Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Mobile, Alabama: COVID-19 Unfolding, Part 8888: An Unwelcome Passenger


St. Blown Apart, Trinity Park. Taos, New Mexico. October 2007. Credit: Mzuriana
St. Blown Apart, Trinity Park. Taos, New Mexico. October 2007. Credit: Mzuriana

I was going to call it the Dark Passenger, which I first heard from Dexter. Except when I looked it up, I learned the Dark Passenger is a demon that makes one do bad things. So, not that. 

Then I thought to call it an unwelcome roommate, but no, really it's entirely an internal thing. It's a head fuck, to be frank. 

My unwelcome passenger is anxiety.

I loathe what it is doing to me. 

There are the physical manifestation - the clutch in my belly and the tightening of my shoulder muscles. 

There are the mental manifestations - the reluctance - even paralysis at times - to address routine problems. The sensation of irrational worry or fear, which convinces me to stay home instead of explore, because it's so much easier to do so.

The anxiety is a tick sucking my blood, engorging itself on my confidence in all areas.

I don't even know for sure if it's connected to COVID - and all that COVID has wrought - but surely it must be - when one considers the entire spectrum of the pandemic experience since early 2020: 

Add to that an accumulation of other variables since 2016 (!), with:

  • Daily dystopian assaults by Trump, delivered personally to our screens at home by what I can only characterize as both his witting (e.g. Fox) and unwitting (all other news media that gave  him so much free publicity prior to his election, probably in the belief that he was entertainment and not real news) co-dependent collaborators;
  • Fallout from some scary situations centered in South Louisiana; and
  • Family and friend crises, including the deaths of my mother, two uncles, four aunts, and a friend 

Does it even matter what the origin is? 

But that could just be magical thinking on my part, because pointing a finger on a causal agent would suggest that - hopefully - it shall pass at some point, and not burrow in as a new, permanent part of my psyche. And not a function of some organic, incurable neurological thing - whether wrought by COVID or via some other origin, more prosaic, yet just as devastating, progressive condition, as yet to be diagnosed. 

It hasn't helped that just yesterday, I had this startling thought: I am actually going to die. This is a thing that is actually going to happen. To me

OK, so don't laugh. Of course, I've always "known" this. But whereas before it was sort of abstract, the other day it was concrete. Which, I don't have to tell you, is a hard surface.

At this point, if I hope to pluck off my unwelcome passenger like that bloodsucking tick, I've got to take action. It's not going to go away if I just close my eyes tight and count to ten. Or a hundred. 

The two actions that are to receive my immediate focus are: 

  1. Sheer force of will to resume explorations. To make them a priority. To get into my car and fucking go. 
  2. Build a daily meditative routine. 

Ewww. Pulling a suckling tick off (out of) one's body is icky.

This reminds me of what a reader wrote to me once, and he was quoting someone else: "You should do one thing that scares you every day." I was thinking it related to this experience on the Navajo Dam, but no. And then I was sure it must be this. But it wasn't that scary thing, either.  ....... And because one's memory edits real history, further research reveals that what the reader really said was this: "One thing that scares you per day keeps apathy at bay." And it was for the Navajo Dam experience, after all. 

Methinks I want to change that last to: Doing one thing that scares you per day keeps apathy anxiety at bay.


Sunrise on Grand. Las Vegas, New Mexico. October 2007. Credit: Mzuriana
Sunrise on Grand. Las Vegas, New Mexico. October 2007. Credit: Mzuriana


Other posts with scary stuff

2012 (October): Alamogordo, New Mexico: Oliver Lee Memorial State Park: I Am a Wuss

2012 (November):  Cloudcroft, New Mexico: Salado Canyon Trail, and a Whistle Killer

2015 (May): Fear and Adventure: A Skydive Story

2020-present: Collection of COVID-19 Unfolding posts

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