Friday Feels: Why I Share My Struggle

After a rough patch of mental illness and a lot of reflection, today’s Friday Feels blog post explains Why I Share My Struggle.

Why I Share My Struggle | AreYouKitchenMe.com

If you follow me on this blog or any of my social media channels, this statement will come as no surprise: I suffer from mental illness. I have anxiety. I get depressed. Some days, simply taking a shower triggers a panic attack. At times, I have starved myself in attempt to cope with what felt like an out of control illness.

And there should be no shame in saying that.

Nothing about my mental illness makes me a bad person. But unfortunately, we live in a society that casts shame upon mental illness. Our culture tells us that if we want to succeed, have friends, or get a job, that we have to be happy and stable (or at least appear to be) at all times.

Lately, I have spent a lot of time thinking about sharing my struggle. I’ve fought thoughts like “Don’t tell people that, they’ll think differently about you” and “No one wants to hear your sob story.” But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve realized the importance of sharing my experience.

I share my struggle for three reasons…

  • For myself
  • For you
  • For the world

For Myself

I could start and end this post with one sentence: Writing about my mental health struggles and sharing them with my followers is healing for me. End of story, enough said. There are other motivations but at its essence, this blog is my therapy. (Don’t worry, I do also see a clinical psychologist.) When it started, I was trying to process my plunge into the dangerous “clean eating” world. Now that I’m searching for a lifestyle of more balance and self-kindness, writing about my ups and downs helps me draw connections.

Did anyone else grow up in the Xanga era? I had an account and remember writing about my depression and the oppressive sadness I battled in middle and high school. There were poems and lyrics and angry rants about my parents. (What can I say? I’ve always been expressive…) But it helps me! I’m not the kind of person that can keep things bottled up. When something is on my mind, it festers and brews in my conscious until I open up and let it out.

And while writing selfishly nurses my fragile ego, sharing it to a network of other people makes it even more powerful.

For You

You deserve to know that you are not alone. That someone on the other side of the computer screen understands what you are going through. When I talk about the things that pain me, it’s with the hopes that someone will read it and find solace. In fact, on more than one occasion, I’ve had friends and strangers reach out to tell me that something I shared resonated with them. That they were able to find comfort in my words.

Let me take a moment to remind you of a few things…

  • You are strong…….. but it’s ok to feel weak.
  • You don’t suffer in solitude…… but it’s ok be spend time alone.
  • You are entitled to your feelings…… but they won’t last forever.

You also deserve authenticity. You deserve to know that even when things look bright and sunny on Instagram, a storm may be creeping up on the horizon. In our social media era, we see so little of people’s authentic lives. We see smoothie bowls and bridal parties and the very best pieces of daily life. But so often it’s a lie. I won’t ever lie to you. *blows a kiss*

For the World

Finally, as grandiose and dogmatic as it may come off, I share with intentions of sparking a shift in our culture. The world doesn’t need less people talking about mental illness, it needs more. And the more we talk about it, the more “normal” it becomes. And that normalization relinquishes mental illness of its power.

I can only imagine how freeing it would be to be able to say to tell friends or family or work “I’m having a bad mental health day” without fretting about their reaction. It’s becoming more and more acceptable, but there’s still the constant fear of judgment or repercussions. It’s time to start chipping away at that stressor. And the only way to do that is to keep. talking. about. it.

That’s all I have for this Friday Feels. Thank you for listening. Thank you for being brave and strong. Thank you for letting me know if you relate or need help or want to hear more. Much love.

What I Ate Wednesday

What I Ate Wednesday is a weekly check-in. My way to say hello, talk about life, and show off some yummy eats!

Helloooo friends. To be honest, I don’t have a lot to say this week. If you missed me last week, it’s because I was in the throws of a mental health crisis. I’m feeling better but just not totally back to my normal chatty self. Good news is, my appetite is back so I actually have some eats to share with you!

The one thing that has stayed consistent through this bout of poor mental health is my workout routine. It has really kept me grounded and has been the sense of normalcy and routine that I crave, especially in times of severe distress. Of course, we split a banana before a solid leg day.

What I Ate Wednesday | AreYouKitchenMe.com

I’ve been switching my breakfasts up a bit lately but alas, I always come back to my Chocolate Cherry Beet Smoothie. It just can’t be beet….

What I Ate Wednesday | AreYouKitchenMe.com

While I was running around at the office, a wonderful little fairy dropped this decaf coffee with almond milk off at my desk. I swear I have some of the best work friends.

What I Ate Wednesday | AreYouKitchenMe.com

There were leftovers from an event in the break room and I found myself pleasantly surprised in my scavenging. There was a container of vanilla soy yogurt, fruit (I opted for the grapes), and granola. A little of each held me over until lunch.

What I Ate Wednesday | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Our office was having a fundraiser at Chipotle and my great guy offered to bring me a burrito bowl. He has been my rock lately (like, the last 4 years) and getting to see him in the middle of the drastically improved my mood.

