Moving the first layer of eclectic products aside, I discovered flour, baking powder and icing sugar. I'll make some cupcakes I thought. I had to do 'something' because doing 'nothing' was causing the demons to run riot in my head. I spent that afternoon up to my elbows in cake mix. Weighing. Pouring. Stirring. Whisking. Baking. Piping. And, more importantly, focussing. Pouring any energies I had into the creation of a dozen little iced delights.
The whole process took a good couple of hours, but what I was left with was a mini army of, even though I say so myself, very pretty looking cupcakes. I didn't want to eat them though, my appetite had been AWOL for a while. But creating them had served as a distraction. It had been therapeutic and a way of escaping the cacophony of negative thoughts that had been plaguing my head. It had been a way of contending with the depression that had been prevalent for quite some time.
There were - and have been - many other factors involved in the management of my depression, but baking has been a key ingredient in helping me fight a very difficult disease. And I'm not alone. One of the winners of The Great British Bake Off, John Whaite, was diagnosed with manic depression nearly a decade ago but explains how baking has been an effective way to manage his condition; "Baking helps lift my depression. It can't cure it, but it helps."
The Irish author Marian Keyes even wrote a book in 2012 entitled 'Saved by Cake', giving a frank account of her crippling experience of depression and how baking rescued her. She explains, with a generous serving of humour, how the precision of measurements, the prettiness of frosting and the soothing nature of the process all contribute to helping her cope.
So, these days I have my cake and eat it too! My kitchen remains my sanctuary and my 'therapist'. And I'd recommend baking to anyone, whether you're a budding Mary Berry or a complete novice. Next time there's a rainy day, why not search your own kitchen cupboards and see what you can create? You never know where it may lead.
For more information and help about depression, visit the Depression Alliance website: www.depressionalliance.org
For further information in my own words visit my Just Giving Page: www.justgiving.com/carolinebutler