Hi, my name is Casey and I deal with chronic depression and anxiety.
I also lead a very happy, productive life.
Let me explain…
The truth was, I had been fighting depression for several years, mainly in silence. I felt guilty and somewhat ashamed. I am well-educated, employed, from a privileged background with a great support system both near and far—what did I have to be depressed about? In October of 2016, the weird cocktail of apathy and anxiety started to get worse. It turned to hopelessness. I tried to dig myself out of the deepening sadness. I started working out more, going out more, reading happier books, eating better, drinking less, seeing a therapist, removing negativity from my life, the list goes on – but nothing seemed to work.
Except baking. Or to be exact, “The Great British Bake Off,” which had just found its way to American Netflix and into my life. When I was feeling truly, dreadfully numb, I would watch a few YouTube videos of cakes or cookies being decorated. It wasn’t a cure, it was hardly a Band-Aid, but watching those videos, watching the delightfully British competitors on GBBO, made the load I was carrying lighter somehow.
Of course, I could not spend my entire life watching TV or YouTube. I did my best to remain an active, productive member of society, albeit one that cried several times a day for no discernible reason. But I wasn’t truly getting better. I had lost nearly 20lbs and I had several concerning blood tests, causing my doctor to send me to see an oncologist. Thankfully, physically, I was fine.
In February of 2017, my apathy, tears and weight loss finally got a name. Thanks to a former coworker and true friend who asked me if I had ever considered antidepressants.
Wait…I was depressed? That’s what this was?
Saying it out loud, putting a name on what I was dealing with and reaching out was like turning a light on. I took the fear and shame from the word, if not the condition. I also was able to take control of my life. I started taking Zoloft in March of 2017.
The first week of antidepressants can be uncomfortable. There was nausea, headaches and fatigue. There was also ‘Great British Bake Off.’ My partner at the time was incredible throughout, spending the entire weekend making sure I had what I needed, including more episodes of GBBO. The effect of the antidepressant otherwise was quite gradual and then all at once. At first the headaches stopped then my energy returned and one day, I realized I felt different. I felt like myself, but a version of myself that I had forgotten existed. Or maybe I had just given up on her.
Several months later, I found myself single (except for my perfect pup), with new friends and a continued interest in baking videos. As I started to become more active, I questioned why I was spending hours watching videos, when I could spend the same amount of time creating tangible baked goods.
Since doing so, I have learned more about myself, my strengths and my weaknesses than I ever thought possible. One of the biggest lessons is to do more of what makes you happy. Baking makes me feel hopeful, joyful even, and I wanted to share that feeling with those around me. And this passion has since grown into Casey’s Bakes.
I am looking forward to starting a new journey, of sorts, with you here on this blog. Moving forward, I plan on baking being the primary focus but I first wanted to share the story of how I found baking.
If you have a story you’d feel ready and comfortable sharing, I’m here to listen. Your journey is uniquely yours, but you do not have be alone on your path.