By Lyndsey Hafer-Williams
Mar 2, 2019,
I’m in a funk. Some might call it a wave of sadness or the winter blues. I just call it the funk. It happens twice a year like clockwork. Once in the heat of August and then again in the cold of February and March. It is so predictable, yet I’m surprised every time it hits.
I’m lethargic, grumpy, and generally uninterested in the things that usually bring joy to my life. My days feel devoid of color, my chest feels tight, my shoulders feel heavy, and it’s rather a chore to get through my day.
I’ve battled major depression for most of my life. At my worst, I was hospitalized and at my best, I was stabilized on multiple medications. So these depressive episodes are not new to me, and I have plenty of therapeutic tools in my arsenal to deal with these hard times.
I’ve enjoyed a remission of sorts with my mental health difficulties since beginning the CFDG Plant Fueled Meal Plans 18 months ago. Batching became therapeutic and eating delicious whole plant foods allowed me to nourish and love myself back to health. I was able to get off all but the most minimal of medications, and I enjoyed such a love for life.
But, even with eating all the plants, this year, the funk still hit hard and swift. It pulled the rug right out from under me and wiped me out. My usual zest for life petered out and my ever-present excitement for new experiences was nowhere to be found. I felt lost, and I woke up every morning with no energy, interest, or creativity. The funk literally brought me to my knees.
Last Thursday, I had had enough. I was done feeling crappy and sad and soulless. I didn’t feel any better, but I had to take control.. So, I did the one thing I could think of… I started baking muffins.
I pulled out the whole wheat pastry flour and rolled oats. I grabbed apples and lemons and bananas. I searched through the pantry for baking soda, baking powder, and coconut sugar. I picked out cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and poppyseeds off of the spice rack. I found applesauce and soy milk in the fridge. I ground flax seeds and sniffed out the vanilla.
I chopped and blended and mixed and measured and made muffins for several hours. When I was through I had 6 dozen varieties of my favorite CFDG muffins, and felt a little better. The fragrant spices and beautiful colors had worked their magic. It wasn’t a cure-all by any means, but it had definitely helped.
We had a neighbor pass away recently from pancreatic cancer and I decided to double batch some Lemon Poppyseed muffins from the blog and take them over to his grieving widow. Our elderly neighbor was not a pleasant man and he was super unhappy about having a couple of liberal lesbians living next door to him. However, Lori and I always tried to be as kind to him as possible, and I hoped that in some way we were able to show by example that love comes in all forms.
He grudgingly started to come around the last few years and this past summer he even brought me a big bag of tomatoes and cucumbers from his garden. My wife says I wore him down with happy laughter, dazzling smiles, exuberant chatter, and incessant gardening questions anytime I saw him outside. He liked to gruffly give me advice about my perennials and tell me all the things that I was doing wrong. Personally, I think he took a liking to me. He couldn’t help himself.
When I returned home from delivering the muffins, I noticed my heart felt a little lighter. So, I got in the car and went to our local animal shelter where I used to volunteer walking dogs. I hadn’t done it in a long time because it’s hard for me not to take every one of them home. But, today I decided I needed a walk in the sunshine and maybe it would make me feel better to take a few needy dogs with me.
I walked a scruffy, rambunctious beagle and then went back and picked up a very loud, but adorable chihuahua. It really made me feel better, so I went back a third time and took out the most gorgeous boxer named Daisy. We went to the dog park and ran and played and thoroughly enjoyed the sunshine.
When I arrived home and got the mail, I found that a friend of mine had sent me a sweet card and a lovely bracelet to cheer me up. She had only done it as support for an upcoming surgery that I’m having and had no way of knowing how low and sad I was. I was absolutely blown away by the timing and the unexpected kindness shown to me.
And then it hit me! We are all in this crazy circle of life together. I had just spent my day doing something for others and she had done something for me. Just think of it! If we all just did one kind thing for someone else every day, not only would it lift us up, it would perpetuate the cycle of goodness and happy energy flowing all around us.
This is not a new idea or concept. It’s well known that in helping others we help ourselves feel better. But, when we start to think of it in global terms, it is an amazing thought!
If we choose to eat plants, we feel better.
If we choose to take muffins to someone in need, we feel better.
If we choose to send a card to a friend, we feel better.
If we choose to walk shelter dogs, we feel better.
If we choose to smile and hold the door for a stranger, we feel better.
If we get up every day and choose to serve others, we feel better.
And everyone on the receiving end feels better too.
I want to encourage and challenge you to do something for someone every single day.
Even if it’s a small gesture of kindness I promise that not only will it bring a spark of joy to a friend, a relative, a neighbor, or a stranger, it will also lift you up, lighten your spirit, put a smile in your heart, and possibly set your soul to singing!
Now, I’m not saying that baking muffins or walking dogs made the funk go away. I’m still struggling and it will be a while before it passes. But, at least I feel that I have moved toward the light a tiny bit and away from the all-consuming darkness that is the definition of depression.
If the only thing you can do today is just get out of bed? Then that, my friend, is ok. Sometimes, just breathing and surviving your day takes a Herculean effort. I get it. I understand.
But, may I make a suggestion?
Get up, get dressed, go to your kitchen, take a deep cleansing breath, wipe your tears, and start to heal yourself.
Just make a batch of beautiful, delicious, muffins and bring one or two to a friend. Let that simple action wrap you in such a warm blanket of love and light that your heart starts to feel less burdened and your spirit starts to feel the tiniest spark of that undeniable joy that you know is inside of you.
Do you struggle with depression? If you’re open to it, talk to us in the comments below and let’s keep this convo going.
