The Dread and The Dude
An overactive flux capacitor with too many fucks to give
Unless I am deliberately focused on the present, on the fact that at this moment I am ok and safe, I spend a lot of my life experiencing unease ranging from low-grade anxiety or feeling like I need to cry all the way to a full-on panic attack.
The unease almost never goes away. Like the breath that involuntary moves in and out of my body, it is always there. I try to ignore it and move on with my day, but like the deliciously terrifying Glenn Close in the 80s classic, Fatal Attraction, the anxiety is not gonna be ignored, Dan.
It’s not really a ‘fake it til you make it’ scenario so pretending like I’m not feeling what I’m feeling usually makes it worse. Kinda like how you feel when things at work go sideways but you’re sitting at a desk surrounded by co-workers so you just keep staring really hard at your monitor, pretend-typing, willing yourself not to cry until you can make a stealthy escape to the nearest bathroom stall.
I call this thing, this feeling, that has always been with me, The Dread. Capital T, Capital D.
My flux capacitor is often fluxing at 1.21 jigawatts, is what I’m trying to say. And it is incapacitating. My body feels all jiggedy, like a pressure cooker as someone slowly turns up the heat. It’s happening now as I write this. But if I try to pinpoint exactly why I am experiencing The Dread everything becomes vague and swirly, like trying to focus on one thing while spinning on a merry-go-round as a kid, and just like I did then, I feel dizzy and need to lie down.
The Dread is a grizzled gargoyle hunkering heavily on my chest. It is a snake that slithers around my rib cage, wriggling hotly through my guts igniting the fiery sense that something terrible is about to happen/I’ve inadvertently offended someone who is now very angry with me/I have fucked up massively at work, and will be fired soon/someone is going to die.
Sometimes my body feels so jacked by the task of experiencing and regulating The Dread that it shuts down. I become numb. Exhausted. I disconnect from my body and dissociate with beer and shit TV. If Cory finds me in bed at 4 pm or on my 10th consecutive episode of Trailer Park Boys he knows The Dread has taken me hostage.
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