The Mean Reds

You know those days when you get the mean reds?

The mean reds, you mean like the blues?

No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

— Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Anxiety is high right now. There are a few concrete reasons that I can pinpoint that are filling me with dread, but those few things seems to have grown tentacles that stretch into the most unlikely places. Places that don’t even exist or are so far out of my universe that you would think they would never affect me, but here I am. And suddenly I am crying over:

My great-great-great-grandmother who died in a workhouse when she was my age.
Rosemary Kennedy, who had the same birthday as me, and everybody in the world who ever suffered an ice-pick lobotomy.
Visions of Posie and Rupert being ripped out of my arms by a tsunami.
Being a ghost and perceiving my own mangled body on the ground after being in a plane crash, surrounded by artifacts of my existence.
Something terrible happening to Nathan and me suffocating to death because there’s no longer enough will in my body to even make my lungs work without him in the world.

I don’t have the best anxiety strategies, other than to pop a pill and try to focus on something else. But sometimes I can’t even do that, because anxiety can smother your concentration and enjoyment, leaving you frozen. I’m sure a little anxiety is probably good for you, but this is a giant waste. Of time, energy, tears, effort. Doesn’t it realize I have better things to do with my life?

I’m making little rituals of distraction. Drinking pots of different types of oolong tea. Listening to a lot of music that I’ve never heard before. Watering the garden every night and witnessing it come alive again after the heat. Taking one-on-one time with each of the dogs to stroke their velvet ears and tell them stories about what excellent dogs they are. I’m not sure if any of this helps, but it does help kill time, and one thing is certain – anxiety can’t last forever, I just have to wait it out.

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