Friday, 3 March 2017

Homemade Heart Shaped Gumdrops + A Little Backstory

My last food post (which was also my first) got quite a decent amount of views, comments and even a few shares on Pinterest, which motivated me to do another. I found this recipe on Pinterest and was surprised at how easy it seemed, so I thought I would give it a go. Keep in mind that this post is going to be a little different than my last one though, as things did not go to plan while I was making these.

I've mentioned before that one of my resolutions for the year was to try new recipes - since I own so much baking and decorating equipment and never use it - so that's exactly what I've been doing, and it's been really fun! I usually cook when Daniel isn't home so I can't run to him for help if I need it because I want to be able to figure things out for myself, but he was home when I went to make these, and it's actually really lucky that he was.

Homemade Heart Shaped Gumdrops by The Small Adventurer

You see, I suffer from anxiety, which I try not to bring up because I don't want to bring people down (I have no problem with people talking about mental health, though! Some of my favourite blogs are primarily mental health related), but it does come up sometimes, and this is one of those times. A "side effect" that I suffer from due to my anxiety is dissociation.

I am not 100% sure that dissociating is the correct name for what happens to me (when I talk about it to my friends I just call it a "mind blank"), as when I went to the doctor he just said "it's from anxiety" and didn't actually give me a name, but after doing some research into dissociation and all the different types of it, I am pretty confident that's what I have. I definitely fit the criteria: I grew up in an incredibly stressful environment, and lived through a lot of traumatic experiences, such as my house burning down, and witnessing a lot of violence.

Homemade Heart Shaped Gumdrops by The Small Adventurer
Homemade Heart Shaped Gumdrops by The Small Adventurer

Whatever it's called, it usually occurs when I am stressed, but sometimes it's just out of the blue. Each 'episode' starts off with me hallucinating, but only very slightly. For example, if I turn my head quickly, I'll think I'm in a different room for a second. (This part makes me think I might be photosensitive, which could cause absence seizures, and they sound very similar to what happens to me - except that I do get really tired after they happen, which this article says is not common.) I am always aware that I am hallucinating, so often I am able to calm myself down and actually prevent myself from dissociating, but I'm not always so lucky.


The worst part about dissociating is that I can't remember what I do or say whilst it's happening. Sometimes I don't even know that it has happened unless someone tells me afterwards. Each time it happens, it's slightly different. Sometimes I don't know who I am, who my friends are, or where I am. Other times I tell whoever I'm with that I just need to sit down for a while.

According to Daniel, nearly every time it happens, I swallow a lot and just stop talking (which is mentioned in the article about absence seizures). It's very scary and I don't like thinking about it. Another particularly bad part about it is that, towards the end of the episode, I appear like I am back to normal, but I am not - so I can talk and function like normal, but I still won't have any memory of what I have been doing.

Homemade Heart Shaped Gumdrops by The Small Adventurer

The point to me telling you this is because I dissociated while I was making these gumdrops. I turned on the stove and that's one of the last things I remember. Daniel told me that he came out after not too long to check on me and found me sitting down, with the stove on and unattended. He stayed with me after that and helped me make them, but I honestly don't remember much about it at all. I know he helped me stir the ingredients in a pot until it came to a boil, and then I'm pretty sure he poured it into the baking tray for me.

I honestly feel really disappointed because I wanted to do these recipes all on my own, but I am really lucky that Daniel was there. There's no guarantee that I would have remembered to check the stove after my episode, so who knows how long it could have been on before I realised. It's really scary to think that these episodes can happen at anytime, and I might not even know it. This is one of the biggest reasons I don't like being alone, and why I can't drive.

Homemade Heart Shaped Gumdrops by The Small Adventurer

Anyway, we put the mixture into the fridge overnight and the next day I cut it into little hearts and rolled them in sugar - and they are delicious. I love them so much. Yes, it's basically just sugar, sugar and more sugar, but I never expect anything I make (or help make) to turn out good, so I was really happy. We did add a flavouring extract to it, but you couldn't really taste it, so we must not have added enough.

Homemade Heart Shaped Gumdrops by The Small Adventurer

Even though I can't remember making them, I know I was there and that I helped, so that's still something. I think these are so cute and yummy, I really want someone to have a party and invite me just so I have an excuse to make more!

If you have a favourite recipe, sweets-related or not, feel free to tell me about it in the comments below! I could always use more inspiration.

Until next time,
Indya xx

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