This time of year is a tough one. Not necessarily because of all the booze flying around through adverts and parties on social media etc, but more the memories and possible interaction/visitors. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely to see family and friends over the holidays, but the festivities seem to bring a strange pressure.
As far as visitors go, there are too many fingers on one hand to count them, however, not enough on both to count the memories and bad thoughts that perch themselves on my lap. My life seemed to miss a year, starting around this time two years ago. Shit hit the fan to maximum effect and just kept on spinning. Uncontrollable drinking and thinking, an imploding mind, anger and an emergency visit to the psychiatric hospital after a complete breakdown. These are things I would like to forget but never will.
There was a time I really loved going all out for Christmas, no stress was too much stress and if I wasn’t completely shattered by around 4pm I mustn’t have gone hard enough. I’d play it down, stating I wasn’t a big fan of it, but this wasn’t true. Even in my early twenties I’d wake up Christmas morning….if I’d slept at all through the excitement…giddy as a four year old! It was just a special time!
Being an alcoholic, Christmas has never really been much different to any other time. A drink was a drink, any time……all the time, anywhere as always. So now two years in to recovery, not drinking at Christmas is the same as not drinking throughout the year. But the memories still prod and poke fun at me. The presence of family/friends becomes too much and space, peace and clarity are hard to find even when they’re gone.
Today, however has been wonderful. Flagging towards the end but I made it through with a smile. Our Christmas was a little early due to family travel arrangements so we ate, played board games and ate some more today….well yesterday. No doubt my body will wake tomorrow a few hours before my brain, and the possibility of doing anything constructive is not on the cards. But today was lovely, a reet good time 😊
So 4 hours was all I was allowed….I’ll take it! A successful nights sleep!
I dreamt of cooking. Cooking my food for anyone and everyone, my very own restaurant once again, like the old one. It was nice to dream of cooking again, a welcome blast from the past.
Perhaps today I’ll get in the kitchen. Capitalise on this dream, create some fire……whilst doing my upmost not to burn the house down. It’s a strange one, from loving every aspect of a busy kitchen…the only place anxiety seemed to melt away…to never wanting to cook again. The very thought of picking up a knife or pan was gut wrenching and filled with fear.
Since then I have been able to cook. A breakfast of eggs & oats, the odd fish dish and stew. And now I’m even contemplating ‘just cooking’. Anything, everything. I want to make bread, pasta, pastry. Ooo sauces, dressings and flavoursome stocks. A parfait there, a lobster bisque here. Pickles and chutney. A delicate rose jelly and macerated fruits. An ice cream and a sorbet…….the list of what goes through my mind is endless!
To be back among fresh produce, tasting the fruits of another’s labour. The smells of fruit, herbs and vegetables, a welcoming entrance to the local grocer’s.
I hope this new view and mentality holds on long enough to stick. One day, a return to some form of a chef may still be achievable 😊
It’s been a strange few days betwixt my ears. I wouldn’t say down or even unhappy, just different.
I’ve been cooking a lot more, it feels good. It’s a newfound, yet previously felt passion that I never thought I’d feel again. The very thought of cooking, proper cooking, terrified me. Yes I’ve made scrambled egg and a bit of chicken and vegetables, but putting thought-out dishes together has been a great success on my journey through recovery.
The feeling I mention above, is something like a sense of regret combined with ‘what could’ve been’. Perhaps even a dash of shame. I think, anyway. It seems a contradicting set of emotions, to feel joy and passion, to then let it be overshadowed by these feelings.
I think to myself, ‘it’ll pass’, but will it? Am I allowed to enjoy something I once loved? Even though I let everything surrounding this very passion, including the passion itself, crash and burn?…. It brings back the hatred I once had for myself, the shame of our family business having to abruptly cease due to my breakdown. I know they don’t agree with that and they will in no doubt tell me off for thinking these things. To this day it still sits in the back of my mind however, vegetating and growing fur.
I feel I need to get determined to overcome this irrational emotion. Kick it’s ass to the curb and enjoy anything that makes me smile. Cooking is a love, a hobby and a space in which I’m free.
One day I hope to call myself a chef again. One day I hope to come to terms with the disaster surrounding this passion and conquer it even more so than I have previously! One day I will have a kitchen, call myself the chef and I’ll smile, morning, noon and night….
With my H2O’really water experiment in full flow…excuse the pun…I’m finally seeing some long term, lasting results!
Not only have I lost weight, yippee! I’m noticing a vast improvement in the look and feel of my skin. Previously slightly on the greasy side, I’m showing more of a glow and my chubby cheeks are soft and squidgable! It seems a simple, easy improvement to make without spending a ton on face cremes and moisturiser.
To pee or not to p…. definitely to pee! It was inevitable – drink more, pee more! However, I feel revitalised, fresher. Now I know there are debates on ‘detoxing’ and whether or not it is actually possible to do, but I’m feeling something of a detox at play here. Generally happier moods. Better skin to look at and to touch. And most importantly, a drive to continue and see what else will come of this experiment and others.
