NY Mag’s The Cut was kind enough to let me write about post-election anxiety,
These next few years are a long damned haul, and it’s hard to face that when you have an anxiety disorder. I do, and it’s knocked me flat from time to time over the past few weeks. I wake up in heart-knocking horror in the middle of the night, feel the sting of acid creeping up into my chest, or squirm at my desk with my back muscles twitching because I’ve been hunched down for hours, unconsciously waiting for impact. Several friends have ended up in the ER with panic attacks, convinced they were dying. They weren’t — just their hopes, dreams, and faith in the decency of their fellow man.
The worst happened. More will happen. All the magical thinking and proactive worrying in the world didn’t prevent the outcome of this election, and letting it attack me from the inside is not a viable solution, not if I want to spend the next few years anywhere other than under my increasingly pilling comforter. So I’ve come up with a coping plan. Maybe it’ll help you, too.
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.’”
“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
Kat Kinsman is the Editor of Tasting Table and the author of the upcoming book – Hi, Anxiety – that’s coming out in April. She shares her own history with overcoming anxiety as a New York food writer, and hosts Jacqueline and Ben chime in with how anxiety has affected their dating and dining lives on this episode of Love Bites.
I recently had the opportunity to speak on a panel at the TerraVita Food & Drink Festival in Chapel Hill, NC. Each member of the panel was asked to talk for a few minutes on how they use their culinary capital to benefit their community. Here’s roughly what I had to say.
I am delighted and I am lucky to have a chance to speak with you today about two subjects that are increasingly intersecting in my work, namely:
1. My crazy intense love of food.
2. And, well, being crazy.
I’ve been a writer for the past big chunk of my life and mentally ill for all of it — but it took getting a platform as a food journalist for people to listen to me.
At first, I was just caught up in the deliciousness of it all. The fabulousness and the sensual pleasures — Yay, bacon! Oooohhh…pimento cheese. Calloo callay for cake (and pie).
And what I found out pretty quickly was that if you can find this common ground of pleasure with people, you can also start to talk a little bit about the pain.
Take a look through Kat Kinsman’s writings, food-related or not, and you’ll quickly see that when it comes to voice, she’s engaging, interesting and makes you want to keep reading. As a writer (her first book, Hi, Anxiety, comes out in 2016) and editor (she’s the editor-at-large and former editor-in-chief of Tasting Table), she can offer you expert insight into how to hone your own unique voice.
Whether you’re new to the food blogging world or looking to sharpen your writing skills, there’s plenty to learn from Kat at #BlogHerFood15, where she’s speaking on the panel Capturing Your Own Voice.
Here, she gave us a glimpse of what to expect from her, with advice on writing, blogging, failing and “embracing your inner chumpitude.” Plus, you’ll learn the really crucial things, like her favorite dessert (spoiler: it’s a cocktail), how she pairs kale with cheese grits and biscuits, and the best dinner she’s ever eaten. Because when you’re a food blogger, those things matter, too.