Sometime I talk to People.com

Thanks to the glorious Maria Yagoda for her story “8 Things Someone with Anxiety Wants You to Know” on People.com

Like millions of Americans, writer and Extra Crispy editor Kat Kinsman suffers from anxiety. In the first chapter of her new book, Hi Anxiety: Life with a Bad Case of the Nerves, Kinsman recounts the moments in kindergarten when she first realized she was … “nervous.” When asked to read a passage in front of the class, she froze, biting her lips and losing control of her hands, which trembled against her will. For the rest of her life, Kinsman would be grappled with panic attacks, self-doubt, depression and the not-so-basic facets of being a human: Leaving the house. Maintaining relationships. Getting through crowds. Surviving the holidays.

Kinsman spoke with PEOPLE about what she wants people to know about anxiety, and the reality of living with it.

1. You can’t always ‘see’ it.

“You won’t necessarily see it in somebody. It’s not just like somebody sitting there acting nervous and biting their fingernails. If you’ve suffered from this your whole life, you know how to mask it. You can have somebody standing in front of you having a panic attack, and you might not know it. People wouldn’t necessarily ever think I was an anxious person until I told them. I was like, ‘No, I actually had a panic attack that lasted several hours yesterday.’”

Read the rest at People.com.

Sometimes my book makes the list

I’m thrilled that Hi, Anxiety has been included in several roundups of the best upcoming books:

Bustle: The 15 Best Nonfiction Books Coming In November 2016

Writer Kat Kinsman takes on a common condition in Hi, Anxiety: Life with a Bad Case of Nerves. Not only does she share poignant stories of her own experiences with the illness, she shows how millions are impacted. In doing so, she sets a powerful example of how we should all be working to end the stigma.

Vol. 1 Brooklyn: November 2016 Book Preview

You may know Kat Kinsman from her work as an editor at Extra Crispy, or her work with Chefs With Issues. In Hi, Anxiety, Kinsman explores anxiety and depression through her own experiences with both, writing with candor about each has affected her everyday life.

Nylon: 12 Must-Read Books For November

Anyone who’s suffered from anxiety knows that it’s a particularly paradoxical disease, because as much as serious anxiety is no laughing matter, it’s also so sublimely absurd that it’s hard not to laugh at yourself. Kinsman bravely and brilliantly captures the difficulties of dealing with anxiety, using her sharp wit and lucid prose to take readers on a journey into the depths of an anxiety-riddled mind.

Sometimes I get reviewed

Reviews of Hi, Anxiety:

“Meet Kinsman, who calls herself nervous. Labeled a “Nervous Nelly” since childhood due to a crippling case of anxiety, Kinsman is also the senior food and drinks editor of Extra Crispy, a wife, a daughter, and now, an author. In her first book, she lists her fears like groceries, providing the reader with a valuable understanding of what it’s like being terrified of, well, just about anything: talking on the phone; getting her hair cut (she actually trims her own at home); and going to the doctor, to name but a few. Kinsman opens up to the reader like a friend, explaining how talking about her illness was the only thing that helped her move forward, “even though it often felt like scraping off my skin with a butter knife.” With witty humor and an enduring boldness, Kinsman’s insightful read will have readers cringing at times, like when her nerves keep her from picking up a pair of designer shoes at the repair shop, but never fails to showcase her inner strength all the same.”—Carissa Chesanek, Booklist

“Kinsman, senior food and drinks editor for the Time, Inc. website Extra Crispy and founder of the mental-health awareness website Chefs with Issues, here chronicles a lifetime of worry and fear. She writes about her childhood and the crippling anxiety she felt but didn’t understand. Kinsman presents the various methods she tried to control her anxiety, including medications, meditation, supplements, etc., but never found a solution. The author comes to the realization that there is no one method that works for everyone, and many can’t manage the fear well, but that these emotions come from an illness and shouldn’t be a source of shame. Kinsman encourages those suffering from the malady to acknowledge what is happening so that they can get the support they deserve. VERDICT An insightful look at an often misunderstood disorder that doesn’t have an immediate cure, this book should appeal to anyone who has struggled with anxiety or loves someone who has.”—Terry Lamperski, Carnegie Lib. of Pittsburgh, PA

