Some days you find yourself doing so awesome, it seems like things are finally clicking.
I decided to fry up some fish I had and at the last minute, also pulled a half of a package of calamari that has been in the freezer for ages. I ground up some Keebler crackers, threw in some flour, beat an egg in another bowl, all the while heating up some oil in my big frying pan, cooking egg noodles and some peas. These are times I feel awesome. I can do ten things at once, make everything cook at the right time, dance around the kitchen and just find myself chatting away with my inner voices. They cheer me on, talk about how things are being done, whisper in golf commentator voices that make me giggle….
Clint: “tonight on ‘Cat’s Magical Mystery Kitchen’, things are going full speed ahead. Cat has ten bowls of various things being prepared, all four burners of the stove are heating up, she has a mischievous grin on her face, and even the ice cold four hour old nasty coffee hasn’t seemed to have affected her.”
Tony: (softly): “what is she cooking up tonight Clinton?”
Clint: “she has an enormous bowl filled with crackers that she just crushed as if her ex’s face was at the bottom of the bowl, and now is beating an egg with a little water. The calamari is in! Wow, those tentacles are really icky….um, so now it appears she is throwing them into the frying pan and whoa, Cat, the big pot of water on the other burner is about to boil over!”
Bruce: Stop distracting her.
Cap: I wonder if she realizes she turned the wrong burner on? What’s that smell?
Thor: I believe that the napkin holder is melting. Do you thing she noticed?!
Nat: Nah, she’s oblivious…
Clint: Um, Cat? The air is getting thick in here….maybe uh, check the oil?!
Me: Shit! Shit! Shit!!!! Fans! Fans! Window, damnit!! I have not set off the building smoke alarms in 6 years and I’m not going to start now!!!
Bruce: She hasn’t eaten today has she?
Clint: Nope. Nothing…Looking a bit shaky. I tried to hand her a granola bar but she said a bad word and told me to get out of the way of her “masterpiece”…
Cap: I can only imagine what the bad word was…ugh.
Me: Okay, think I have things under control now….whew. Why am I so dizzy? And what the hell happened to the napkin holder?!
In less than five minutes my perfectly timed meal became a near panic attack. I hadn’t eaten, blood sugar was low, I was hungry and grabbing fried calamari while I tossed more into the pan, stirring the pasta and trying to bread up more fish while making the sauce for the pasta. Half the sole was in the pan while the other half sat in the egg. The pasta was beyond al dente, more like a mass of pasta goo. I grabbed a pot holder and started pouring it into the colander, and turning to stir the sauce which was boiling away and becoming way too thick, adding the peas and some seasonings, then returning to the fish i had in the egg…Suddenly I noticed the air was brown and smokey. I began moving fans to blow the heavy air out of the room, turned on the one in the window and the one over the stove. Shit! I was suddenly feeling a familiar but unpleasant emotion….panic. Anyone who has panic/anxiety attacks knows… And you’ll do anything to make it go away.
The only thought that came to mind was, “no fucking way! I refuse to do this NOW!”
Sometimes I actually think I can talk myself out of it. “Focus!”
You think I was getting upset because I nearly burned my dinner. You think I was merely hungry. But it was the idea that I could inadvertantly set off the alarm, cause the entire building to be disrupted, bring the fire department and have to be embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t paying attention to the oil temperature when I clearly knew better were the main factors. Once the oil had stopped smoking and the fans were aimed out of the window, I took a deep breath. I drank a big swallow of cold coffee, lit up a cigarette and began to relax. I had been freezing earlier in the day, dispute it being 98° outside and 80° in the house, now sweat was pouring off me. The air in the room lifted, and my heart rate began to slow down.
Sometimes recognizing the signs isn’t so easy. Unless you’ve got a good handle on knowing your own body and mind, what sets you off, what calms you down, all your symptoms and changes to your environment, you can just expect to collapse into a crying ball on the floor. It’s taken me a lot of years working in Mental Health, learning to recognize my body changes and emotions, and triggers to finally be able to control my anxiety attacks. It’s not as easy if you are around other people, or in public. My previous attack a couple of months ago was during the day when I was out and about and no way to retreat. By the time I finally got home it was too late to stop it. I erupted into tears, sobs and shaking. (See “Thank you Doctor Banner” post about that day).
Tonight, I prevailed. And I ate fried calamari, fried Sole, and pasta with parmesan and peas. And the world is okay again. I can’t say it would make a Master Chef final, but it was edible. More like World’s almost worst cook…
Now if only my 6 bloated egos could get off their butts and clean up the mess….
“Thor! That’s Calamari, not a hair tie!”…
Shit, gotta go….Clint’s aiming an arrow at Tony and Nat and Bruce are picking fried bits of food from Thor’s golden locks….
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