This recipe today is featured from The Blissful Basil Cookbook by Ashley Melillo, and has been reprinted with permission from BenBella Books.
We’re also hosting a GIVEAWAY of one copy of the BB Cookbook – read on for details!
It’s time you and I had a conversation about mental health.
Let’s just all agree to agree that talking about it is scary. It just is. There’s so much stigma surrounding mental illness that any conversation about it is susceptible to misunderstanding and miscommunication. But let’s just establish some ground rules, some scientific facts, before we start:
1 // Mental illnesses come in many shapes and forms.
2 // Mental illnesses are REAL, PHYSIOLOGICAL ailments.
3 // Mental illnesses are as real as diseases like IBS or Diabetes – they just manifest through the nervous system, as opposed to, say, the digestive system or endocrine system.
4 // Depression, one of the most common mental illnesses, is not “being in a bad mood” or “feeling down”. It is an actual, physical phenomenon that involves various neurochemicals and hormones.
5 // Anxiety, another common mental illness, is not “overthinking something” or “worrying too much”. It is known that anxiety involves imbalances of neurotransmitters including serotonin and norepinephrine.
6 // MENTAL ILLNESSES ARE VALID MEDICAL CONDITIONS.
Now that we’ve gotten this out of the way, I’d like to admit something – I’m ashamed that I haven’t really talked about mental health until now. I’ve kind of touched upon the topic here and there, but have never really been explicit. But it’s high time I told you that I have depression.
A lot of times, when I tell people I have depression, they’re surprised – “But you’re so positive and upbeat!”, they’d say. It’s true, I am. It’s kind of like how you can still drive a car even when you have a cold – your body is ill, it’s not functioning properly; but you can still operate and live your life. I can be a positive person AND have depression – they are not mutually exclusive.
But the problem is, I was scared to tell people about my depression. I was afraid they would think I was “moody” or just being “mopey”. And honestly, a lot of my friends did think that at first. “Just cheer up!”, they’d say. “But you have nothing to be unhappy about!” was another common one. But there’s a problem with reactions like that, and it’s Science. Science has shown that depression is a physiological ailment, like any other disease. That’s the whole point of taking medication for it – it fills the chemical deficiencies in your brain. But you’d never be ashamed to tell someone you have diabetes, would you? Or that you have a bad virus? Or that you broke your arm? NO, you wouldn’t. But for some reason, telling people you have a mental illness is taboo.
When people struggle to understand my depression, I tell them to think the same thoughts, have the same doubts, just replace depression with having asthma.
“Sarah would cheer up if she just went out more.” >> “Sarah would stop coughing if she just went out more.” (LOL)
“Why do you take meds to feel happy?” >> “Why do you take meds to treat your asthma?”
“Just smile!” >> “Just don’t cough!”
Does this put it in perspective for you?
In case it doesn’t, let me drive it home one more time: Depression is just as real of a biological ailment as asthma. It’s science. It’s true, it’s been established empirically, it’s a fact, whether you agree with it or not.
But still, the stigma is there.
Enter in Ashley Melillo. She’s the author of The Blissful Basil Cookbook, a wonderful human being, and a ray of sunshine. She also suffers from anxiety. And she’s also the one who inspired me to speak out.
Her cookbook isn’t just a cookbook. It’s a memoir of her struggle with anxiety, and how she treated her illness holistically through diet and exercise (a highly underutilized treatment for so many medical conditions). If you read her book, I guarantee that Ashley will make you feel EMPOWERED to change your life, one meal at a time. But more importantly, the fact that such a well-known blogger and cookbook author is talking so openly about her anxiety is a REASSURANCE THAT IT’S OKAY TO HAVE A MENTAL ILLNESS. With her book, Ashley is proving that you still contribute to the world no matter the state of your mental health. With her book, Ashley is telling you that YOU ARE WORTHY.
(And then there’s also the fact that her recipes are delicious. Just thought I’d throw that out there.)
I’d like to talk more about mental illness in upcoming posts, even though it’s still a little scary for me, because I want to show others – especially young women and girls – that you SHOULD NEVER BE ASHAMED OF WHAT YOU’RE GOING THROUGH. It’s okay to speak out. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to have a mental illness.
I’d also like to send a message to every young person out there who feels alone, or feels like no one understands what they’re going through – because I was once you. My message to you is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
And to my readers, each and every one of you – if you’re ever having a really bad day, or need someone to talk to, or just want to feel like someone gets it – PLEASE feel free to email me. Seriously, I love hearing from you.
I’m sending all of you SO MANY HUGS and SO MUCH LOVE right now. Thank you so much for reading.
