Hello my lovelies! This week just gone was Mental Health Awareness Week here in NZ. I had a little wobble and am proud of my response. I watched some horrors on Friday the 13th. I experimented making beeswax food wraps. And I got a surprise gift.
As you know I am not shy about sharing my experiences around mental illness. I think it’s important even if it’s hard for me. To go with International Mental Health Awareness Day, NZ has a week dedicated to the same issue. The stigma that is still attached to mental illness makes it hard for people to seek help either professionally or from their loved ones. I am incredibly lucky to have friends and family who either understand or know that they don’t understand and accept that my experiences are valid. That second part is key. It’s hard to understand if you haven’t experienced it. It’s hard to think that a brain might not work properly in a similar way to a muscle or another organ. But it’s really important for those of us who do deal with all kinds of mental illness that our experience isn’t dismissed as “made up.” Or that we’re just not trying hard enough to cheer up. I will literally punch you if I hear you say that. Most mental illness isn’t even rare. Depression and anxiety are so common as to be vanilla. I’m just plain mental. As opposed to serious mental. Or debilitating mental. We need to feel normal. Because we are. And that’s how you can help.
On a related note I am having a proud moment. Towards the end of the week I was feeling a bit low. But I managed to recognise that I was mildly depressed and it was affecting my mood and attitudes. I’m pretty sure that I don’t suddenly dislike things. Especially considering they were fulfilling and interesting mere days ago. So if I’m not living a lie then maybe it’s something else. Like the chemicals in my brain. It was quite empowering to know that I can identify signs that I’m having a tough time. And I have a toolkit of things to help. I focus on routines. Eating better. Getting outside. Setting goals in smaller chunks. All good stuff. I’m lucky that I can use lifestyle changes to manage myself. Others can’t and that’s ok too.
On Friday I continued a proud tradition of watching horror movies with my friend and ex-flatmate. He made amazing spaghetti. We had cardamom buns with apple and cream in them. We watched Jamie Lee Curtis – greatest of horror queens – lay down the law. We got some good jump scares. We criticised the poor decision making. And predicted who would die. All good stuff.
On the weekend I tried making beeswax food wraps. I am trying to use less plastic. I hardly ever get plastic bags when I shop. But it’s the plastic wrap that’s hard. I use shower caps to cover my bowls of dough when I’m making bread but it’s still plastic at the end of the day. I had mixed success with my first batch but know the way forward. As I went on my technique improved but I think I need to change the proportions of wax and almond oil because they are too stiff when they have cooled. If I ever get it right I will put up a tutorial about it.
You guys. When I got up on Sunday morning there was a new friend waiting for me. On my bookshelf. While we were out and about on Saturday enjoying the sunshine my snug bug snuck off and picked up a treat for me! Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh. It’s very exciting. I had been coveting it. I have been trying to control my book purchasing of late so hadn’t picked it up yet. Just gazed at it in stores and sighed quietly to myself. It’s such a great book. You should get a copy of you can. Come to think of it there is now a vacancy on my Christmas list…
Support others without judgement. Eat spaghetti. Use less plastic. Look after each other.