Now I know the positivity is high here, but I’m still hitting very difficult days. I thought a higher water intake would change this, boosting my moods and hopefully less down days would show their ugly face. I guess brain function may be on the rise but it isn’t hitting me where I was hoping it would. Perhaps I’m just not noticing, or I should give it more time. We shall see…
One thing for certain, however, is I’m determined now to implement more changes, challenges and experiments into my lifestyle. Excited to see and share the results!
Eat, drink and smile 😊
A smile is a huge indication of joy, amusement and a general good time. In a basic look at things, life is a collection of smiles and frowns….
Frowns are inevitable, unfortunately, this is a given, the cruel reality of life. But smiles can be created, often via serendipity….A fortuitous happenstance. What you hear, see, do or say can produce an involuntary and true smile.
So I put it to you, and myself……what can the food we eat contribute to gaining smiles. Can they be a catalyst? Or perhaps the sole reason for a happy face? Find what food makes you smile, I will too. Now I can guarantee there are going to be the obvious bad foods that make your tum purr with delight, but the smiles don’t last, often replaced by frowns and regret. Don’t ignore these foods! These will go in the indulge your ass off pile!
Split foods in to three basic categories – foods you know are good for you and you actually enjoy eating. Foods you know you shouldn’t really be scoffing but every now and then you just dunnee have the power cap’n! And then those foods you can’t stand but know they will be good for you.
The fill yo’face bad foods will inevitably bring smiles and frowns, this is where allowing yourself to indulge, without a side portion of guilt, will set you on your way. This is the place to start. Not with crash diets, fads, and/or ‘fat free’ garbage! Start with the foods you struggle to resist. Hold onto the fat smile they plaster on your face. And play a game of ‘f@#k off’ with the frowns….trick is to let them go first ;).
Then turn your attention to the nice, edible, healthy foods. The base of your diet has to be enjoyable! I’ll pass on what I have learnt, which foods are scientifically proven to turn it upside down . This whole process of learning, planning and smiling has helped me grow as a person. Granted, still a secluded scaredy cat, intolerant to the outside world! But I’m happier. Tis a good thang.
Now those dirty ‘orrible eats. Forget them. Unless they are in my importanté list…….but I can help with that, sneaky sneaky I am with the tricks…. seriously though, why force something down you cannot stand?? Well if you learn to make these things tasty and enjoyable then yeah, buck up partner! Get it down ya! Even shite foods can be made in to smiles foods…
Part 2 coming shortly…….
On reading a few statements about the benefits of drinking 2 litres of water a day, I decided to do an experiment…..
Studies show that drinking this amount of water throughout an average day (more if exercising or on hot days), the brain will function at a higher level, the body will feel more energetic and in time skin and hair will make positive strides too. Now in no way do I dispute this, but it seems too simple. Can the regulation of water intake, regardless of the rest of a persons diet, have noticeable positive results?
My experiment went as follows….
Week 1 – Live as normal, my not so healthy lifestyle, eating and drinking when I feel I need or want to, but measure how much water I consume.
Week 2 – Continue my ‘not so healthy’ lifestyle. Eating when hungry, minimal exercise and a mix of nutritional meals, fruit, bad snacks and fast food. Whilst ensuring my consumption of water is 2 litres per day.
Week 3 – Adapt my lifestyle. Cutting out the fast food, keeping snacks to a minimum and not so sugar filled. Increasing my intake of fruit and vegetables without being too precise. Still minimal exercise, as this test is to see how water effects my general brain function.
The results were vastly different. A longer study period may have shown even greater differences.
Week 1 I felt my usual sluggish, up and down self. Bad days I hardly drank anything. Food was not on the agenda either, eating garbage when I had the energy to order online. Ups were super high followed by crashes. I was drinking around a litre a day on average, maybe just under.
Week 2 left me a tad flummoxed, rendering me wanting to get active but not having the energy to do so. Peeing a hell of a lot more, but generally feeling better. Moods were still erratic, ups still ending with crashes, but downs not so bad. Whether that be because I was keeping track of my water intake or because the water was making the difference I do not know.
Week 3 produced a spike in energy levels, ups were more frequent and lead to fewer crashes. Down days, well the singular one I had with an hour here and there throughout the week were easier to cope with.
With a simple change, increasing water consumption, I noticed decent positive results and it was easy to do. It’s a start to a smiles diet everybody can benefit from.
Good morning, face?? Yes, this is a thing. Those of you with friends are more likely to enjoy better moods, less depressive episodes etc, than those of us who dwell in self amusement and company.
Humankind react positively to the sight of another’s face, a happy one of course. The theory goes like this…… To start the day off with a smile, you must see a smile. Now obviously, if you don’t manage to do this it doesn’t mean your day is doomed. It’s a general sort of idea, those who see a face will have a higher likelihood of a good mood.
Now, for those of us who have no friends, detest interaction or are socially inept….have no fear! As with seeing a face directly, the theory works indirectly also. A video or photo will do the trick, choose an interesting vlog or a memorable bunch of photos.
Start the day right, start it with a smile