Breaking Bad (habits)

A word on anxiety and perfection, if I may. I’m no stranger to anxiety, sometimes it is more pressing and obvious but generally it has been a beast that I’ve tamed with talking, medication and time. I’m due to have the ankle of doom repaired in 3 days time and for the most part, I’m not particularly anxious about the surgery, more the after events and the anaesthetic, which given my past history with anaesthesia, isn’t surprising. Other people may not get anxious about surgery but may fall apart when you mention flying or bats or mice; we all have our trigger points. The perfection element feeds nicely into my anxiety moments and stokes the fires that I have worked bloody hard to stamp out.

Most notably, I tend to want to do things perfectly the first time around even though it’s unlikely to happen. First day at work, wasn’t perfect. First dates, never perfect. First time trying a new skill/hobby, wobbly and novice…because so am I. This perfection goal follows me to the kitchen too. When I try a new recipe or new skill, I desperately want it to be perfect and for people to like my efforts. While I’ve got better at accepting failures without thinking I’m the worst human ever to have lived, it doesn’t stop old habits sneaking in and dipping their sticky paws into my creations. Today was absolutely one of those times.

Yes, that is my reflection in the oven door. No, I never took my eyes off them.

Yes, that is my reflection in the oven door. No, I never took my eyes off them.

Husband has said on many occasions that he loves cheese scones (biscuits in the US) and I have admitted that despite my adoration for scones with clotted cream and jam, I have never in my 33 years on this earth, eaten a cheese scone. I’m not sure how or why I’ve managed to avoid them, but it was going to change. I’d bookmarked a recipe by the Guardian food writer Felicity Cloake for The Perfect Cheese Scone and had been saying that I wanted to try it out. Why not today? I’m thankful that Felicity has done the donkey work of trying multiple recipes before supplying one that makes the elusive perfect specimen, all I had to do was follow the recipe and wait for them to cook. The recipe itself is idiot proof; I know this because I made them and it didn’t go wrong. Sure I didn’t use fluted cutters, my butter wasn’t grated into the flour and no, I didn’t use mustard powder but the finished results were pretty. And as Husband commented, “tasty”. The anxiety showed when I sat for the full 12 minutes in front of the oven watching the trays of scones puff up and turn a golden colour. The kitchen was a bomb site for an hour or so, but the finished results were absolutely worth it.

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To add fuel to the anxiety fire, I also decided to bake FODMAP friendly, gluten and dairy free brownies for the office. The reason they weren’t my normal brownies is so that my lovely work mate B can indulge in the baked goods that have been very firmly off her menu for a while. I’ve only ever baked with GF flour once and the results were not great so this time round I was a little hesitant. Despite my misgivings, the results look promising; well risen and smelling irresistibly chocolatey. I used a recipe I found online at alittlebityummy.com where there is a raft of recipes that cater for most dietary requirements. This time I followed the recipe to the letter, except for the size of the pan. I only had a 20cm x 20cm pan which meant a longer bake and a smaller batch – the excess batter went into making 7 small brownie buns which don’t look like they have suffered for their size.

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So have my anxiety gremlins been silenced for good? No. No baking is going to do that, but my confidence boost has given them something to think about. While things may not always go according to plan, making mistakes isn’t the worst thing that I can do. Leaving the washing up lying around, now that is the real crime.

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2 responses to “Breaking Bad (habits)

  1. I’ve had two surgeries. I was so nervous the first time, but it was a bit easier the second time because I knew what to expect. I was having abdominal surgery and made sure I did lots of stretching/ yoga beforehand. There was lots of waiting while they processed me, so I asked if there was somewhere I could do yoga. I was pointed to a corridor that didn’t seem to lead anywhere. However, one of the doctors saw me dip down and ran towards me. He thought I had fallen. Oops!! Reassuring in a way, though! I remember going into the room where they do the anaesthetic. I was nervous, but the anaesthetist was great. I guess they are used to nervous people all the time. They made some great jokes that put me at ease. Waking up afterwards, I felt like I as in a lovely, deep sleep that I didn’t want to be interrupted from. I had no idea that I would actually LIKE general anaesthetic. That was a surprise. I discovered that I didn’t like morphine, that I felt nauseous and slightly paranoid. I really wanted someone to just sit by my bedside and watch me, make sure I was okay. There were nurses who watched the whole ward, but I was afraid something would happen to me if I wasn’t watched like a hawk. Of course, I was fine. One more thing. Don’t know if it was the GA or the abdominal laparoscopy, but I didn’t have a bowel movement for three days…. and when it came, it was huge and painful, like a slow-moving torpedo. Not sure how it turned the corner. There was a light tear and bleeding. đŸ˜¦ The second time, I had a stool softener and that helped. There was still a delay, but when my bowels kickstarted again, they were more productive. Good luck with your surgery. Hope your ankle is fixed so that it supports you beautifully once more. It’s amazing how rough I felt at first – and also how soon I felt better. You will be fine. x

    • Oh blimey! I remember the same issues when I had my appendix out 12 years ago, minus the morphine. I’m restricted in terms of pain relief due to severe allergic reaction to opiates, and now no NSAIDS thanks to a hyper acidic stomach…paracetamol is my saviour. I’m meeting the anaesthetist in the morning so I’m hoping I can blurt out my worries to them. Actually a bit excited for a new ankle because it means I can go back to yoga and running. Thanks for the well wishes, means a lot xxxx

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