Panic is one of those states that is simply poisonous. Almost nothing good can come of it, and certainly nothing by our own intention.
We panic, and our bodies and selves are immediately clenched by a paralysis of fear, and we are slaves to our own disjointed and fragmented reactions; even breathing becomes such a threat that we refuse to do so. The only option becomes "aaaaaa": tension in every movement and thought, and a racing mind is the only mind.
We panic when under an immense amount of stress. We panic even more when that stress is kept at a steady and unrelenting pressure, for days and weeks at a time.
Some things help. Other things only seem to do so.
And we don't even realize this happens. Lord.
But then we see it happening as it's happening. Tonight, I am cooking a meal that is not terribly difficult, but as I assemble it in my mind, the steps add up. Not terribly difficult, and not even terribly involved, but a number of different steps.
And there it is! As I'm washing a cup of rice, with pumpkin roasting in the toaster oven, and shallots and garlic and tomato and mustard sauteing on the stove, I see immediately: I am panicking. I am in a state of panic. I see it. And, like a lightning bolt. . .
Nothing happens. I'm still rinsing this rice, and the food is still cooking, and I'm still texting back and forth with my girlfriend, and I'm still panicking. My ambient level of stress isn't going to change, and I'm still going to have to do things that are not making me want to do anything, and I'm still locked in that systemic simmer of panic that isn't going anywhere. I see it, but it's not going to go anywhere.
Into the pan with the rice. At least I can do that.