Cauliflower Tacos from The Blissful Basil Cookbook
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric optional
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 3/4 cup brown rice flour
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 small or 1/2 large head cauliflower cut into bite-size florets
- 2 cups thinly sliced purple cabbage
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
- 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 1 ripe avocado halved, pitted, and peeled
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro stemmed
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 12 small soft corn tortillas
- Fresh cilantro stemmed
- 2 small limes cut into wedges
For the Crispy Cauliflower
- Preheat the oven to 400 ̊F. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
- Add the rolled oats to a food processor. Pulse 75–80 times, or until a coarse meal forms. The texture should be similar to panko bread crumbs. Transfer to a large, shallow bowl, and whisk in the cilantro, chili powder, sea salt, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, turmeric (if using), and cayenne pepper.
- In another large, shallow bowl, whisk together the almond milk, brown rice flour, and lime juice until smooth.
- From left to right, line up the cauliflower florets, almond milk batter, oat crumbs, and baking tray. Place a handful of cauliflower florets into the almond milk batter, toss to coat, shake off excess batter, and transfer to the oat and spice mixture. Toss to coat and transfer to the lined baking tray. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower.
- Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until crisp and light golden, tossing halfway through baking. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
For the Tangy Slaw
- While the cauliflower is baking, add the purple cabbage, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and sea salt to a medium nonreactive (i.e., nonmetallic) mixing bowl. Toss to coat and set aside, stirring occasionally.
For the Avocado Crema
- Add the avocado, cilantro, lime juice, and sea salt to a food processor. Process for 3–4 minutes, or until smooth. The texture should resemble mayonnaise.
- Heat the tortillas, one at a time, in a small skillet over medium heat for 20–30 seconds per side. Fill each with 3–4 pieces of the cauliflower, a small handful of cabbage slaw, and a dollop of crema.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges to spritz the tacos.
- Refrigerate leftovers in separate airtight containers for up to 3 days. The Avocado Crema is best when fresh.
One winner will receive a copy of The Blissful Basil Cookbook! To enter, leave a comment below about your thoughts on mental illness – whether you’ve struggled with one, what you think about fighting stigma, how you’ve supported someone with a mental illness, etc. Alternatively, describe how you #HonorYourBliss – that is to say, how you incorporate bliss and happiness into your life! I’ll pick a winner this Sunday, January 15th.
Abby @ Heart of a BakerJanuary 10, 2017 at 9:03 am
This is so real! I struggle sometimes with anxiety and I feel like it’s becoming a more accepting thing, but still, scary. Thank you for opening up this conversation and I would LOVE to discuss over these tacos sometime :) xo
SarahJanuary 10, 2017 at 12:14 pm
I agree that it’s coming to be more accepted, but there’s still so much stigma!! But I think openly discussing it can help fight that <3
AbbyJanuary 10, 2017 at 9:29 am
Thank you so much for this post, particularly the reminders at the beginning! My husband has struggled with mental illness since college and, as someone who has never experienced mental illness, I had a hard time supporting him at first. Meeting his therapist and sitting in a few sessions really opened my eyes to his struggle and made me much more compassionate about what he’s dealing with. Seeing his progress over the years has been really inspiring for me.
I make sure to incorporate bliss and happiness into our life with a homemade breakfast each morning where we can sit, enjoy our coffee slowly, and just chat with each other. It’s my favorite part of the day!
SarahJanuary 10, 2017 at 12:15 pm
Thank you for supporting your husband, I know it must mean the world to him <3 And your homemade breakfast sounds wonderful! I've always wanted to start that tradition in my home, when I'm married :)
Meredith YoungsonJanuary 10, 2017 at 9:44 am
Was so nice to read this honest post, you’re brave for opening up about your journey- but I expect nothing less from you as a blogger. As someone with reach to a lot of people, it means a lot to your readers to be honest about your life instead of pretending like everyday is ‘insta perfect’. We’re all in crazy silly world together :) The past year I have been experiencing anxiety and depression and reaching out to people like yourself has made such a difference. Keep on blogging your truth + gorgeous tacos ;) <3 Meredith
SarahJanuary 10, 2017 at 12:16 pm
Thank you so much for your support, Meredith – it was really scary for me to open up about my mental health issues but I wanted to contribute to the discussion instead of perpetuating stigma. <3
KrisJanuary 10, 2017 at 10:28 am
I have depression too, in fact I’m really struggling with it right now. Thank you for sharing your story, it really does help to know you’re not alone.
SarahJanuary 10, 2017 at 12:16 pm
Sending you lots of love, Kris. I promise that it gets brighter. <3
LillyJanuary 10, 2017 at 10:45 am
YES! Love this, so much, and this recipe looks divine. I’m about to make an appointment to begin looking into what I suspect is some form of untreated anxiety and I’m so scared and so hopeful. It’s not ‘done’ in our family (ever, for any reason, including traumatic events. Which makes my heart hurt.) And seriously, screw that. Screw bravery. Let’s make talking about mental health as common as talking about the winter flu.
