Baking Keeps My MG Anxiety and Stress From Rising

Michelle Gonzaba avatar

by Michelle Gonzaba |

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Strength in Weakness column by Michelle Gonzaba / grief

Anxiety and stress have always been a part of my life. Both have swirled around in my head since I was a small child, years before I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis (MG).

And they go hand in hand: I become anxious when I’m under stress, and I feel stress when my anxiety flares up. It can be like a never-ending loop; one always accompanies the other.

When MG came into my life, it became even more difficult to manage my anxiety and stress. Even a simple trip to the grocery store triggered mental anguish. What if my legs gave out? What if I couldn’t lift my grocery bags? How could I avoid speaking to anyone if my mouth lost strength? I couldn’t avoid worrying about such things.

And then I discovered baking. While I have found some other strategies to relieve my troubled thoughts — the ones that require the most concentration are the most successful — baking has become the best activity to calm the stress and anxiety of MG.

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Before MG, I was never much of a baker. I tended to be more of an “I’ll eat it when it’s done” kind of person. But after binge-watching three seasons of “The Great British Bake Off,” it seemed like such a peaceful activity to take up. As an added bonus, I would have something to eat once I was done. Baked goods plus lower stress and anxiety? I was instantly intrigued.

While my first few attempts at a Victoria sponge cake were not the best, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the process. I learned that being a successful baker involved precision and concentration. I literally had no time to think about the things that worried me because I was too focused on not over-mixing my cake batter. For at least an hour, I wouldn’t worry about physical weakness or falling down. My only concern was making something edible.

I know that baking isn’t a cure for everything and that my MG isn’t going anywhere. But I find baking to be an invaluable tool when I become overwhelmed with fears and doubts. I’ve come to accept the many ways MG will affect the rest of my life, but that doesn’t mean I have to succumb to the mental hardships that come along with it. Baking has given me a way to quiet my mind and focus on creating something that will be appreciated by others.

At least, I hope it will be appreciated. I still have some work to do on my sourdough bread.

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Myasthenia Gravis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Comments

Jonathan D AUTORE avatar

Jonathan D AUTORE

I will have to think about your idea for a while. I am in remission now ... but I never know just when in the afternoon ... I will melt and have to go lie down for a while. One would think that cooking in the morning would be best ... before you have time to poop out and your energy is still up. But so far my Myasthenia Gravis together with over 5500 mg of pills every day still makes it impossible to get asleep and stay asleep for long ... so I am not always awake and alert so far in the mornings either, and so far my two sleep studies have not been reported back yet. I don't think sleep labs know about MG patients ... you can't study and record our sleep habits ... if we sleep so little and fail.

I still remember my darkest MYASTHENIA GRAVIS days when I was still undiagnosed. You started your lunch or dinner ... but your right hand was so weak .. that you either had to hold up your right hand with your left hand to finish eating ... or just dump your dinner in the fridge, and warm it in microwave... after you lied down and rested.

So I am wishing you the best. I am still in the microwave casserole NORDIC WARE phase ... and try to make enough meal and leftovers to last a few days. I used to do a lot of baking, till the hospitals stuffed me with STATINS and the STEROID PREDNISONE (now tapered off and killed) ... that precipitated me getting DIABETES II ... so that part of baking is probably off the table for a while ... until my doctor's tapering me off of my INSULIN LANTUS shots makes me diabetes free again.

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