Baking Keeps My MG Anxiety and Stress From Rising
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.
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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