Every once in a while, I have anxiety attacks. I can’t fall asleep at night, and I get this inexplicable knot of worry in my chest. Usually that’s it: I’ll sleep very poorly but feel better the next day — tired, but better. But this time has been different. About a week ago, I had one of these attacks. Eventually I did fall asleep, only to wake up later in the night and be unable to fall asleep again. The knot of anxiety was there in full force, but this time accompanied by a strange tingling in my arms. It felt like fatigue and restlessness all at once. Since then, I have been short of breath off and on, as if I can’t take in a deep breath when I need to. And yes, I saw my doctor just in case something else was going on. My heart sounded good, my lungs sounded good, and my oxygen level was normal. So, anxiety it is.
I can never put my finger on what causes these attacks. My guess is that because of my family history, I’m prone to them and I might just have to accept that they are going to happen from time to time.
Carla, of course, is very patient with me during these “episodes.” I know it is frustrating and heartbreaking for her to watch me struggle, but she does her best to stand by me and listen, and to help in any way she can.
This weekend we were out for a run, and I was straining to take deep breaths, and I began feeling overwhelmed and scared. She reminded me that not only should I reassure myself that nothing is wrong with my lungs, but I should try to replace my fear with happy thoughts, calming thoughts, peaceful thoughts. And to just keep doing that again and again, day after day, until it sticks.
“Think of Hawaii,” she said. I don’t know that I was able to do it in that moment, but later that day I did, and I remembered that I wanted to try to duplicate the Crispy Fried Avocado Tacos that we ate in Kaua’i.
I made fresh pico de gallo with tomatoes and chiles from the garden. I then patiently breaded and fried about twenty avocado slices until they were crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside. I tucked everything inside warm corn tortillas with shredded green cabbage, and just like that, we were back in Hawaii. Or our mouths were, anyway. And we were smiling — and that was a triumph for me.
Avocado fries recipe here from Sunset Magazine.