Time again to hide some pretty things amid the ugly.
These days, all I can focus on to get through a day is mood management, and my heart goes out to the millions of people out there fighting any kind of mental illness – controlled and not-yet-controlled. I don’t even know what something even more severe than what I am feeling would be like. My mood swings have been up and down – I cry at night, I cry in the morning, and most days I just want to get through a day without drowning. I can’t even look into the future because I literally just want to get through each day and hour. To be even more honest, I actually just want to get through the next minute and the next second. I feel that broken and tired. It is a constant battle in my head of negative circling thoughts. The more I try to shut it out, the more it becomes prevalent. And so sometimes the negative thoughts just run around in my head until they become tired, really tired, and then I can ‘move on’. This results in me being closed off and tired – all I want to do is sleep. And then other times, the ‘demons’ of last summer come out and grab hold of those thoughts…of me. I lose myself completely…completely…and I feel nothing but hopelessness. I become suicidal.
JH, my family, my friends (the ones who have overcome my reclusiveness) and the ‘happy-ish life’ slip away from my mind, as if they didn’t exist and I am completely alone. I literally can’t see them anymore. The hundred negative thoughts swirl so quickly in my head that I feel out of body. In those moments, I feel like hurting myself, and in a cross between right or wrong, I don’t feel like living anymore. The suicidal thoughts are just that strong. I thought I was only going to experience this feeling once in my life time (last year) when I over-dosed, but I felt it this year again. I felt it so strongly that I started writing letters that really could not even begin to explain or justify the action.
All along, ever since I became sick, I have had suicidal images contained at the very back corner of my conscience, I just never had the courage to act on them. I would imagine what the ‘what’ was always – drowning, pills…but never the ‘when’. I would will myself to find a reason to stay even if my life and relationships, and everything I worked to build would never be the same because I, as a person, would never be the same. I would slap myself for being selfish to JH, my family, my friends and the torture they would go through if I went. This whole process has been, therefore, a complete battle against the demons in my head.
I have been in the hospital now for a week. My last stay in St.Mikes was for almost 3 weeks, and I am already feeling anxious. I have been working with my psychiatrist to get through the lows, to figure out a psychosis, and most importantly, to find a medication combination that will work. The medicines are a continual black hole, and I’m still on a path where my maternal desires are crushed. The doctors do however want to help me move through this ‘negative ruminating’ cycle, where I focus too deeply on negative thoughts, negative thoughts that can circle into suicidal thoughts.
Being in the hospital, I have not had the chance to make super fancy desserts as of late. But given I have talked about the ugly for a few paragraphs now, it seems appropriate for there to be a ‘pretty’ to scroll to. Here are some desserts from before I went all eff-d up last week:
- Tarts with pastry cream, whipped topping, blueberries and mint
- Puff pastry circles with frangipane and rhubarb
- Apple rose brioche
- Mood– Lows. I want to get back to normal. I want to have a baby. I have so many fears that neither of these instances will ever occur.
- Focus– Removing the toxic.
- Craving – Blueberries and rhubarb. Anything that is not hospital food.
- Feedback from the husband– I did not ask him about the tarts, but he liked the puff pastry. The rhubarb was really tart, and JH loves tart. He took slices of the brioche, and turned them into grilled havarti sandwiches. You would think this is weird since the bread was sweet, but it was actually pretty good.
The Not-So-Secret Secrets:
Tarts with Pastry Cream, Whipped Topping, Blueberries & Mint
- Pâte Sucrée
- Vanilla Pastry Cream
- Stabilized Whipping Cream (recipe below)
- Blueberries & Mint for toppings
1 tsp gelatin powder
4 teaspoons cold water
|Let the gelatin bloom over the cold water for five minutes.|
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
|Place the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla in a bowl of a stand mixer. Using a whisk attachment, mix the ingredients together on medium-high.|
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
|Slowly pour the gelatin mixture in. Continue beating until the mixture reaches stiff-peaks. It should look smooth. Pipe on tarts.|
Puff Pastry Circles with Frangipane and Rhubarb
- Puff pastry – I use the Kitchn’s recipe if I do not buy it from the farmer’s market. Similar to croissants, puff pastry is labour intensive, but tastes so much better than the ones from the supermarket.
- I bake the circles at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Note: Stacking the circles creates a higher, prettier effect. I didn’t do it in this instance.
- Frangipane (recipe below)
- Spread on the circles, leaving a bit of an edge.
- Rhubarb – cut into little uneven triangles.
- Lay evenly on top of the frangipane.
- Pistachio – for sprinkling on top of the rhubarb.
Frangipane (Almond Cream)
|1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
|Cream the flour, sugar, salt and butter.|
|1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened but not melted
2 extra-large eggs
|Add one egg at a time, mixing each in fully. The mixture will now look more smooth.|
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch of salt
|Add the flour and lemon juice. Mix on medium speed for about a minute.|
Apple Rose Brioche – Adapted from here.
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature but not melted
|Combine the yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow the mixture to sit for five minutes until the yeast has dissolved and looks bubbly. Add the sugar, spices and eggs. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated. The dough will be a bit shaggy.|
1 tbsp instant yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
|Cut the butter into smaller pieces. Add into the dough, allowing each piece to be fully incorporated before adding the next until all the butter has been added.|
1/4 cup sugar
6 extra-large eggs
|The mixture will look smooth and a bit wet. If it looks too wet, add just a sprinkling of flour. Move to a clean bowl, cover with a cloth and allow to proof for one hour in a warm place.|
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg yolk for brushing (mix with a little water if too thick)
|The mixture is easy to work with if you let it sit in the fridge overnight. The next day, roll it out to a 1/4 inch thick. Divide the rectangle into long 1/4 to 1/2 inch strips. Roll the strips up with apples, until they look a bit like roses.|
|2 to 3 apples cut into super thin slices using a mandoline||Lightly grease and flour a pie pan. Fit each of the ‘roses’ tightly together until the pan is full.
Allow the brioche to proof for two hours.
Brush the brioche with the egg yolk. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes (I did 40 minutes).
Eat the bread warm – it is so delicious out of the warm oven.