The national suicide prevention number (US) is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Thank you Lyndsey for your honesty and your willingness and courage to be vulnerable. After I read this piece last week, I was inspired to make a new muffin recipe for Lyndsey and for you. Your kitchen is calling your name, my dear.
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped (100 g)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 cup raisins (75 g)
Wet Mixture Ingredients
- 1 cup unsweetened, non-dairy milk (235 ml)
- 1/4 cup applesauce (65 g)
- 1/4 cup 100% pure maple syrup (60 ml)
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Dry Mixture Ingredients
- 1 cup teff flour (145 g)
- 1 cup brown rice flour (130 g)
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar (35 g)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C).
- Make the topping by whisking together the non-dairy milk, tahini and maple syrup in a small mixing bowl. To that small bowl, add the remaining topping ingredients (chopped walnuts, cinnamon, cardamom and raisins) and stir until everything is combined. Set aside for now.
- Place all of the “wet mixture” ingredients into a medium-sized mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside for now.
- Place all of the “dry mixture” ingredients into a large mixing bowl and gently stir to combine.
- Transfer the wet mixture to the dry mixture and gently stir until combined.
- Line a muffin tin with liners and evenly distribute the batter amongst all 12 liners.
- Gently press some topping onto the top of each muffin until all of the topping has been used. Bake for 23-25 minutes.
- Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before you dive in.
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with making muffins.
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Yes crippling depression is my occasional companion. I believe it is tied to SADD, my ADD and the constant pain I experience from various injuries and my “Lyme Leftovers”. Like everyone else, I have good days and bad days and like Lyndsey February and March are so damn difficult for me that I have trouble just breathing through each day and praying for it to go away. The thing that helps the most is spending time in my barn with my rescued farm animals. My rescued dogs get care and attention during this time but the effect is not the same. Peace and love to you all.
Hi Kati! It’s such a hard thing to go through and I’m so glad that you found comfort in my words. We are all in this together and we will survive. Spending time with your animals is definitely a healing balm on a hurting soul. Xoxo
Dear ear Lyndsey.You are beautiful, may the stars brighten your nights and the sun shine on your BIG HEART.love to you and Molly.
Thank you, Dora! Wishing the same for you. Xoxo
Hi Lyndsey! Thank you so much for posting your honest and open text. You are a star. I too have suffered from depression since 12 years old (now 69), and like you I was struck down out of the blue just after Christmas and journeyed in that dark place til Monday this week just gone. My recipe is to just keep on going, which means continuing my ‘normal’ diary to keep some rythm to my life. I also have a small but special collection of dear friends, one whom was able to track with me without judgement or trying to fix me. Like you out of it now – six days clear! Throughout that time I continued my work as a therapist and voluteer, and these dear people who I care deeply for helped keep me on track without even knowing it. (You had the dogs and the grumpy neighbour to bless!) I think that we all do fit together in some strange puzzle. None of us knows what another is or has suffered from. Kindness and compassion without judgement – something each one of us can do so easily – can go an awful long way to encourage and comfort even if
the recipient is a grumpy old neighbour. We have no idea what his walk has been, and I suspect he has grown quite fond of you actually. I hope you have a week of kindness. And thank you so much for the cake recipes! X
Hi Sally Ann! Yes, having a small group of non-judgemental friends and/or family is so important. Thank you so very much for sharing part of your story with me. Xoxo
Great post Lyndsey. Im sorry you are struggling and hope with each muffin, dog walk and kindness you give, the depression lifts.
I too suffer and take medication. I get in a funk then withdraw from the world. I recently bought myself a puppy , Millie, who is 7 months old now . She brings me so much joy ,makes me laughs, gives me a reason to get up in the morning and gets me outside walking in nature which always helps lift my mood .Not always easy living on my own and needing to work but still one of the best decisions Ive made to reduce my depression. x
Rachel! Adopting my dog in 2014 was a lifesaver for me!! I was forced to get up every day and take care of a scared, malnourished, shelter baby that needed me. I say all the time that she rescued me. I’m so glad to hear that you have Millie. Love on her and allow her to comfort your spirit and uplift your heart. Xoxo
Lyndsey, major depression is my affliction, too. I suspect we are in a big club! And I know what you mean — these episodes always surprise me too. It is just as likely to happen when I’m happy as when the stress level is crazy. I feel for you, girlie.
WFPB living is helping me stay strong to battle this in other ways, and that makes me more effective when the blues hit.
I’m super proud of you for the Herculean effort in making yourself feel a tiny bit better. It is sooooooo hard to do sometimes.
Sending the love and the big hugs.
PS to Molly. Scrumptious-looking muffins. I must make them to shove in my pie-hole.
Thank you so much, Melissa! Yes, I know there’s a big club of us and that is one of the reasons I wanted to share a bit of my struggle. I also know for a fact that staying with a WFPBNO way of eating keeps me going through the rough patches. We’ve got this, sister! Xoxo
Thank you for sharing! I was diagnosed with PTSD after going through treatment for breast cancer. I have a very demanding job and after six rounds of TCHP chemo, two surgeries, thirty five rounds of radiation and a full year of Herceptin I returned to work and was included in nothing I was before. It was like I had died. I love my work and after being so sick, I really looked forward to returning to some sense of normalcy. I went on anti depressants and I was also on an aromatase inhibitor to block estrogen. I became more depressed. After two years on the inhibitor, I stopped taking it and after two months I feel more like my old self. The work situation hasn’t improved, but I have taken that energy and started to work on improving me. Changing to plant based eating has really helped me too. I still have bad moments, like last Sunday at mass when two ladies I care about were rediagnosed with breast cancer and my priest with prostate cancer. I cried a lot that day. The next day my kids and hubby took me to The Price is Right to celebrate my 60th birthday. I felt such joy all day. I have learned to accept the sad days and pray for more joyful ones.
