Archives for: December 2014
Years ago, I struggled with depression. I was even hospitalized for it a few times. Over the years, I found that supplements worked better for me than drugs, and later I discovered how various foods made me feel. It was easy to track nasal congestion to dairy consumption, but seeing that I got angry and short-tempered from wheat took longer to notice.
When I found the Blood Type Diet, I thought I’d left depression behind me forever. I’ll stay away from the foods that might trigger depression, and I won’t ever get depressed again. Simple, right? Wrong!
Diet cannot fix absolutely everything. It didn’t keep my ex-husband from getting cancer, and it’s not going to shield any of us from grief. My children are losing their father and I’m losing a friend. I also have to somehow support my children while they’re losing their father, even while I’m having a hard time holding myself together. That tendency to depression never really went away; I simply managed to keep it under control. I’m having a much harder time with that now.
I’ve had some really bad days lately. There were a few where I “forgot to eat” because I just didn’t have any appetite, or the energy to prepare food. The depression I already faced was multiplied by low blood sugar, and dehydration, plus I wasn’t taking my supplements regularly when I wasn’t eating. The end result was a feeling of being completely cut off from the world, barely able to keep going. I had a lot of days like that 15 and a half years ago, shortly before I wound up in the hospital.
I do NOT want to end up in the hospital again. I need to take better care of myself so that doesn’t happen. I started the process to get therapy, but that will take a few weeks before I have my first session. I’ve begun making sure I have a good breakfast in the mornings. Even if I’m not hungry, I’ll sauté up some onions and garlic, add frozen peas or spinach, then eggs. The first day I did that, the smell of the cooking vegetables nauseated me. I just WASN’T hungry. But then I managed to eat the entire thing and felt better afterwards. I took another look at my supplements. I increased the dose of one and started taking a couple that I’d stopped.
Another big help is Bach Flower Remedies. They work well, but it takes some time and focus to figure out which ones I currently need. While depressed, I found it hard to do that, and the old bottle I’d mixed up for myself was long since empty. I made the time to figure out which remedies I now need and prepared a new treatment bottle for myself. Remembering to take it a few times a day is the easy part.
All these little changes are starting to help. When I suddenly realized it would be Hanukkah in a few hours, I didn’t panic. Really, we’d put things away well enough last year, and it only took 15 or 20 minutes for Leah to set up all the menorahs nicely. Then I was able to sit and watch the candles burn down with a sense of peace.
Last Saturday, Jack had his Bar Mitzvah! This means that he’s an adult according to Jewish law. He’s old enough to count in a minion (prayer quorum) and read from the Torah. This is a pretty big deal in a Jewish boy’s life, and the custom is to have a large party to celebrate it. Specific customs regarding the party vary quite a bit from one place to another. I’ve been to Bar Mitzvah celebrations that were fancier than some weddings!
The party we had was modest by New York standards. We planned a Saturday afternoon service, rather than the traditional Saturday morning service, for a few reasons. Primarily, it’s because the Torah needs to be read on Shabbos, but Jewish law forbids us to do things like play music and take photographs during Shabbos. So we wanted the party Saturday night after dark, and having an afternoon Bar Mitzvah service means less time waiting around between the service and the party. The Torah is also read on Monday and Thursday mornings, but those days are inconvenient for family members we wanted to attend.
After Jack read from the Torah, we all shouted “Mazel Tov” and threw candy at him. We made sure to buy individually wrapped gummy candies- nothing too hard that might hurt! After the service, we had a small meal for the congregation. We had a variety of cold foods and salads, which included a few kinds of fish and egg salad. We also served challah bread. The party downstairs after Shabbos included both hot and cold foods and 3 kinds of meat- but there were still plenty of options for the vegetarian guests.
I’d had a long talk with the caterer about 2 months ago, talking about my dietary needs, and balancing that with having a nice spread that would please the most people. I told her to avoid gluten, corn, and potatoes in my food, but I didn’t worry about any other “avoids.” The chicken nuggets were made with regular wheat-based bread crumbs, but she used gluten-free crumbs in the meatballs and rice flour to thicken the gravy for the chicken Marsala. We had rice, but not pasta, as I’m too afraid of cross-contamination, and I knew I’d want to be able to eat the leftovers. Jack insisted on a minestrone soup with pasta, but we also had a split pea soup that I could eat.
Everything seemed perfect during the planning. I’d been unable to locate a specific product- Mary’s Gone Crackers “just the crumbs” so I ended up buying a box of the whole crackers, figuring she could crush them herself. But she managed to locate another brand of gluten-free crumbs that were 100% rice flour, so there was no need to crush the crackers. The crackers could be served at the cold meal instead.
When I arrived at shul on Saturday, half an hour before the service was scheduled to begin, I saw that she’d already started setting up the meal. Among other things, she’d put out two platters of challah- with the gluten-free crackers on the same dishes beside the sliced bread! With all the discussions of what I could and could not eat, somehow we’d never discussed bread crumbs on crackers being a problem? A single crumb could make me sick for weeks.
What I did was take a plate and carefully selected crackers from the edges of the platters, and put those crackers aside for myself. The plate was waiting for me after the service. When we brought the leftovers home, all those crackers were placed into a clean grocery bag. They’re still in that bag, now sitting on my kitchen table. My kids will finish them.
All in all the Bar Mitzvah was a huge success and we’re all very proud of Jack.