Tag Archives: depression

Dear Soul, Straighten up and Fly Right

12 Nov

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I’m not as bad as Mr. Hyde, in that I don’t get my kicks from spazzing out on the neighbors when night falls. But when night falls, I definitely grow darker. Feelings of loneliness heighten, and I start to feel anxious and upset. My internal freak outs run the gamut, from how to deal with being 27 and perfectly single to fear of nuclear attack from Iran; from the three pimples on my chin that are more resilient than a Twinkie to how our nation will ever recover if Hillary Clinton is elected president; from feeling like a loser with no friends to pondering the eternal state of my soul. Yes, I’m an utterly unbearable emotional diva between 11 pm and when I fall asleep, but the fact remains that I struggle with feeling restless and discontent.

Fortunately, I have a sister whose advice I tend to take to heart. She visited me here in College Park a couple of months ago, and we experienced a ghastly contemporary Christian service together. My takeaway: sitting at home staring at the wall would have brought me closer to God. Hers: at least there was an emphasis on Scripture memorization. And so, I decided to get to memorizing. First, James 1; next Isaiah 53; then Psalm 42; now Romans 8. But back-up to Psalm 42. King David’s mantra therein stuck with me:

“Why are you downcast, O my Soul?

Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

David is reasoning with his own soul. It’s a perplexing concept, to imagine a person using logic to straighten out his one immaterial (though immortal) aspect. Despite his pleas, David remains emotionally shipwrecked. He isn’t alone, either. Martin Luther referred to periods of feeling forsaken by God as Anfechtung, and Mother Teresa spent nearly half a century feeling disconnected from God.

Tim Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, opines that “half, two thirds, maybe three quarters of the depression that we experience as Christians is depression over our depression. We’re sad that we’re sad. We’re surprised that we’re surprised. We’re upset that we’re upset. And if [we] weren’t so upset about being upset, [we] wouldn’t be as upset.” Isn’t that the root of anxiety, deciding to focus on that which we cannot fix ourselves?

Life stings. It aches. It frustrates. It’s unsatisfying. But if we truly believe in David’s mantra, from start to finish, ultimately our temporary discomforts, pain, and anguish will fade away. Until then, after night is a new morning. There’s comfort food to keep you going, too, even in healthy varieties. Like this recipe from Julia’s Album, a mock alfredo sauce with cauliflower replacing the butter and heavy cream. I’ve tested it out and Julia knows what’s up, though I wouldn’t recommend the nutmeg addition.

CAULIFLOWER ALFREDO SAUCE: http://juliasalbum.com/2015/01/cauliflower-alfredo-sauce-recipe/

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CALORIES (per 1/2 cup serving): 70

Sating Leafy Longings

23 Jan

I have had a week of feeling uninspired and excited about little to nothing. When this occurs, I get terribly depressed and begin to question the value of everything – my life, humanity. In other words, I make an excellent depressed drama queen!

Fortunately, I have been reading the autobiography (Miles Gone By) of William F. Buckley Jr., one of the greatest American Conservative voices in the second half of the 20th century. He was a man of strong convictions and a lust for life. Something I read this past week helped to raise my spirits, which, if I may, I quote here:

“It is worth everything to preserve those oddments, to make them available to those who are graced with a thirst for them: that, or – nothing is worth anything at all. Henry Regnery was never confused on this point. As long as people are free to remember, there will be those who will give thanks to those who thought, as Henry has done, with loving care to preserve the tokens of hope and truth.”

Buckley was paying tribute to the memory of Henry Regnery, the man who published Buckley’s controversial first book God and Man at Yale. My interpretation of the ‘oddments’ being referred to is any knowledge or material item that reflects, simply put, freedom. This quote resonated with me (bone-deep!) because it made me realize I have no right to be depressed. What an amazing gift to be born an American, and  how beautifully does Buckley express his praise of our nation’s values.

So, no, I did not make freedom fries this week! I was, however, able to use the Buckley-induced burst of energy to cook quite prolifically this weekend. I am featuring in this post a Southwestern-styled salad, my own recipe:

SOUTHWEST SALAD

INGREDIENTS (Makes 1 Serving – should you still have leafy longings, scale-up is easy!):

– 2 cups iceberg lettuce, chopped

– 1/2 grape tomato, diced

– 1/4 red onion, diced

– 1 Tbs. fresh or frozen corn, thawed

– 1 Tbs. pepper jack cheese, grated

– 2 oz. (1/4 cup) boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into thin strips

– chicken seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic salt, red pepper flakes, cumin

DIRECTIONS:

1. Toss all ingredients together except for the chicken.

2. Season the chicken: Heat skillet. Place chicken in skillet and coat with Pam. Salt and pepper chicken. Season with garlic salt, red pepper flakes, and cumin to taste. If you have to have a measurement, I recommend a tsp. of each spice. Heat until chicken is cooked through.

3. Place grilled and seasoned chicken over bed of lettuce. Fork in!

CALORIES (per serving): 190

Dressing Options I recommend:

-Ken’s Light Honey Dijon Dressing (2 Tbs. = 70 cal)

– Ken’s Light Balsamic Vinaigrette (2 Tbs. = 60 cal)

Perhaps you like a different type of cheese, or have better dressing options. So, tweak away…and read a Buckley essay or watch a clip from his show Firing Line while crunching away!