What I Ate Wednesday | AreYouKitchenMe.com

My body has been begging for healthy fats lately and I am all about it. I made a big jar of trail mix with just about every raw nut out there and a bunch of dried fruit. Trail mix used to be a “no-no” food so I’m super proud that I’m able to eat it now without guilt, panic, or regret. Oh and this dinky handful was only one of many, many more throughout the day.

In the afternoon, I had an upset stomach and sipped on my favorite kombucha to ease the grumbles.

What I Ate Wednesday | AreYouKitchenMe.com

I had a sandwich on the brain all day so I came home from work and stacked this one up. Layered together: Silver Hills sprouted bread, vegan mayo, homemade hummus, half an avocado, sliced tomato, and pea shoots from the farmers market. I also had a side salad with cucumber, tomato, dill, yogurt, and lemon. So freshhhh.

 

Before bed, I plowed through some juicy watermelon.

Have a wonderful week my friends! I’m working on a post about why I talk about my mental health struggles, but my motivation and attention aren’t exactly on point at the moment so we’ll say… maybe soon? Be on the lookout!

 

Grilled Eggplant with Pesto & Yogurt Tahini Sauce

Smoky, charred veggies smothered in herby and tangy sauces is basically what summer dreams are made of. Grilled Eggplant with Pesto & Tahini Yogurt Sauce is a dream come true!

Grilled Eggplant with Pesto + Yogurt Tahini Sauce | AreYouKitchenMe.com

There’s not much more I need in the summer than a little sunshine and some grilled veggies. It’s something about the heat and the smell and the fresh air. It just gets me. Some of our grill staples include zucchini, green beans, corn, and tofu. Our go-to’s. But it’s not often we toss on something more wild and… purple.

Grilled Eggplant with Pesto + Yogurt Tahini Sauce | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Cooking eggplant on the grill may have forever changed my perspective on the sometimes-mushy globes. Eggplant parmesan can be greasy or soggy and ratatouille is really all about the tomatoes. Baba ganoush is delicious but I just can’t make it as well as Brassica… But I think I’ve finally cracked the code! Grill. all. the. things!

Grilled Eggplant with Pesto + Yogurt Tahini Sauce | AreYouKitchenMe.com

I’ve had the best luck with long, thin eggplants, as opposed to the larger round ones. They have fewer seeds and flesh, making them less bitter and much firmer. I believe they’re sometimes called Chinese eggplants, but they’re all over my farmers market right now. Next on my eggplant bucket list (oh wow, how did we get here?) are fairy tale eggplants. Just precious.

Side note: why must people make dirty jokes out of the eggplant emoji?! What did that poor little plant ever do to them?? Don’t they know some people want to use it for it’s true form as a deliciously tender and mild vegetable???

Grilled Eggplant with Pesto + Yogurt Tahini Sauce | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Anywho… Let’s talk about the most important part of any recipe. The sauce. I’m a self-proclaimed sauce whore so you know I’m smothering every bite of eggplant with more than a dainty drizzle. The combination of herby pesto and creamy yogurt is everything. I made my own homemade pesto but you sure don’t have to. But you mussssst make the yogurt sauce.

Grilled Eggplant with Pesto + Yogurt Tahini Sauce | AreYouKitchenMe.com

I’ve been using yogurt in more savory recipes and I’m a big fan. Don’t get me wrong, I love some parfait action, but yogurt brings such a welcome tang and creaminess to dinnertime dishes. I use Silk plain soy yogurt because I can buy it in a 24oz. tub. If you’re not against dairy, use whatever plain brand floats your boat.

Grilled Eggplant with Pesto & Yogurt Tahini Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Smoky, charred veggies smothered in herby and tangy sauces is basically what summer dreams are made of. Grilled Eggplant with Pesto & Tahini Yogurt Sauce is a dream come true!

Ingredients

  • 6-7 long, thin eggplants (or 2-3 larger ones)
  • 2 Tbs. avocado oil (or other high-heat oil)
  • Pesto, like my homemade
  • Fresh mint
  • Yogurt Sauce
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbs. tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp. salt

Instructions

  1. Heat a grill to medium-high heat, making sure the grate are cleaned and oiled.
  2. Slice each eggplant in half lengthways and sprinkle with salt. Allow to sit for a few minutes, then blot them dry. Brush with oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook the eggplant on the hot grill cut side-down for 4-5 minutes and check to make sure they are well charred. Flip and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes. Remove to a plate and season again with salt and pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, make the sauce by adding ingredients to a small bowl or jar and whisking well to combine.
  5. To serve, dollop pesto on eggplant, drizzle with yogurt sauce, and garnish with mint leaves.
http://www.areyoukitchenme.com/grilled-eggplant-with-pesto-yogurt-tahini-sauce/

Grilled Eggplant with Pesto + Yogurt Tahini Sauce | AreYouKitchenMe.com

1 2 3 4 5 6 77