SarahJanuary 10, 2017 at 12:18 pm
YES GIRL YES!!! “Let’s make talking about mental illness as common as talking about the flu.” I’m wishing you the best of luck with your appointment – kudos to you for getting treatment. It’s no different than, say, going to Physical Therapy after breaking your arm. Sending you the hugest hug <3
HeatherJanuary 10, 2017 at 11:20 am
My dad’s side of the family struggles with depression. Most of the family members are on medication, and or have at one point been in psychiatric treatment. I sometimes struggle with it myself. I don’t want to take medication if I can help it. How I try to treat it myself is focusing on my faith and relationship with Jesus! As much as I also incorporate trying to take care of myself by eating well, doing things I love, being surrounded by loving and faithful friends and family, nothing helps me as much as sinking into the scriptures and singing praise to Jesus. This recipe looks so delicious! Can’t wait to check out this book!
SarahJanuary 10, 2017 at 12:21 pm
I used to struggle with taking medication too. But it’s like I said in my post… if your dad had diabetes, would you tell him NOT to take insulin? Medication for mental illness is as needed and legitimate as medication for any other illness. But I agree that fostering a relationship with God and Christ is important. I thank God for creating the scientists and biologists and doctors who came up with modern treatments and medications to help us get through our illnesses. <3
MicheleJanuary 10, 2017 at 12:15 pm
As a trained psychotherapist and someone who experiences depression, I can’t tell you how absolutely delighted I was to read your blog today! Well, delighted is probably not the right word…how about GRATEFUL! Thank you so much for your willingness to “come out” about your depression. We need to talk about this, educate our friends and loved ones, and little by little, rid our world of the stigma of mental illness~
SarahJanuary 10, 2017 at 12:24 pm
Thank you so much for leaving a note, Michele! I feel a little bit ashamed that I haven’t come out about my depression until now, but I’m going to make up for lost time by being the best advocate I can be. Let’s fight the stigma!!
Evi @ greeneviJanuary 10, 2017 at 12:57 pm
I just had dinner, but now I looked at your STUNNING pictures and I’m hungry again :D
SarahJanuary 10, 2017 at 1:39 pm
Aww thanks Evi!!
MaryJanuary 10, 2017 at 5:24 pm
Sarah your honest sharing will be helpful to you and so many others. I was struggling with depression many years ago. With the help of medication and taking care of myself I have been able to live a full and healthy life and plan to continue to do so!
SarahJanuary 10, 2017 at 5:53 pm
I’m so glad to hear that, Mary! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a note, it means a lot to me :)
Mandy @ OrganicallyMandyJanuary 10, 2017 at 8:55 pm
Hugs to you! You are brave and should not be ashamed in the least. I love when you said that being a positive person and having depression are not mutually exclusive. I believe that you have found that middle point between a positive perspective and seeing the reality of the situation. That’s hard to do.
I also loved that you talked about using food to heal as EMPOWERING. I could not agree more!! I have not had depression, but I’ve had a rainbow of health issues for about 10+ years until I looked to food to heal. One of the books I found extremely helpful on that journey was “The Gut and Psychology Syndrome” by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. She is a neurologist and neurosurgeon who looked at the link between gut health and neurological disorders. She developed the GAPS elimination diet (very similar to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet in the 70s) to help patients heal their guts (through eliminating problem foods) and seal it through gut nourishing food. Beyond the elimination of certain foods, I found food preparation (sprouting seeds, bone broth, etc.) really really informative! If that book doesn’t ring true with you, take a look at other elimination diet books out there. That was my first step to healing – figuring out how certain foods effected me. (And don’t get me wrong here, I’m not anti-medication, just know personally that a lot can shift with food.)
To close – You are AWESOME girl! All the best on your journey!
SarahJanuary 11, 2017 at 9:58 am
Thank you so much for your sweet note and for the book recommendation, Mandy! I’ve heard of the GAPS diet, but I’ve never really looked into it. But you’ve got me interested, and I’m going to order The Gut and Psychology Syndrome!! Sending hugs <3
Sarah @ Making Thyme for HealthJanuary 10, 2017 at 10:05 pm
This was such a sweet tribute to Ashley’s book. It was so brave of you to open up about your depression. I couldn’t agree more with everything you said about mental health. It is no different than any other physical ailment and should be treated as such.
On a brighter note, your photography is mind blowing gorgeous. You should be so proud of how talented you are! These tacos look amazing. :)
SarahJanuary 11, 2017 at 9:59 am
Awww thank you so much, Sarah, for your support and for your kind words about my photography!! I’ve been trying really hard to improve so it’s been really nice when it’s noticed :) :) :)
LauraJanuary 11, 2017 at 12:46 am
I love that you’ve taken the bold step of speaking out and sharing your story. I’ve been afraid to share my story for a long time (2 years actually). I’ve partially opened up about it, but not fully admitted the extent to which I’ve been suffering during this time. Partially because I didn’t want to fully admit it to myself.