Hi Christine! You nailed it when you said that you are channeling all your energy into improving yourself. I always feel so much better when I am doing the things that help me to be my absolute best, like eating a plant based diet. Thank you for your comment and I will be praying for better days for both of us.
Thank you for posting this. Just now, when I was down in the basement doing laundry, I was scanning the rafters wondering which could hold my weight. Instead I will bake my sister a birthday cake.
Rebecca, I’ve been there. Those scary, dark, tumultuous thoughts. I encourage you to find someone safe that you can speak to about how you are feeling. I have found that getting it all out will go a long way towards feeling better. Please, please don’t suffer in silence. I understand how hard it is to reach out when all you want is to quiet your thoughts and numb your emotions. But, I’m asking you as a favor to me, to reach out and ask for help. You are loved. You are worthy. You are gifted. You are alive and You matter. Sending you big, enormous hugs and wishes for better days soon.
1-800-273-TALK this is the national suicide prevention hotline.
Rebecca, you are not alone. I hope you baked your sister that cake today. Don’t give up! ?
I would love to know what kind of cake you made and if you had a big slice with your sis.
Sending much love to you, dear one.
Praying for you dear dirty, dirty, dirty sister.. that is why we all love you so much!! Keep on being real – exposing what i like to call “ our ugly”.
Hi Kim! It is ugly isn’t it? I’m glad that I can share a bit of my struggles in order that it might help someone else feel not so alone. Big love to you!
This was such a wonderful reminder that we are really all in this together. Thank you. Unfortunately I make the world’s worse muffins!! LOL. They are usually like hockey pucks!! I’ll try something else though!!!
Hi Cindy! It’s such an important reminder that we really are all so connected. Xoxo
p.s. Try these muffins! I can’t bake either, but CFDG muffins always turn out beautifully!
Thanks for your honesty Lyndsey. I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling with depression. I related to everything you said. I’ve been there and changing my way of eating has helped so much but those small decisions to get up and keep moving and help someone else are huge. Thanks for the reminder. You’re a breath of fresh air and a huge belly laugh to all of us in the CFDG FB group. Thanks for always keeping it real! I will keep you in my thoughts. Hope things turn around very soon for you. ???
Thank you, Erin! Things are looking up and I’m just so happy that I have all of the Dirty Tribe to keep me going. Big hugs and kisses to you.
Hello Lindsey and Molly; I’m an abuse and bullying survivor, who struggles with chronic depression [from November to mid-March (SAD) and late June to September], various anxiety disorders, PTSD and agoraphobia. Sadly, my current bout of depression, started 21 months ago. Given my body’s chemical sensitivity, I haven’t found a single or cocktail of antidepressants that works for me, having experimented with 8 different medications over the past 13 years. When I was first diagnosed with anxiety, and depression, PTSD and agoraphobia.
Truthfully, I have been living with these mental illnesses, for most of my life. As I confront my gender dysphoria, as a pre-op transgender woman.
Without the help of Venus, Squeak and Star (a rescued kitten, we adopted each other); I wouldn’t be here, today.
Cooking for me, is a positive sign, for my mental health. As I love to experiment with new recipes.
Thank you, Lindsey, for your courageous sharing of your depression.
Hi Therisa! I’m so proud of you for sharing a bit of your story with me. I can’t even imagine the struggles that you have and are continuing to face. I want you to know that we’ve got this! Seriously. We are alive and the joy is right there waiting for us to grab and to hang on to for dear life! I’m wishing you so much luck and love with everything in your future and sending good vibes for dealing with the present. Xoxo
Hi Lindsey, thank you for sharing your story. I as well suffer from depression and it sucks. Sometimes I feel like the medicine isn’t working but I’m guessing it is or I would feel worse. A couple of weeks ago I saw a homeless man and had an unopened package of socks and asked if he could use them. His eyes got big and he smiled and said yes that every little bit helps and thanked me. If felt good to help him. Yesterday my friend and I gave a homeless man a dollar but that’s all we had and he was thankful. I have chronic pain and know that’s a main reason I have depression. Sometimes I can’t even go for a simple walk because of my back spasms. Thank you again.
Hi Suzanne! Yes, it’s such a big deal to help ourselves while helping others. I really do believe that it is the way out of depression and The Funk. I know that it must be so hard to live with chronic pain, but I don’t want you to give up, ok? Just keep going, keep moving, keep pushing, and keep surviving. We’ve got this! Xoxo
Thank you Lyndsey for sharing. And thanks to Molly for imagining and making a reality this beautiful safe and healthy space for us all. I’ve struggled for 20+ years with depression and anxiety as well. This fall got better after I was in the meal plans a few months. It’s amazing the effect! While we know we are not alone, it brings tears to my eyes to read your post, and know and hear that we are not alone. I ran out of muffins today, how timely! ? Prayers and love for your days to lighten.
Thank you so much, Michelle! Yes, it is so important to read and hear that we are not alone. I’m so glad that you are experiencing some lovely mental health benefits with the CFDG Plant Fueled Meal Plans. I have too! The changes in mood have been enormous. Sending big love to you…
I felt like you took the words right out of my mouth. Its tough when you are alone. I fostered a dog last June and ended up adopting her in December because I just couldn’t let her go. Soooo last week I fostered a cat named McMagic. He loves to snuggle and is just what the doctor ordered for me. However, I just can’t keep this one. I will continue to love on him until it is time for him to go. Animals are so thankful and healing.
Hi Heidi! I am glad that you found some comfort in my words. Depression is so isolating and that is why it’s very important to remember that we really are not alone. So many of us are hurting and I’m hoping that we can find inspiration in each other. I adopted my dog in 2014 and she saved me! Every day, I had to get up and take care of a scared little shelter dog and that absolutely helped me survive. I encourage you to keep fostering as many animals as you can. It’s a win-win situation for sure. Sending you tons of love!
