I’m currently in class being taught how to set up a travel blog for one of our assessments. Huh. Think we can check the ‘yeh-I-know-how-to-blog’ box, thank you very much! After trawling through old posts I realised that this particular number hadn’t been published yonks back – some pea-brain forgot to hit the ‘publish’ button! No more faffin’ around – here it is.
Right peeps today it’s time to get serious. Don’t look at me like that. I do mean it. We’ve got something to talk about. Something that for all we claim it isn’t, is still taboo. And no it’s not your kinky bedroom adventures. That you can keep to yourself thank you very much. Today we’re talking about mental health. Among young adults (if spoken about at all) it’ll be in hushed voices, as though it’s something that only someone else could suffer from. The other option? We joke about it. Laugh it off. I know I’m culprit to it. Something not going quite right? Send yourself up about it. Pretend it really ain’t that bad (admittedly sometimes that’s the truth – over dramatizing is not completely unfamiliar territory). Sure, this can be a way of bringing something to the surface that you may not otherwise have had the guts to, yet it also dismisses the reality of the issue, diminishes the significance. Hey, it’s actually okay to admit that life’s a touch tough at the moment – perhaps more than a touch – and to not make a joke out of it.
A few truths might help debunk the whole ‘taboo fandangle’. I’ll go first, okay? Apparently I’m composed. Efficient, organised, on top of things, ‘got ma s**t together’. Suuuurrre. Now’s the moment where I’m meant to admit I’m one big wailing/anxious/pained mess. And then send it up. But no, and we’re being serious, remember? Wind the clock back two years and I embodied that most days (that’s a story for another time though). And, FYI we’re well past that phase now, yay! This particular post is rather about suggesting that small things can be niggling away at you, not necessarily serious enough to be cause for alarm, yet certainly something significant to take note of. To monitor. To not brush them away/deny they aren’t there. You don’t need to switch into hypersensitive, psychoanalysis mode but it is important to acknowledge those niggles, and then gently question why they’re still hanging around.
The remedy could be easy, or at times a bit more complex. Two things are key here – firstly, admitting that the niggles aren’t budging and secondly, talking to someone. Internalising rarely helps. In fact, it often makes things worse. That someone could be your roomie, your best-bud, your bro. Struggling with something mentally isn’t cause for shame or embarrassment. It doesn’t mean you’ll be bundled off and sent to a shrink (which, FYI, is not to be considered as a bad thing). Often these ‘struggle-town’ scenarios are easily remedied by ensuring that you continue doing those things that make you feel you, that bring you enjoyment, that – forgive me for going all hippy for a sec – re-centre you. And by revealing to someone that you are having a wee bit of a tough time, they can help prod/force you into doing such activities.
Still not feeling confident in sharing? Consider baking a few goodies to accompany you on your support-seeking mission. That shifts the conversation from being ‘all about you’, makes it a little less serious/intimidating. And when there’s cookies, there’s love. Seriously.
Snickerdoodles, with their crisp bottom (p’raps not the best thing to think about if the center of your worries is having a saggy butt), and light, fluffy center are a starting point for splitting that face into a cheesy grin (the name at least should do that!). Sure, they won’t magic your nasty niggles away but they’re bound to help! Delicate cookies with cinnamon undertones, they are beyond simple to make (admittedly they are rather plain-looking), no matter the location. Hel-lo cramped, college kitchen. And you can absolutely still bake these classic cinnamon cookies even if you’re currently serenely sailing through the tumultuous mental sea…they’re suited to any occasion!
Makes 24 cookies
225 unsalted butter, softened
½ cup caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups plain flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 190C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
In a large bowl beat the butter until soft. Add the caster sugar and cream until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten egg, beating until incorporated.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, bicarb soda and cinnamon.
Combine the dry ingredients with the butter and mix until well combined and no pockets of flour remain.
Wrap the dough in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes (up to 24 hours). Shape the dough into slightly smaller than golf-ball sized spheres and set on the baking trays, leaving a good 5cm between each ball. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand and bake for approximately 9 minutes or until just firm and beginning to turn golden brown around the edges. Set trays on a wire rack and leave to cool for 2 minutes before gently transferring the cookies from the baking tray to the wire rack and leaving to cool completely.
Will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Alternatively, can be frozen for up to 2 months.
Source: Barely adapted from 500 Cookies by Phillipa Vanstone & Carol Beckerman.