I’ve been suffering from a mixture of mental illnesses surround my body. At first, I was anorexic then this transitioned into bulimia and an overall obsession with restricting what I eat. Which led me down a dark path of covering up my eating disorder with veganism. I’ve pretended for so long, but after spending the holidays with my family and loved ones I’ve finally come to love myself.
It’s a learning and growing process for me, but I’ve made the decision to eat what I want and not worry about every bit of food that goes in my mouth. I’ve become a “flexitarian” as I like to call it. I’ve come to love my body more and as such have become must happier. Still working on my mental health, but it’s good to know we are not alone!
Thanks again for sharing and I wish you the best year!
SarahJanuary 11, 2017 at 10:01 am
Thank you so much for sharing your truth, Laura. I’m so glad to hear that you’re finally coming to love yourself – that is SO important. There’s this quote I love, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” It’s something that I’ve struggled with throughout my life, too. I also used to be vegan but now I don’t put any labels on my diet, while it is still primarily plant-based. Sometimes certain labels don’t work for certain people, and there’s NOTHING wrong with that. It’s all about freedom to live your life in a way that’s best for YOU. And I’m so glad to hear that you’re doing that :)
EmilyJanuary 11, 2017 at 4:00 am
I’ve struggled with an eating dissorder for almost a year now but what feels like a lifetime. It’s a hard thing to admit to myself and I still struggle to accept my condition at times due to parts of me choosing to overlook what my body needs. The food blogging community, in particular the healthy food blogs have helped me get excited about food again, and making dishes.
SarahJanuary 11, 2017 at 10:03 am
Sending you so many hugs, Emily. All I can say is just keep going. Take it day by day. I know depression and eating disorders aren’t the same, but taking something one step at a time is a really great way to cope. <3 If you ever need any support, I'm here.
Tori//Gringalicious.comJanuary 11, 2017 at 5:24 am
Wow, delicious AND drop-dead-gorgeous all in one taco! These look amazing!
SarahJanuary 11, 2017 at 10:05 am
Thanks Tori!! <3
KarlieJanuary 11, 2017 at 6:50 am
You are amazing <3 thanks for being brave and sharing your piece of such an important message. I've struggled with anxiety for years, I take medicine and it helps me a million times over. But I also need to implement self care every day in multiple ways to be okay. Once I got real with myself and started doing these things, my anxiety controlled me a little less. Can't wait to read her book!
SarahJanuary 11, 2017 at 10:06 am
Awww thanks Karlie <3 <3 Taking steps towards self-care is CRUCIAL when dealing with any medical problem. I'm so glad to hear you're doing what's best for you :)
VanessaJanuary 11, 2017 at 8:28 am
I honestly never understood mental health issues…until I experienced postpartum depression for a long time after I had my daughter. Even then, I was in denial that anything was wrong. And even though I felt like my state of mind improved after about a year, I still struggle (pretty heavily right now, actually) with depression. But I’m finally not in denial, and taking steps to help get through it. So this post is truly timely, and I’m so glad I took the time to read through it. I usually, in most of my blog-following, just look at the beautiful pictures, drool a little, and pin it so I can make it later. But something made me read today, and I’m so glad I did. Thank you for posting something so honest!
I would say that I honor my bliss by letting myself get lost in a good book, as often as possible (ideally, once a day).
SarahJanuary 11, 2017 at 10:09 am
Getting out of denial is such a huge part of overcoming depression. For the longest time, I denied that I needed help; that I needed medication… and (surprise!) I wasn’t getting any better. But it’s so hard to realize these things when there’s so much stigma surrounding mental health. So I applaud you for taking the steps you need to take to get through this. I know you can do it, I believe in you :)
Natalia MJanuary 11, 2017 at 9:14 am
I honor my bliss by spreading my love for plants to my family and friends. I can’t convert everyone to vegan, but I believe in sharing delicious food one meal or dessert at a time. There’s a chance it will open someone’s eyes to the possibilities of healthy but delicious plant based foods, so also worth trying.
SarahJanuary 11, 2017 at 10:09 am
Amen to that, Natalia!! I love cooking plant-based meals for friends and seeing their surprise at how delicious it is!! :)
KayceeJanuary 11, 2017 at 11:15 am
I struggle with anxiety, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder. It has all gotten much worse since my daughter was born. I have recently started taking some holistic healing classes that have really changed my life! I still struggle but things have gotten easier! — I also worked at a psychiatric hospital for 8 years so I have worked closely with many people with every kind of mental illness.
SarahJanuary 11, 2017 at 11:28 am
Thank you for sharing, Kaycee – I’m really glad to hear you’re taking steps to take care of yourself. Self-care is SO IMPORTANT!! If you ever need someone to talk to, my email inbox is always open :) Hugs!
