Bestselling Author Marian Keyes ‘Saved’ By A Chocolate Cheesecake
Till 2 years ago, bestselling author Marian Keyes was struggling with nervous breakdown and crippling depression. Then one fine day, she was saved by a chocolate cheesecake, which she had baked for her friend Helen’s birthday. Keyes baked her way out of the blues that surrounded her from then on.
1) In the Throes of Depression
Marian, one of the most successful Irish fiction writers and novelists, did not know she was suffering from a nervous breakdown until she was six months into it. She was promoting her latest novel and at first, she felt it was because she was dealing with too many public engagements. In the author’s own words, “It started in October 2009, when panic started rolling up from my gut and down from my head and pushing out from behind my eyes. I felt like I was dreaming, like I had woken up in the middle of a horrible nightmare, only to discover that I’d been awake all along. I felt desperate and terrified without knowing why. I was afraid to tell anyone how I felt because I knew they’d tell me there was nothing to be afraid of and I knew that that wouldn’t make the fear go away.”
2) Not Even Holiday could Help
Amidst all this darkness, Marian decided to take a holiday, to a “beautiful tropical place.” But even that was not helpful as she says, “The sea, the sky, the sun…it all looked sinister and strange. I was afraid to be anywhere. I desperately wanted to go home. Even when I was at home, I hardly recognized where I lived. I barely recognized my husband, my mother, my own face. I wondered if I was dead – if I’d accidentally managed to die without noticing it – and was in hell.”
3) The Cakes come to Rescue
She tried a number of antidepressants, spent time at a psychiatric hospital, and went through treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, reiki, mindfulness, acupuncture, Bach Flower remedies, ice-cold showers, etc, but nothing proved helpful. Then, one day, she realized it was her friend, Helen Donegan’s birthday. So, she decided to bake a chocolate cheesecake for her friend though she had not done any baking for the last 10 years. Then, she just couldn’t stop baking. She referred to the Internet, looked up recipe books and conducted her own investigation into the art and science of baking. Eventually, she baked so much, she had to give it away to her friends, family, even complete strangers, a practice, which was appreciated at first but dreaded later on.
4) Baking, how therapeutic!
For Marian, it was all about a choice, as she puts it, “To be perfectly blunt about it (her depression), my choice sometimes is: I can kill myself or I can make a dozen cupcakes. Right so, I’ll do the cupcakes and I can kill myself tomorrow.” It is a choice she feels everyone dealing with a difficult life should make. Marian feels the need to make it clear that if baking is not for you, you can go ahead and find something that helps (to cure depression for you).” In her case, baking has helped her focus, particularly the decorating part, which she finds very “funny.”
5) ‘Saved By Cake’
In her book, “Saved by Cake,” Marian talks about her favorite recipes for baking, which are simple as well as complex, depending upon your state of mind. She feels people could take help from her experience and find help in the “over 80 Ways to Bake Yourself Happy” to deal with their individual difficulties in life. The book will be published in March 2012. In case you are mad about baking, don’t forget to book yourself a copy.
Recently, baking has come up as a therapeutic practice for a whole generation of women and men. So much so, that it has renewed the popularity of baking clubs, especially in UK. In case you are impressed by this change, why not try your hands at some tasty baking recipes from ifood.tv.
Image Courtesy: blog.booktopia.com.au