Sitting In Others Sadness- Depression and Connection

If you want to know how strong a person is, see how they handle feeling weak.

Last week was a long and miserable one, not least because when I woke up on Monday morning it felt like the color had drained from the world. Nothing tasted good, I had no energy or will to do anything, but all the guilt of doing nothing. As I dragged myself around the house in the early morning, half-coasted my bike to the shop and turned on the ovens, I knew that I was in a depressive episode.

I reached out to others- not for help, or even for pity, but connection. Lots of people responded, and I was grateful for that- but not everyone knows why or how to be helpful in those situations.

How do you help someone manage depression? You just be there.

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Living With Your Limits

It’s another of the best worst bits of advice you can give someone. It means well, it’s true, but it’s also false and ignoring it can lead to ruination, pain, and injury.

”There are no limits.”
”The only limit to what you can do is what you put on yourself.”

You see them all the time on motivational posts and calendars- and the annoying thing is that it’s true! In a lot of cases, the only thing holding us back from what we want most is just a couple decisions that we make for ourselves, with no gatekeepers other than ourselves. As soon as you realize that, you are a monumental step closer to living the kind of life you want.

In some cases, though, pretending there are no limits to what you can do can lead to serious, painful problems. Let’s be real here: winners quit all the time, and successful people know when to take (and give!) “No” as an answer. They know their limits. They may test them, even stretch them, but they respect them- because they know that failing to do so can lead to self-destruction.

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The Pursuit of Coziness

Do other people get prescribed time in a rocking chair with a blanket and a cup of tea, or is it just me?

Not too long ago, as the holiday season was winding down and we were getting ready to shut down the bakery for a week, my therapist asked what I intended to do with my time off. I rattled off several writing projects, new daily exercise goals, travel to see my family… and my therapist asked “Ok, but are you going to rest?
“Um… yeah? I mean, I intend to but there’s plenty I’ve been putting off because of the holidays and…”
“Matt, are you familiar with hygge?”
“Yeah, that’s something like ‘coziness’ right?”
“Yes, but intentionally. Find time to deliberately make yourself as comfortable as possible and be okay with doing nothing.”

Well… doctor’s orders.

Animated Gif of a bottle and glass of Jack Daniels whiskey with some one playing guitar in shadow in the background
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Gratitude in the Kitchen

Sorry for missing last week, friends and neighbors. We landed the metaphorical plane on Thanksgiving, but the cost was completely wiping out my personal energy reserves. Last Friday, I literally spent half the day sleeping.

I’m feeling a bit more together now, and I really wanted to get this post out there before Thanksgiving was too far from our minds. Appropriately, I’d like to start this post off by thanking you all for your patience.

So… what does gratitude look like in the culinary world?

Animated GIF of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet carrying a text balloon that says "Thank You" and then bowing.
It’s not usually this cute… but it’s my blog and I love Winnie the Pooh.
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Winding Down

The rain is dripping off my coat as I fumble finding the right key in the dim early-morning light outside the bakery. House key, house key, bike lock key, multi-tool, office key… got it. A little finagling and I’m in out of the rain. At least there’s that. Autumn in Portland heralds the rainy season.
Isn’t every month in Portland the ‘rainy season’ though?”
Yes. Haha, you’re very funny.

Quickly locking the door behind me and switching off the alarm, I put the water kettle on to boil then turn on the lights in the kitchen. There’s some slight detritus from the last shift, but overall my team keeps things clean and tidy. I see the small pile of recipes at my station that apparently don’t scale correctly or need to be re-written, along with the daily production checklist I made for my team. I’ll deal with those later- there’s a bigger fish to dry waiting in the office.

Opening the office door, I drop my bag on the desk and switch on the light. Sitting in front of me in my boss’s spreadsheet outlining our Thanksgiving orders and their due dates. We have over 2000 pies due between now and Christmas, and private orders are still coming in. This was always going to be the biggest challenge of the year, and of this job. I knew it. I figured I’d be prepared. I’d done some banquet organizing and logistics work before, after all. How much more different could this be?

Staring down at the spreadsheet, I can already feel the television static fuzzing my vision. I’ve got a lot of work to do, and not a lot of time to do it.

Tea first, though.

Close-up picture of blooming tea in a glass mug on a wooden table. Chinese tea paraphernalia is in the background.
Photo by NIKOLAY OSMACHKO on Pexels.com
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