AngelJanuary 11, 2017 at 12:42 pm
Personally I’ve struggled in the past with anxiety as well. There was just something new about going into the world alone. Anxiety took the best of me and controlled my life before my eyes, and I didn’t even realize that is was destroying everything and everyone around me. My fear struck once I stepped out my door and knew wherever I was going I would be alone in a public place no matter where it was and I just couldn’t do it. The amount of body heat that felt it is was rising the tempature in the room, I’d be asking myself “wow it’s hot I’d like fresh air now” and I’d leave the area. Maybe even looking out and seeing a million blinking eyes, looking back and forth making me feel like they were all looking me me, that made my skin cringe. I could not go anywhere for years without someone or knowing someone wouldn’t be at a certain place when I get to where I wanted to be. Therapy decided to be an option for me but during that time I didn’t want anyone to know how I really was. I played it off until one day I got the biggest reality check of my life. My anxiety took the best of me when at the time my partner who I never went a day without said she was leaving. That tore me pieces knowing I would be alone I couldn’t do it. I was so caught up in having someone by my side everywhere I went and I fell into m comfort spot and realized I’ve lived my life this whole time in a bunbble that I was so afraid to pop. But that bubble was long gone now and I stay standing in just what is left of it. It took me so long to go out and start my life again but I did. Knowing I no longer had someone by my side scared me every second or everyday but I sheltered myself and starting living life. I began working on myself. I stepped into the gym for the first time alone, grocery shopped alone, I practically knew what independence was. It was weird at first of course because I had short visits to places until I scared myself and went home, but short visits became long visits. I began to love life the way I was supposed to, not relying on someone to be there. As much as this woman who was in my life may think I resent her to this day, I never did. I would love a chance to say a huge thank you to her. I would not be where I am today. Sometimes there are thoughts of being alone and then I realize I am where I need to be. My thoughts dissolve and my life continues better then it used to be…
SarahJanuary 11, 2017 at 7:16 pm
Thank you so much for your thoughtful note, Angel. I had a similar experience when I was going through the worst of my depression… I would get this terrible anxiety about leaving the house, and I would never go anywhere alone. I was afraid that I’d get a panic attack or be unable to drive, so I’d make my boyfriend go everywhere with me. He’d drive me to doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, you name it. So I definitely understand what you went through. It’s debilitating. And unhealthy to rely on another person so much. So I’m so glad to hear that you’re going out on your own again. I know how scary it can be, but you’re doing SO GREAT, believe me!! And maybe one day you’ll have the opportunity to tell your partner how you really feel. Maybe you could write her a letter. But you’re so right when you say that you are where you need to be. Keep going, I believe in you!! <3
AnyaJanuary 11, 2017 at 1:16 pm
Thank you so much for this. Mental illness is so stigmatized, despite its prevalence. It is important for successful people like you to set an example: mental illness is real and can manifest in different ways for different people. Being able to function with depression does not negate the internal stress of the illness.
I have struggled with mental health concerns myself, and it is especially painful when there are no outwardly noticeable symptoms. I am now studying to be a clinical mental health counselor, and part of my advocacy revolves around removing stigma.
I have enjoyed your blog for a while now, but this post and your honesty will turn me into a dedicated reader. Thank you again. And thank you to the other commenters who have shared their stories, as well.
SarahJanuary 11, 2017 at 7:18 pm
Thank you so much for your note, Anya! I’m so glad my post resonated with you. It’s awesome that you’re studying to be a mental health counselor, I know you’ll be amazing at it having understood where your patients are coming from. And THANK YOU for being an advocate against mental health stigma… it is SO IMPORTANT that we all use our voices to create understanding and empathy for mental illnesses. Sending hugs <3
Shelley SJanuary 11, 2017 at 6:28 pm
Thank you so much for speaking out on mental health. As a MH therapist, I see people everyday who struggle with depression and anxiety and are often misunderstood. The more that people speak out, the more we will be able to make changes.
SarahJanuary 11, 2017 at 7:20 pm
Thank you so much for your note, Shelley. I’m glad I can use my voice to help end the stigma against mental health. And thank you for doing all you do to help those with mental illness <3
TiffanyJanuary 11, 2017 at 7:13 pm
Thank you so much for sharing your journey. Having struggled with an eating disorder for many years, I am always frustrated when people tell me to “just get over it” or “it’s just in your head.” And while I do believe that for recovery to occur, one has to actively push past the horrible thoughts/bad body image, recovery is so much more than that. Those people aren’t the ones having to deal with the disorder on a literal hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute basis, and simply saying “just get over it” doesn’t address the deep root of the matter.