Thanks lindsay. After being bullied for the past year I think I would rather be around animals then people. Sometimes it’s easier to be isolated.
I know, for sure, it’s easier to be around animals! Listen to me, though… Try to seek out some human contact every day if you can. I have worked to surround myself with friends and family who only support, encourage, and love me. There are good, non-judgemental folks out there and they need you as much as you need them. Stay strong, my friend!
Thankyou Lyndsey. I’m in hospital at the moment for mental illness. One of my main goals when I come home next week is to follow the meal plans. I am really hopeful that they will help. I have been putting little bunches of flowers in communal areas and making people paper cranes and it does feel good 🙂
Anna!! Listen to me!! I’ve been right where you are now. Four times in fact. It’s hard and when you get out it will be even harder to face real life without imploding again. While most of us have serious issues that need therapeutic help (doctors, therapists, medications) and a ton of it is just brain chemistry, there IS so much we can do to help ourselves. The best thing I have ever done is become a CFDG Plant Fueled Meal Plan subscriber. Batching every week has become my therapy and I have experienced tremendous mental health benefits. I am sending you so much love and strength straight to your heart! I know that better days are ahead for both of us! Xoxo
Anna, I will make it a point to put a little bouquet somewhere special tomorrow and think of you ? Bless!
My husband and I have both been struggling from depression and anxiety issues since highschool (we’re only 24 and 25 but it still feels like a long time!). We’re currently traveling the country in our RV since we both work remotely, and I think the mixture of not having a home base and not having friends and family around on the road has been weighing on us hard. We both tend to eat our feelings so we’re trying to make an effort to eat better in general. It can just get a bit tough in a tiny RV kitchen and not having a specific grocery store to go to on the regular, but we’re trying regardless!
Sending good vibes your way! -Cat
Hi Cat! I am so very proud of you and your husband for trying to feel better. I’m sure it’s tough when you are so mobile, but it sounds like you have a good plan to stay with eating healthy. I’m sending so much love to both of you. Never forget that you are not alone. We’ve got this! Xoxo
Thank you Lynsey for being so honest and sharing. You have changed the course of my day mentally today. So again thank you – sending a virtual squeeze your way xxx I’m off to batch some muffins now xxx
Hi Katie! I’m so glad that you found comfort in my words. I’m hoping there are better days ahead for both of us. We are so worthy of happiness and joy! Xoxo
I find it is easiest to just sleep to pass the time until it gets warmer, I simply can’t tolerate going outside. I get up and go to work but I come straight home and sleep until I need to go back to work. And I’m not about to get dresses for the day to sleep to pass the time.
Hi Renee! Springtime and sunshine and better days are right around the corner! Xoxo
Hi. I have been looking for recipes that use cardamom and am excited to make your muffins?
I’m glad that you are finding ways to help with your depression. I’ve lived with depression for most of my life. Coupling it with my social anxiety really intensified it, making suicide a reality at one point.
In the past 3 years, I’ve gone through some pretty amazing life changes that involved a lot of self-discovery. Learning to cut myself some slack, realizing that I have self-worth, and knowing that I am just as deserving of self-love as the next person has been immense. If it were not for those past struggles, I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate life as I do now.
Though I do have occasional rough moments, I am better equipped to deal with them. Writing, yoga, meditation, getting spiratually in tuned with myself, and having a great support system has help a great deal.
Hi Lillian! Yes, we must cut ourselves and each other some slack. We are not perfect, but we are so worthy of love and life and joy. Big love right to you my friend!
Beautiful post. Love that you got back from the universe what you put out there. You have a beautiful soul. ?
Thank you, Susan! Right? It always fills me with joy whenever that happens! Sending you tons of love and light…
Thanks for your kind words, Susan. No one has ever told me that I have a beautiful soul, so to hear that is pretty incredible. It’s been a long road but so worth the journey.
I just joined the CFDG a few weeks ago. I have been reading all the blogs voraciously, trying to catch up on all the amazing things I have missed. One of the things that has grasped at my heart the most is your willingness to be honest and vulnerable and transparent about your life. As I read your writings I found several parallels to my life. I have so much respect for your bravery and courage to share. Just recently I decided to share my struggles with a friend and be brave like you. I have a wonderful therapist, but sharing outside of that protected relationship is different. You are amazing!
I live in Minnesota and this time of year can get real challengeing when my friend depression comes to visit. A friend you question? Well, yes! Depression has gifted me growth, pain, and knowledge that I would otherwise never known. When the bad days come, and I know they will, I have learned to embarrass them for what they are. And when the good days are here, I celebrate them with glee because I know they won’t stay forever. I have surrendered the flight for control of my of feeling. Feeling come and go, feeling are not fact and the less I fight them the less they control me.
The main thing I wanted to say was, THANK YOU! I appreciate you for being you and sharing your life with me. I am so glad that in some miraculous way I was sent to CFDG.
I look forward to more chats with you.
Hi Kim! I totally understand when you call depression a friend. You’re very right! It has taught me so much and I am better off for it. Big hugs to you! Xoxo
Wow! Great timing with this. I have been in the “funk” for almost 2 months. I call it the Winter Doldrums. I have no reason whatsoever to feel this way. I just do. Every day is blah, and cold, and blah. Just no zest for anything. Maybe we really are made to be hibernating and not dealing with the dark months. The one good thing is not giving up on batching and fueling my body with beautiful plants. So, today will be batching and coffee cake. And muffins!! Thank you so much for you and all of us on this journey. Much love.
