i’m writing this from my bed, which i currently share with an empty package of cookie dough and a pile of clean laundry. i’m just impressed that i did the laundry at all. i bribed myself with delivery thai food for lunch; i’d have to go downstairs to receive my two-for-one curry pad thai anyway, so i might as well lug my hamper to the laundry room and get things spinning while i’m down there. once the $2.50 has been spent and the washing machine has been started, there is no going back; the laundry is gonna get washed.
but getting folded and put away . . . is a whole ‘nother story.
when i saw the BOGO deal on the UberEats app, i knew it was meant to be. you have surely gathered by now that i am capital-d Depressed. this is nothing new. just having a lil flare up, which essentially means every aspect of being a human is significantly harder than usual. breathing. moving. eating, let alone preparing, food—hence, the curry pad thai, which will feed me for days to come.
i have no advice on how to breathe more easily (despite yoga and meditation, even on my best days, i struggle to breathe with ease; it’s as if my lungs don’t believe that they deserve air). and nothing i can write will make physical movement easier when it feels like your limbs are filled with sand. but maybe i can help you feed yourself.
enter: depression meals.
to me, a true depression meal has to satisfy a few key requirements: it must be filling and relatively nutritious, require zero or very little prep, call for zero or very few perishable ingredients, and dirty as few dishes as possible.
takeout. obviously not always an option, but if you can swing this, do it. order enough for multiple meals, and be okay with however much or little you eat. korean food is my favorite. i love putting leftover stir-fry kimchi pork on a sandwich with mayo, cheese, and whatever leafy green i have in my fridge that’s still got some crunch to it.
smoothies. sometimes, Depression’ll steal your appetite, making the thought of solid food repulsive. i get it. you still need calories. so, make a smoothie. i recommend keeping copious amounts of frozen fruit in your fridge, including the bananas you forgot to eat before they browned. toss some your frozen fares into a blender with milk or whatever. maybe add some nut butter. i usually include spinach, too. i don’t need to tell you how to make a smoothie. do what you like.
pasta. put uncooked noodles (i like farfalle/bowtie) into a microwave-safe bowl; add water so that it tops the pasta by an inch or two. stick it in the microwave, ideally on top of a plate, for spillage. microwave for 10ish minutes. watch half an episode of “Broad City” while you wait. when the pasta is edible enough, add whatever your depressed self can stomach. jarred sauce! butter! veggies! meat! i usually go with: olive oil, minced garlic (from a jar), s&p, whole spinach leaves (fresh if i have it, but i usually have some frozen, too), halved cherry tomatoes if i can be bothered (slash if i haven’t let them all go bad), whatever shredded cheese i have in the fridge that isn’t moldy. bing bang boom.
bagged salad + prep-free protein. self-explanatory. protein could be canned beans, canned tuna, deli meat, rotisserie chicken, a hard-boiled egg that an energized You prepared earlier in the week. eat the salad right outta the bag if you want. no judgment.
frittata. give your depressed ass something that feels fancy but is actually absurdly easy. crack a coupla eggs into a Pam-coated ramekin or tinfoil dish. (side note: eggs actually last for a good while—like, up to two months? you can use the float test to check them. anyway: don’t be afraid to buy them. you have lots of time to use them before they expire.) add a little milk or yogurt, plus some spices. maybe some cheese too? a leafy green? garlic? dealer’s choice. use a fork to stir it up a bit. then, go ahead and stick that baby in the oven you definitely forgot to preheat; it’s super fine. set it to 400F, and check on it in about 25 minutes; use a fork or toothpick to check the consistency of the egg. cook longer as needed. i don’t know your oven. eat it plain or with hot sauce or salsa or (if you’re a monster) ketchup.
oatmeal. listen, lots of “breakfast food” is easy, cheap, fast, and filling. instant oatmeal + whatever add-ins you like. nut butter, frozen fruit, honey, cinnamon . . . so many options.
burrito bowl. instant rice and canned beans comprise the base of this hearty option. add jarred salsa/pico, canned corn, sour cream/greek yogurt, meat/”meat”, and/or cheese if you wish. you do you.
kids meal. my fav option. in general, i have trouble believing i’m worth taking care of, and obviously this is heightened when i’m depressed. but, when i think of myself as a child, i’m much more able to understand myself as a person deserving of love, compassion, and nourishment. it makes sense, then, that often, i feed myself the way i’d feed a loved child: either a sandwich or frozen breaded protein (chicken nuggets, popcorn shrimp, or fish sticks) + fruit/veggies (i like berries and baby carrots) + something crunchy (Hot Cheetos are my go-to) + something sweet (like a piece of Kinder chocolate). arranged on a plate with love.
- use disposable plates if you need, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for it. the world benefits from your health more than it is harmed by the occasional use of single-use kitchenware. perspective.
- maybe take a multivitamin? ’cause, like, it can’t hurt, so why not. if nothing else, it’ll make you feel like you’re taking care of yourself, which is in and of itself a positive.
- water: drink it. i like to nurse ice water in my Yeti insulated tumbler with a straw, but sometimes, if the ice trays are empty and i can’t convince myself to perform the laborious task of filling them and precariously sliding them into the freezer, i’ll just fill up a cup of lukewarm tap and down it right at the sink. it’s a numbers game. get water into your body.
- take your meds.
i sincerely hope that this information helps you get the nourishment you need. you deserve to be fed.