Thanksgiving cooking ended up differently than I thought it would, and I had more exposures for my OCD than I had planned for.
We had plans to eat with one of Larry’s relatives. So I was going to do some light cooking, just a cake and maybe a side dish or two.
Then on Tuesday, Larry’s relative had to cancel the dinner because of illness.
Early Wednesday morning, before work, I was at the grocery store with my list, picking out items to fix the dishes I had chosen to cook for Larry and me on Thanksgiving.
Later that day, Larry got a turkey breast to fix with some dressing, and I got a vegan fake turkey product to try.
I admit I was not looking forward to getting in the kitchen to do a lot of cooking. OCD was making me dread the stove and the cleanup.
Wednesday night I made a cake and a congealed salad with cranberry sauce.
This round of cake baking was a little easier than my last adventure. I put the eggshells on a plastic bag so I could scoop them up easily and not contaminate the counters (though I did clean them good afterwards).
And I did OK with turning the oven off. I stared at the knob on the stove for a minute or so, but I didn’t turn the stove on and off.
My anxiety level during the cake making process was at about a 60, lower than last time.
I can’t say the same for when I used the stovetop. Once I turned off the stove, I turned it back on and then off twice. I hated giving in. My anxiety was at a 75 or 80 during that episode.
I also had some anxiety about using the can opener for the cranberry sauce. I always meticulously clean the opener after I use it, and I worry about getting off any food residue, even if I don’t see any. But I got it done.
On Thursday morning, Larry woke up with vertigo and didn’t feel like cooking the turkey breast. So we put that off until today.
On Thursday I cooked a hearty vegetable casserole and fixed some mashed potatoes. I found myself having an anxious moment when I turned off the oven, turning it on and off once after initially turning it off.
I’m not sure why I had this problem Wednesday and Thursday with the stovetop and then the oven. It may be that I was just generally anxious about the extra cooking I was doing.
A good point was that I didn’t ask Larry to check the stove behind me. I wanted to, and even started to at one point. But I knew it would not be good for my exposure and response prevention attempts.
All in all, my cooking anxiety Thursday probably averaged a 70. Once the food was eaten and the cleanup finished, it dropped rapidly.
We had no meat Thursday, but we still enjoyed our food and were grateful for it.
Thursday afternoon? I took a nap. I probably slept more than I ordinarily would have because of the anxiety.
And today, Larry is fixing the turkey breast and I will probably cook a corn pudding.
I realize that a lot of people cook everyday and have little to no anxiety doing it. But that’s just not me at this point.
But despite my ongoing battle with the question, “Is the stove really off?” it’s getting a little easier.