning as the sun began to spread its rosy glow, I delighted in my 1st plate of blueberry pancakes with blueberry maple syrup. I love this combination with the cornbread because it’s not too sweet. You can easily eat these guys on their own without the syrup, but for an extra treat add a couple tablespoons of this gorgeous sauce warmed up and channel your inner child-self.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
3/4 cup yogurt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup melted butter
zest of 1 lime (juice used in syrup below)
1 cup blueberries
Preheat your oven to 400F. Lightly grease an 8×8 square pan – I prefer cast iron, but any will do.
Combine all your dry ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl. In a small bowl whisk the rest of your ingredients save the berries. Fold the wet into the dry mixing until just incorporated. Gently add in the blueberries. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 – 25 minutes if using cast iron or metal – closer to 30 minutes if you are using Pyrex or ceramic.
Bake until the edge just begin to brown and a a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with syrup or without.
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup and 2 tbsp water
1 tbsp cornstarch
Combine the blueberries, maple syrup, lime juice and 1/4 cup of the water in a saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow the sauce to reduce a little and the berries to become jammy but still intact. Keep an eye that it doesn’t burn. In a separate small bowl or cup mix the cornstarch and last of the water. Stir into a paste making sure it’s no longer powdery. Add it to the saucepan and stir until it has thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool until needed.
* limes work really well here with the blueberries, but try swapping lemons or oranges for a new take
** I’ve used frozen berries to some success. It absolutely works in the sauce, but if using frozen blueberries for the cornbread make sure you defrost them and thoroughly rinse them – they bleed into the bread and give it a slightly purple tint… it won’t affect the taste though.