SarahJanuary 11, 2017 at 7:25 pm
I couldn’t agree more, Tiffany. People who say “it’s just in your head” are completely ignorant (whether they’re well-intentioned or not) and are contributing to the stigma against mental illness. My best solace is that you are always welcome here, and if you ever need to talk I’m just an email away. Sending hugs <3
jacquieJanuary 11, 2017 at 7:23 pm
thank you for such a courageous, honest and empowering post. I too suffer from depression along with PTSD and yes it is hard to speak of it because of the stigma and the comments people make. Thank you for taking the time to speak out for all of us who do have mental illnesses. Yes they are real and they do cause pain and suffering. And yes we do need to be heard.
SarahJanuary 11, 2017 at 7:27 pm
Thank you so much for leaving a note jacquie <3 I'm so glad my post resonated with you. Just know that your voice is always welcome here, and that whatever thoughts/feelings you have about your depression and PTSD are valid and encouraged to be shared in this space (if you ever want to share!!). Sending hugs <3
Emily | Shiny Happy BrightJanuary 11, 2017 at 7:38 pm
Lovely looking tacos and an incredibly important post. Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing this – it’s so important people speak out.
SarahJanuary 12, 2017 at 1:22 am
Thank you so much for your support, Emily <3
LaurenJanuary 12, 2017 at 1:13 am
This recipe looks so good!! :) honoring and making space for mental illness was a process for me – I struggled with depression and anxiety for years before seeking help. I won’t forget the first time I spoke on the phone with a therapist, after hanging up I burst into tears and we had only scheduled an appointment! The shame I had felt around acknowledging something wasn’t right no longer outweighed my desire to get help. I’m open with others about my issues, about my panic attacks, in hopes to shed light on this topic that we all are affected by. <3
SarahJanuary 12, 2017 at 11:05 am
Accepting a mental illness is such a huge first step towards recovery. I’m so happy to hear you got the help that you needed, Lauren, and that you’re open about your situation so you can help others. Thank you for helping fight stigma!! <3
AnjaJanuary 12, 2017 at 10:00 am
Thank you for your courage to speak up! Mental illnesses are hard to understand but what you say is just right: they are an illness just like any other. Sometimes they are hardly recognizable, sometimes they are devasting or even fatal.. It’s so sad that in our society people seem to struggle more and more with mental issues, it seems like somthing is fundamentally wrong with our educational and business system. :(
I struggled with anorexia a couple years ago. At the time, I didn’t think I was ill. The main part of ‘recovery’ was understanding that I actually had an illness that was in my head and I understood that I simply had to be stronger than the voice telling me what to do. Honestly, I don’t think one can ever truly ‘recover’. A part or a memory of a mental illness will always be there, one just grows in strength and keeps the dark voices at bay.. I’m very proud to say that I overcame the little voice in my head, it was hard work but I am probably the happiest I’ve ever been now. And I think tacos and a new cookbook (anorexia went and left me with a serious love for food ;) ) would make me even happier!
SarahJanuary 12, 2017 at 11:08 am
This has been a common theme with a lot of people who’ve commented – they had a hard time acknowledging that anything was wrong in the first place. The same thing happened to me; I resisted medication and treatment, thinking that I was fine. But accepting the truth is crucial for healing! I agree that mental illness never really “goes away”, but you CAN mute that voice in your head and live a happy life. So I’m so glad to hear you’re doing better, Anja! Sending you lots of love and light <3
Aimee | Wallflower KitchenJanuary 12, 2017 at 10:02 am
Um. Yes please. These look incredible and the book sounds like something I need to get hold of…
SarahJanuary 12, 2017 at 11:08 am
It’s an awesome book!! :D
Maya | Spice + SproutJanuary 12, 2017 at 10:04 am
So much love and strength to you, Sarah. I am always here if you need anything <3 <3 <3
SarahJanuary 12, 2017 at 11:08 am
Sending hugs, Maya <3 <3
DianneJanuary 12, 2017 at 10:53 am
I honor my bliss by cooking deliciously healthy vegan meals every day.
SarahJanuary 12, 2017 at 11:09 am
That’s awesome, Dianne!! :D
Winter Panzanella w/ Cider Flax Vinaigrette | Well and FullJanuary 12, 2017 at 11:07 am
[…] the opportunity to sincerely thank all of you for your thoughtful and insightful comments on my last post. Mental illness affects so many people, whether they suffer from it themselves or are supporting a […]
AlyJanuary 12, 2017 at 12:30 pm
Mental health is so important. Thank you for writing such an honest post! Depression and anxiety has accompanied me my whole life. Part of me feels burdened by it but part of me is grateful for it. Like your own story, knowing our individual struggles gives us the ability to start that conversation on mental wellbeing. One with compassion, honesty and awareness. Mental illness doesn’t have to define our identity but our identity can evolve from it. On another note, food used to be the enemy during my eating disorder. Relearning to nourish myself and show self kindness when I can is part of how I honor my bliss ♡. Thanks for your post! I’ve actually tried this recipe before. It’s SO good!