Sometime I write about the tough stuff

An essay I published on Medium and which we republished on Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post:

Silent Night Is the Best We Can Hope For

A parent‘s degenerative illness can make the holidays a lot less merry

I’m a 43-year-old teenager, sulking, silent in the passenger’s seat of my father’s Subaru, and he’s doing his level best to fill up the air—mostly by pointing out the local landmarks of Mauldin, South Carolina. There’s the corporate headquarters for Bi-Lo groceries in case I was wondering where all the trucks were coming from (I hadn’t noticed.), the Duke’s Mayonnaise plant, an intersection that’s tricky after dark, in case I was ever out this way again at night.

He’s trying to help and I love him for it, but I’m several clicks south of helpable at the moment and just trying to soldier through. That’s what decent people do. I suppose. I haven’t felt especially decent or much like a person since I landed yesterday. So I approximate what I hope is a neutral, perhaps even mildly pleasant expression and solder it onto my skull as we park the car and amble toward the low brick building with an armload of boxes. He’s limping noticeably and sports a massive, dusk-dark bruise on his forearm, exploding out from a pale, pinprick center. He’s tired, too, from the medication (“Better that than dead,” he says. “Yup,” I say.) but he’s still unmistakably my Pup.

There, just inside, is my mother—or at least what’s left of her. I never know quite what to expect from visit to visit. Parkinson’s Disease (which killed her brother a few years ago) and Lewy Body Dementia are an especially cruel roulette that way. In the two months since I’ve last seen her, they’ve knocked walking and swallowing solids out of play, replacing them with a full time wheelchair and a joyless slurry of pureed foods. But in a fit of whimsy, today they’ve given her back my name. It’s been years since I’ve heard it pass her lips. It comes out in a croak and knocks me off balance.
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Sometimes I get to drink with ghosts

The magnificent Marian Bull invited Dan Saltzstein, committed cocktail drinker, drinks and travel writer and editor at the New York Times; Tom Richter, creator of Tomr’s Tonic, wearer of bold shirts and bartender at Dear Irving; and Meaghan Dorman, head bartender/mama hen at Raines Law Room, Dear Irving and The Bennett and me to evaluate some cocktails from Lucius Beebe’s “The Stork Club Bar Book” from 1946.

Read this edition of Drink Police at PUNCH

Sometimes I write about ugly food

In Praise of Ugly Food:

Let’s start with chicken and dumplings.

Few dishes come closer to what I imagine the cafeteria rations in heaven will mercifully taste like than perfectly executed chicken and dumplings. Then again, perhaps no other dish looks quite so, well, regurgitated, either. So, at a recent Southern Foodways Alliance symposium in Oxford, Mississippi, when world-renowned chef Sean Brock served up a batch he’d cooked—with his very own mother—some of my fellow diners were in a visible tizzy about what to do.

Throughout the event, we’d all been posting hundreds of images of each course to our Instagram accounts. The slice of golden skillet cornbread, the glistening bowl of butter beans, and the Technicolor-green pickles were all objectively lovely. But chicken and dumplings, it seemed, was the whiz kid who couldn’t find a date. And as people wavered and then lowered their cameras without snapping a shot, I found myself downright upset. I mean, this was a rare privilege: An A-list chef and the woman who’d pretty much taught him how to cook, putting their down-home dish on a pedestal in front of some of the biggest names in the food world. And we were shying away because it was homely? Screw that, I thought. This is honest food, and it should be honestly portrayed. I steadied my phone, clicked, and posted. The caption: “Some food isn’t pretty and does not need to be.”

Read the rest at Serious Eats