Oh Janice! I know exactly how you feel and am so glad to hear that you are continuing to batch and eat all the plants. Me too! Better days are ahead for both of us! Xoxo
Thank you, Lyndsey. It helps to know that there are others out there (that I admire) suffering from similar issues.
My depression hits right after Christmas and then again in August. I have trouble spending time with people, even loved ones, at the best of times (social anxiety to the max and super sensitive to noises). I usually don’t leave the house in January because I just need that month to recover. Sounds ridiculous, even to me, but that’s just how it goes year after year.
When things are going well I can get into the groove and batch and walk and feel good, but when it is bad I really struggle with doing those little things to feel better. My dog Ruby loves to go outside with me and that helps me most times. Sometimes she wants me to come and I just can’t make myself so then I feel guilty about it and that makes it worse. Most times it helps though!
Thank you for making yourself vulnerable in order to help other people.
Hi Carla! Yes, I totally understand about isolating and I struggle with that too. Just know that you are not alone and that sunnier days are right around the corner! Xoxo
Thank you for writing this (and for your other posts on batching etc.)! I am one of the lucky ones in that I don’t suffer from depression at all, but my husband and some other family members do and your words help me empathize with them more. And you reminded me that it is always a good idea to make muffins! I made a batch of these muffins this morning, all for myself because I knew my kids wouldn’t eat walnuts, and they were so delicious, as was the feeling that I was making something just for myself! Take care of yourself. We’re all sending positive vibes your way.
Your story is poignant and awoke memories and emotions for me. I wrote a long reply and then deleted it. Then I wrote a shorter comment and deleted it. Then today I read Molly’s post and decided to tell my story from a different perspective.
I know the difference between despair and sadness. I know the difference between wailing and crying. I know the difference between loneliness and being alone. I know the difference between being betrayed and getting a shitty deal. No details needed, just believe me, I know the darkness.
While in the dark I could not see beyond, but something in my gut made me push through every day. I have no clue where it came from but I like to think it is because of energy of the universe and folks like the “Dirties”. (I have become a big believer in energies.)
So, for anyone struggling today, including you Lyndsey, please, please believe that there is energy in our universe that wants you to succeed. That wants that tightness in your chest to let go, that wants you out of bed. You are a light for so many people Lyndsey… that you chose to use positive energy to get through the darkness.
Young lady…you rock!
Thank you so much for your beautiful words, Joy! I take such sweet comfort in all that you wrote. And, I do believe, with all of my heart that there are better days ahead for all of those that fight through the darkness into the light. Xoxo
Thank you Erika! I am glad that my words helped you to empathize and understand a bit about the things that your loved ones go through. It’s so important to have support from friends and family. Big hugs! Xoxo
Proving once again, that FOOD IS LOVE. Whole * healthy * delicious * satisfying. Just a small list of the words one could pin to such an act as your baking and sharing. I feel it too, and always have. Whether the giver or the getter, LOVE IS LOVE and you know what the song says…. “Love isn’t love ’til you give it away, give it away, give it away. “
Hi Suzy! Yes, I believe that these beautiful plants are life-giving and soul sustaining. I’m so fortunate to have found this beautiful way to eat and to live. Best wishes!
Lyndsey, your courage to speak your truth is helping others. There is no greater calling. What a blessing you are!
Molly, those muffins are on point and sure to make folks smile ! Warmed them up just a tad and they melted in our mouths! #nomnomnom
I’m trying my best to bring my emotions out.
Trying to feel sorry, sad for you and your neighbour. (I’m sorry but me myself am also battling this “war”)
Nevertheless I am fighting, troubleshooting, trying to survive day after day. Not sure what is going on daily… Things just do not feel right.
Nevertheless, thank you for taking time to write and share this article. And better off, sharing your muffins with your neighbour.
I hope he appreciated it very much.
Hi Mike! I totally hear you. I get it. I understand. It took me a huge chunk of time before I could even get off my couch and get a shower, much less get into my kitchen. It takes time. It takes daily effort to move forward even just the tiniest bit. There’s no need to feel bad or sorry for me at all. I’m battling my way back one day at a time and I know that you can too. Please reach out to someone (family, friend, counselor, doctor, crisis hotline) if you haven’t yet. There is help out there for the asking and you are worthy of feeling better. Sending so much love to you. Xoxo
I am bawling my eyes out, so grateful for this post. I, too, have clinical depression and it surprises me every time it hits. Today, I spent the day batching and crying and talking to my boyfriend on Skype. I felt utterly alone….and then I read this. I forgot one of the main things I learned when I first got sober 24 years ago: when you are too far into your own head, help someone else! Tomorrow, to the best of my ability, I will try to add to someone else’s life instead of bemoaning the state of my own. Thank you so much, Lyndsey!
Hi Sherry! Yes!! You got it – reach out and help someone else. Even the smallest gestures get the biggest return for you and your mental health. Please know that you are so worthy of joy, happiness, peace, and know that you are not alone. Sending big hugs for better days ahead! Xoxo
I’ve been struggling emotionally because I haven’t been able to get out and about this winter due to increased risks of falling. We have had shit tons of snow and the influenza outbreak is so bad. I have an autoimmune neuromuscular disease so I have to take two kinds of immunosuppressants. I have been feeling so incredibly isolated. I keep wanting to start dating again, but it is hard as a 51yo woman to put myself out there.