SarahJanuary 12, 2017 at 8:26 pm
Thank you so much for your support, Aly. I agree – I used to be overwhelmed by my mental illness but now I’m grateful for it. It definitely gives you a different perspective on life, and a new opportunity for compassion towards others <3
Joanna AcevesJanuary 12, 2017 at 3:56 pm
For the past 2 years I’ve been struggling with bad anxiety and panic attacks. Even though it’s more accepting now, the stigma is still there, even with family, which makes it hard. I know it’s important for me to seek help, it’s just getting to that point. But when I read blog posts like yours and reading all the comments, it helps me to not feel alone and so I thank you for writing a post like this!! :)
SarahJanuary 12, 2017 at 8:29 pm
I know, aren’t these comments amazing?! I can’t believe how many people have spoken out and shared their stories!! It gives me hope for the future… a future where stigma is gone. But I know how hard it is, especially when family members don’t understand. Just know that you are always welcome here and that your voice will always be heard <3 <3
PattiJanuary 12, 2017 at 8:47 pm
Wow! Very honest post. The more people talk about mental illness, it lessens the stigma. We all need to be kind because you never know what someone else is going through. I have a friend who I was diagnosed as bipolar when we were kids. It was difficult to understand why she was fine one day and completely down the next. She is much better and happier now!!!
Those tacos look amazing!
SarahJanuary 12, 2017 at 10:10 pm
YES – I love that quote – “Be kind, for everyone you meet is facing a hard battle.” Thanks for the reminder, Patti <3
Jessica HapakJanuary 12, 2017 at 9:27 pm
Oh wow! Usually when I find blog posts with giveaways, the giveaways are a few years old! I’m so excited to actually have a chance this time.
After my father died I was diagnosed with PTSD and GAD. I #HonorMyBliss by allowing myself to recognize my feelings as valid due to a medical diagnosis- not just me being weak or moody (I hate that word!). I also make effort to have a bath and do a face night as often as possible, as I use that time to treat my skin and take care of myself and just relaxing. Self care is so important when we are struggling!
SarahJanuary 12, 2017 at 10:11 pm
YES! Self care is SO important, and I’m so glad to hear that you partake in it. And your PTSD and GAD are REAL and VALID medical conditions, not you being “moody” (I hate that word too). Don’t let anyone EVER tell you otherwise <3
Heather SebastianJanuary 13, 2017 at 10:20 am
I incorporate bliss in my life by doing my best to live kindly and gently to the earth, and my taking time for myself each day to indulge in a cup of tea and a cozy spot to read my latest book. Thanks for the super lovely giveaway! xoxo
SarahJanuary 14, 2017 at 12:39 pm
That sounds like a delightful way to #HonorYourBliss :) I love reading too!
Traci | Vanilla And BeanJanuary 13, 2017 at 12:21 pm
Thank you for sharing your heart, Sarah. It IS an important topic and one we’re definitely not talking enough about. My family has been touched by depression and I can say that it’s a challenging disease. But with the right support network, it can be managed and improved over time. We have to find better ways to provide support for those who suffer from it. On another note, these tacos are scrumptious!! And your photography makes me want to dig in!!
SarahJanuary 14, 2017 at 12:40 pm
YES – we all need to contribute to the support network for people with mental illness, as we would for a friend with cancer. <3 Thanks for your kind words, Traci <3
VeronikaJanuary 13, 2017 at 5:48 pm
Thank you for such an honest post<3 I've been struggling lately to figure out whether I'm depressed or just sad and emotional. I'm always like, "depressed? nah, I can't be, right? I'm just upset because this and that happened". I've never been diagnosed and no one ever even suggested I could suffer from depression but there were always those "why don't you just cheer up" and "is anything wrong? why don't you smile?" kind of comments, as well as those times I completely broke down over stuff other people would consider small bumps in the road. Unless my mom caught me crying over something that happened, I'd never tell a living soul about those numerous times I've broken down (especially in the last two years tbh). Sometimes I even wonder if those could be panic attacks? I'm also one of those people who always pretend everything is great when it's not which I know just makes things worse. It's a good thing we can all support each other in this and know that none of us is in this alone. It's important to talk about mental illness, especially in the age of social media (I'm looking at you Instagram) and vlogging where everyone's life seems perfect. There's more to people than that and even I sometimes struggle to convince myself that one picture or a 10-minute video doesn't sum up a person's life.
SarahJanuary 14, 2017 at 12:45 pm
I hope I’m not overstepping my bounds, but you might want to consider going in for a mental health screening. If you do have depression or anxiety, it’s so important to have the right treatment and support network so you can heal. If you have any questions about anything related to that at all, please feel free to shoot me an email – I’d love to help in any way I can <3
VeronikaJanuary 16, 2017 at 3:19 pm
I’ll definitely think about it. It’s just that a lot of stuff happened at the same time and it hit me like a ton of bricks. And thank you I really appreciate that <3
SarahJanuary 17, 2017 at 12:18 pm
Sending hugs, Veronika <3
Nicole SJanuary 14, 2017 at 12:49 pm
I struggle with depression, too. I’m glad that more people seem to be talking about it now.