THEN, Last week was not at all a good day to be a Lesbian Methodist woman. I don’t want to get into a huge biblical debate or anything, but there was a worldwide general conference where the facade was that they were going to look at how to be more inclusive to LGBTQIA individuals. My church did a book study to learn about the process. There were 3 options for outcomes and then from the beginning of the conference started, it was evident that things did not at all look good for moving forward. There had been a well-planned coup by the fundamentalists within the Methodist church to do a take over. It was three full hate-filled days striking down ALL LGBTQIA people. At one point, a delegate twisted a Bible verse around to say that all LGBTQIA people should be drowned. I was sobbing by that point. I loathe when people twist the Bible to say hate-filled things about people. I love my church and I love being a Christian and I know God created me the way I am. It took me 47 years to come out and anyone who tries to twist what a loving God meant, is full of shit! The term homosexual wasn’t even in the Bible until 1946 and the translations have messed up the context of it all to make it look like God has a problem with people he created in His image. My pastor is amazing. She won’t sign off on the new changes and won’t stay if the church doesn’t leave the denomination which makes me feel better, but I am tired. I don’t want people even saying that we all sin and it doesn’t matter what are sins are, He loves this. I tried to be heterosexual! I really really tried and it was a disaster! I feel all of this sucking my energy and positivity out. Blaaah!
Hi Amy! Yes, last week was definitely not a good time for the LGBT community within the Methodist faith. I was raised in a strict religious environment and, as a gay woman, I completely understand how you feel. Without getting into too much doctrine, let me just say this: You are a beautiful, perfect, and divine creation. The church is not your god. The God that you worship made you and continues to love you and celebrate you just as you are. Never let an institution of man make you feel anything less than beautiful and worthy of all love. Please know that you are not alone. We are all in this life together and we will believe in that the Universe/God/Source has huge plans in store for us. Sending so much love to you! Xoxo
I struggle with depression and have been feeling really down and sad for months. I have been talking with a therapist but it’s not helping. I have seen a doctor and have a Rx but it’s not helping. It’s a struggle to get up, get dressed, and go to work. I’m on the verge of tears quite often. In the past 5 months I’ve had some good days but most days are challenging. Thank you for sharing your story and allowing this to be a place where I can share my struggle. I pray for more happy days and for the gloominess and sadness to pass soon!
Hi Cathena! I hear you and I understand how you are feeling. I urge you to keep seeing the therapist, the doctor, and continue with the medication. Depression is such a beast and it takes time to feel better. I want you, every day, to remember that you are not alone and that you are worthy of all good things. Sending you a ginormous hug! Xoxo
Hello, thank you! I’m a SAD too, and I too suffered abuse, and bullying within my family. All us children did. We value ourselves less then we should. I am pretty sure that is why Two of my siblings are dead, and one is missing. The Abuse led to PTSD and irrational fear, and other nasty co-dependency behaviors. I allow myself to work in extremely stressful work environments, and struggle to allow myself any feelings. My youngest daughter has a chronic illness, that has no cure, or even real ways to control it. My older daughter married some one with a chronic illness, I suspect because of my PTSD behaviors, and Coda, which can be inherited from a parent. So by focusing on her partner, instead of herself, she has become exactly like I was when she was a child. I am ever disappointed in my inability to protect my children from my historically abusive past. I am so stressed out my body just started gaining weight like mad. I am trying to eat healthy, but everything hurts, is a struggle just to exist, and I find I am often crying when no one is looking. That was one of the rules. You cannot cry. I have gone to therapy, and it has helped, but trauma like what our family went through is not something that we can get over in a year. I think I need several years of therapy. I take extra Vitamin D, and the Super B complex vitamins because without them I cannot get out of bed. I have taken happy pills, but I am currently not, because I am between doctors. My youngest daughter just came home and is living with me again so that I can keep an eye on her, and she is being a trouper. But she said to me recently, Mom? Did you have a stroke? your face is droopy on one side. I probably did… and did not even allow myself to go to the hospital or recognize I needed help, and I bet, 99% sure I have high blood pressure, and yet, I still have not gone to see the doc. I am pretty sure this is a passive aggressive behavior to kill myself slowly over time, but not ‘commit a sin’… Ugh why does life have to hurt? and why can I not get it together, and listen to EVERYONE in my life telling me to take care of me, and love me, and be good to me? Every time I turn around it is my fault, my problem and I’m no good. How do I stop that? Anyway, I just wanted to vent. It has been a shitty year so far, finding out my brother was dead and in pieces, and my Mom’s abusive controlling behavior coming back to haunt me, as she calls me to tell me she is dying in 2 weeks. I know things can be better, and that starts with me taking care of myself. Getting that Mat was me saying yes to healthy eating. But today I let my husband feed me (sad) because I spent all day working two people’s jobs, no breaks except a short lunch, because the other people I work with are smart enough to quit… so I get to do two people’s jobs until another one is hired, then I will do three people’s jobs until they are trained, then I can go back to just doing my job. Over, and Over, and Over again… I am so tired. But in my neck of the woods, there are no really good jobs. It is economically repressed, and I am feeling rather stuck. I keep telling myself hang in there and figure it out. There has to be a way.
Hi Dori! I hear your frustration and understand how overwhelming it must all feel to you right now. It sounds like you have had your share of struggle. I want to encourage you to try your best, on a daily basis, to care for yourself. I know how hard it is when you are working nonstop and taking care of other obligations. I urge you, even for just five minutes a day, to find a quiet space and just breathe. Inhale hope and love while exhaling pain and sadness. It might sound a bit silly, but it’s a great way to start feeling better. You are not alone and there can be better days ahead if you open up a little space for self care. Sending you so much love!
Oh Lyndsey, thank you. Thank you for your open-hearted way of living and sharing, even through your own pain and heartache!! This post and all the comments on it from our amazing Dirty tribe lifted my spirit! February seems to routinely be a hard month for me, not only because I am done with winter weather, but also because it’s around this time of her that my mom would usually go to the psych hospital when I was growing up (for a disorder involving psychosis). Even though I try not to dwell on it mentally I think my body just remembers. Making muffins is one of my FAVORITE pick me ups!! So this post was perfect — thank you! ? My fur baby — a sweet and sassy golden-haired mini-lol rabbit — also helps me a lot. She is always cracking me up because she has lots of personality! ♥️
Hi Amber! I’m so very happy and pleased that you found comfort in my words. You are not alone and there are sensational, sunny, springtime days right around the corner! Sending you lots of love! Xoxo
I too suffer with depression that comes and goes. Thankfully I’m in a good place right now, but I know that one thing that always helps me when I’m in a bad spot is doing for others. When it seems like everything is awful and I’m a useless, terrible person, if I can do something for others, whether its planning out something I want to do for my daughter, or making treats as Lyndsey did, it helps. Almost like “I can’t fix myself, but maybe I can help someone else be a bit happier”. And growing up with an Italian grandma, I learned early that food is always a way to make people happy.
Hi Christy! Yes, my friend, you nailed it! Sometimes if we can just get out of our own head for a while that will help more than anything. So glad to hear that you are in a good place right now. Sending you a big hug! Xoxo
Thank you Lyndsay for sharing! I also suffer from depression. This started with an AWFUL case of postpartum depression after having twins (10 years ago…omg), which was exacerbated by previous pregnancy losses. You’d think after theee miscarriages, twins would be a blessing. And they are, but hormones and brain chemistry are so complex. They also have high functioning autism so the constant, deeply ingrained sense of worry takes its emotional toll. I still take a low dose of antidepressant. Thank you for starting this conversation!! Love and hugs to you during this season!!
I wanted to post that we used teff seed that wasn’t ground into flour with whole wheat pastry flour and the recipe worked wonderfully.
Aw the ugly demon of depression. I have struggled with it since I was 17 years old. I lost a child to anencephaly (please don’t google that horrible life sucking disease). Every January starts the depression. I remember the wonderful things of pregnancy but I also remember when she passed. She was born February 16th and passed shortly after birth. She would have been 18 this year. I actually have attempted suicide three times over this and childhood abuse. My dear husband has never lost a child and does his best to comfort me through this time. I will never let my Hevin’s (pronounced like Heaven) memory die. I talk about her to anyone who will listen. It took my mom 15 years to accept her as one of the grandchildren also so it was so difficult for years. I know when I get in the funk I try to focus on positives and not the what she could be doing right now as her older sister is 15 months older than her.
I do know my art and making pretties for other people help. If you are going through something like this reach out to me or reach out to someone. No one knows the pain of burying a child except someone who has done it. Friends are well meaning, but unless they have been there they are no more than well meaning.
Life does go on and the scars we carry tell a tale as old as time. And remember the hardest words mankind knows will always be Goodbye.
Hi! I’m new and loving the posts! I’m wondering what flours I can sub here? I can’t use grains due to autoimmune illness. Thank you!
Hi Loren, Welcome! I’m not sure if you saw the Recipe Notes section. We did test this recipe with a gluten free all purpose flour and they came out great…if that could work for you. The other option is to try a nut-based flour (almond or coconut, for instance). However, in my experience subbing almond flour for a whole wheat pastry flour (a plant based recipe baked in an Ebleskiver pan) the end product tastes great but was really flat – not like a muffin – more like a crepe. If you try it out, let us know how they work. We do have many free recipes on the blog that do not use grains at all, but our muffin recipes all use either whole grain flours, rolled oats, or other grains like millet and buckwheat. If you are down with brownies though…these babies are flour and grain-free. ~Karen
These look so good but I am too depressed to make them. My brilliant son took his own life least fall- he had had episodes of depression but then suffered from an iatrogenic condition that made his life hell. I would love to join him but have two other grown children who love and need me.
I am so sorry to hear this about your son. I’m sure that the grief and sadness must be unbearable. Please, please reach out to someone. A friend, family member, a professional counselor? My therapist and team of medical professionals helped me to save my life on multiple occasions. You are not alone and there is help out there. I’m sending you big hugs and a tremendous amount of love.
Thank you so much for your sharing Lyndsey. My daughter has been diagnosed with major depression and bipolar II. I am learning and struggling to be as supportive as I can be to her. At times I feel like I am not doing enough as a mother. Would you have any advice on how best to help people with mental health issues? Coz she keeps telling me that she does not need unsolicited advice and says she just needs to be alone.
Mental illness is such a challenging issue, not only for those of us that struggle, but also for our loved ones who have to watch and deal with the fallout. In my opinion, there are three things that you can do:
1) Help her to obtain mental health services such as a really good Psychiatrist and a terrific therapist. You may also want to look into NAMI – National Alliance on Mental Illness. There are many local chapters throughout most cities and they provide support groups (among other things) for the person, as well as for their family.
2) Provide a safe, stable, loving environment. Folks, especially with a bipolar diagnosis need stability and understanding as they cycle through episodes of depression and mania.
3) You must take care of yourself. I know, because I have been on both sides of the battle and it takes a physical and mental toll on everyone. Try to eat all the plants, move regularly, and carve out a bit of space for your needs. You cannot help her if you are not ok, yourself.
I wish you all the best and am sending you lots of love and light that you may find a little peace as you help your daughter on her path to wellness.
Thanks for sharing Chris, I’ve struggled with bipolar depression since I was 11 years old. My daughter’s been diagnosed with major depression and just got out of residential treatment, she’s a cutter. It hurts me to see her do that, and like your daughter, she also wants to be left alone most times. I use to sleep all day. My chronic pain was used as an excuse to avoid the overwhelming sense of dread that faced me everyday. It felt like the world was going to end. My favorite thing to do is sleep so that I don’t have to feel. Feel the numbness, the loneliness, the anger, the sadness that rippled through me everytime I woke up. After my daughter’s stint in the hospital, I decided to take a loving stand and fight for her and for me. That’s why I started eating WFPB. Also, CBD oil helps keep the disparity at bay.