SarahJanuary 14, 2017 at 12:57 pm
<3 Thanks for your note, Nicole. Sending hugs :)
Nina Olsson - Nourish AtelierJanuary 14, 2017 at 6:09 pm
It’s really wonderful that you are open about your depression, it helps to take away the stigmas… Much love . X nina
SarahJanuary 14, 2017 at 7:51 pm
Thank you Nina <3
Cookbook Sneak Peek + Big Pre-Order Giveaway! - Blissful Basil | Healthy Plant-Based Vegan Recipes & Wellness Tips by Ashley Melillo | Blissful BasilJanuary 17, 2017 at 11:01 am
[…] Well and Full […]
VictoriaJanuary 17, 2017 at 5:37 pm
Hi Sarah. I’ve been receiving your posts since July 2015. (I just checked my saved e-mails from you to find out. Has it really been that long?!) I’ve enjoyed seeing your recipes and learning about your life here and there. This is the first time I’ve been inspired to reply and it is a message of gratitude. Thank you for opening up your blog to the topic of mental illness and sharing your story. My Dad had a nervous breakdown when I was seven years old, back in the late 1970s, and he’s been treated for depression and anxiety ever since, unfortunately not successfully despite trying numerous medications over the years. I had what I call a major depressive episode when I was a senior at university in 1995, which I believe was brought on by the stress of my pending entrance into the “real world” with no idea what I was going to do with my B.S. in Psychology. (It was the major that interested me most so that’s what I chose to study!) I took a semester off from university, went back to live with my parents and received treatment in the form of therapy and medication before returning to complete my degree. I carried on with treatment for a number of years but by my 30s I wanted to try going off meds to see how I’d do since, like many people, I didn’t/don’t like the idea of taking medication. Well, I’ve been living life: fell in love, got married and now have two kids, a son who will be 10 this year and a daughter who turned 13 last month. (How did that happen?!) I wonder from time to time, in the midst of being a stay-at-home wife and mom, about returning to therapy and possibly medication because sometimes I feel like I’m just “getting by” and not living the best life I could live. Sometimes I’m emotional and my husband will ask me, “What’s wrong?” and I can’t put my finger on it, which makes sense since depression has to do with the imbalance of neurotransmitters and doesn’t “need” an external reason to exist. Sometimes I so look forward to bedtime because when I’m sleeping I’m not thinking, not feeling depressed or anxious or teary, and that can be such a relief. Well, it’s time to go pick up my kids from school. Thanks for listening. And thanks again for sharing and helping to make it okay for other people to share their stories, to feel accepted and understood. XO
SarahJanuary 18, 2017 at 10:56 am
Hi Victoria, thank you so much for leaving such a thoughtful note. It’s so exciting to hear from a reader who’s been here since the beginning! Your thoughts are always welcome here :) I don’t mean to be too bold, as I’m not a licensed health professional, but as someone who has dealt with similar things I would highly recommend looking into therapy. I see a psychologist and a psychiatrist for the best possible treatment. They would be well-equipped to help you with what you’re going through. I definitely know how you feel, though… at my lowest I would intentionally take long naps so I wouldn’t have to be “awake” anymore. At that point it’s really hard to seek help because living feels like it takes so much effort. But I KNOW you can live your best life possible…. it’s out there, you just have to find it – and a therapist could really help! Ultimately, just do what’s right for you. Follow your heart. And you’ll always have a support group here to help you along the way <3
VictoriaJanuary 18, 2017 at 2:55 pm
Thank you, Sarah. I appreciate hearing your thoughts and I’m grateful for the support. :)
SarahJanuary 18, 2017 at 8:15 pm
Sending hugs <3
HannahFebruary 6, 2017 at 10:53 pm
Mentall illiness is very real and hard to overcome. Therapy has allowed me to see my anxiety and it is frustrating to see it take over your life and feel like you can’t get a handle of it. You know your thoughts are wrong, but can’t help it.
SarahFebruary 7, 2017 at 9:20 am
It’s so hard to stop thoughts once they arrive in your brain. But therapy really can help (at least it has for me)! Sending love and peace to you <3
Stomach Soother Smoothie + Mental Health Mondays | Well and FullOctober 16, 2017 at 10:00 am
[…] I wrote about my struggles with mental health in this post, so many of you commented, emailed, and messaged me describing your struggles with the same. I was […]
15 Wonderful Ways to Eat Winter CabbagesJanuary 25, 2021 at 12:31 am
[…] Cauliflower Tacos with Purple Cabbage Slaw from Well and Full […]