I cried after reading this as I have had lifelong similar struggles and I recognise it well. 2 years ago I became the most ill I have ever been. It was very scary. It’s taken a long time to recover from. I’ve been having therapy this year which will finish soon. This scares me but I am in a better place now.
It means a lot to hear from someone else with similar struggles that gets it so thank you.
I am now focusing on the future. My son with autism is almost independant and I can finally return to work after 12 years. I am retraining to be a teaching assistant to support children like him with the skills and knowledge I have gained.
I am trying my best to get healthier with Cfdg and Lighten Up. Much love x
I have been suffering with debilitating depression for as long as I can remember. I lost a sister and a marriage in the same week in 1993 which sent be into a downward spiral where I almost took my own life. I’ve had long stretches of time when I would be happy and found in hindsight they were when I was exercising (running and training for marathons) and eating better, not right, but better. Then I lost another sibling to cancer in 2000 but through a survivors group met the love of my life who’s sister passed away from cancer shortly after mine and she has been my rock ever since. Then in 2014 I lost a brother to cancer and after years of depression free due to running and motorcycle riding, my other love, I feel into the deepest depression ever. I didn’t do anything except go to work and put on that false face showing everyone that I was fine but I was dying mentally and physically. No running, no motorcycle rides, nothing made me happy. I was just eating junk and watching TV to stay out of my head and waiting for the inevitable. I was convinced I would contract cancer like my siblings did and that would be the end of it. Somehow I managed to drag my ass to the gym and in 2018 after 4 years of thinking I’m next to go in my family of 6 children where there are only 3 left and started my recovery from depression to where I am today loving life. I’ve already committed to a running a marathon with my 30 year of daughter and have been working towards that goal. I’ve been on and off WFPB diet since the middle of 2018 and am about to take that last step towards a full commitment to myself and become completely compliant. I’ve been able to harness my character defects such as stubbornness to my advantage and quit self destructive things like drugs and alcohol 33 years ago and smoking 20 years ago so this should be an easy next step towards the betterment of my life. The loving support I see coupled with the understanding of real life challenges I’ve read and commented on in this group gives me the strength and encouragement I’ve needed to take that next step. Thank you all for being there ?
I don’t mind admitting that your comment made me shed a few tears. I am so thankful that you took the time to share your story with us.
I absolutely understand how hard it is to overcome heartache and depression. But, I also understand how triumphant it feels to rise above those challenges and difficulties that are on this life journey.
Please know how proud I am that you are taking care of yourself and eating all the plants!
You are my hero and I’m so very pleased to share this Dirty community with you.
Hello Lyndsey and Molly,
Today I decided to check out the new classroom to see what all the hype is about! Went in to my email and searched “Molly Patrick” and I found I had an email from Molly dated March 2019 wondering where I was at. I’ve been out of touch for a bit! It’s now December 2019 and my absence has been due to a pulmonary embolism and blood clots, Oh Shit!, I had a 98% blockage in the vein from my left side of heart to my right lung. I was given a 2% warning, luckily I listened to it and got help! I read Lyndsey’s post about depression which I also have and it hit me with all the feels. I am going to check out the new classroom now and I am hoping to jump back in to the batching in January because it’s time to get serious about my health!
Thanks for this post, it was needed today
Oh my gosh, how scary! I’m so glad to know you are ok.
The new meal plan classroom is just stunning! I think you’ll find that it’s super user-friendly and very well designed.
I am so pleased to hear that you’ll be jumping back in to batching all the plants. It really is the best way we can care for our bodies and our health.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me through email. I’m always available to help encourage and support you in any way that I can:
Sending you big hugs from all of us here at Team Dirty!
Thank you thank you!
These were the absolute BEST muffins that are WFPB. I did substitute 1/2 tsp Cinnamon and 1/2tsp coriander for every tsp of cardamon. I left out the dried fruit for the topping and used spelt flour.I used Pacific organic oat beverage which is amazing and gives a perfect sweetness. Also great for making a hot chai by adding some turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and then a green tea bag for the perfect hot drink. I made these muffins twice. I liked the more cake texture the second time as I made it with a little less flour so batter was mostly pourable. Just ate 2 and trying really hard not to eat more. I love how little sugar and no oil added. I have tried so many plant based muffins but these are the best!!
Depression is so awful. So many things contribute to it and only those who have experienced it know how debilitating it is. Eat well, meditate regularly, have a schedule, sleep enough, exercise and monitor the narrative. The books that have helped me the most are : “Loving What Is” by Byron Katie, and “The Power of Now” by Eckart Tolle. We are not our thoughts. We are the observer of our thoughts. We are creating them so create wisely.
Thanks for sharing.
I have read both of those books and they helped me, as well.
Sending you a big hug!
I have been on a journey of healing myself for several years and finding what helps me on my down days, weeks, months, etc. Anyway, discovering this group has helped me to focus on taking care of myself. This past week has been a struggle for peace in my own head and remaining positive. So, I did my little search under the cfdg webpage. This article came up and to say it “hit the spot” is an understatement. Sometimes I forget what makes me feel good or calms my mind. Thank you for your story ?
I’m so glad that you found us and thank you for your kind words.
Always remember, you are not alone out there.
Make sure you’ve signed up for Molly’s Weekly Sweary Love Letter so you don’t miss a bit of inspiration:
Sending you a big hug!
Yum! A hit with 3/4 of us (one of us doesn’t like raisins). I’ll be adding these to my repetoire. 🙂