I worry a lot.
It’s a pretty dumb use of time, really. I don’t get anything accomplished except freaking my own self out about how twisted my brain can be.
And maybe losing weight because worry suppresses my appetite.
When I was on antidepressants, I never worried. That was nice.
But sometimes it meant that I crossed a crosswalk without checking for oncoming traffic. I also drove with little to no regard for human life. Specifically my own.
I felt invincible. Maybe this is why antidepressants have been known to increase the incidence of suicide. Maybe bodies are found in situations in which death would seem obviously imminent to a nonmedicated brain, and the investigators jump to conclusions, but really the poor victims just weren’t worrying like they should’ve been. “Sure, I’ll drive through the railroad crossing while the lights are flashing!” they think. “I’ve got plenty of time!”
But I didn’t die, so it seems like it was worth it, not to worry for a little while. Mostly because now that I am off antidepressants again, I am very aware of just how much I worry.
The thing I worry most is about Rufus.
I know he’s going to die one day. Sometimes I plead with him not to, but he just looks at me with a blank stare because he doesn’t understand the concept of death. Nor does he understand complex sentence structure or words that do not have anything to do with food.
To him, I might be serenading him with a beautiful song, staring into his eyes as my voice jumps musically around, when in reality I am very close to losing it, imagining a day he ceases to exist, which will inevitably happen sometime in the next decade.
I just don’t know how yet. So I like to imagine how. And by “I like,” I don’t mean to imply that I get any enjoyment out of it. I don’t. But it is how I spend lots of time nonetheless.
On Friday I was thinking about how funny it was that Rufus got anxious when I packed my bag for Austin and took it with me to the car when I left for work in the morning. I was trying to save time because I had to leave town so quickly after work, but in Rufus’s doggie brain, this apparently meant that I was going to Austin right that second and leaving him to fend for himself in the apartment all weekend.
He accompanied me to the front door, touching his nose to my hand so that I would not forget he was there, and when I would not let him out the door with me, he backed up with a shocked, affronted expression on his sweet face, his fur creased between his eyebrows.
As I recalled this expression, I realized it probably wasn’t funny at all, because he has an anxiety problem (of course he does), and maybe the thought that I would leave him alone for a couple days to fend for himself sent him over the edge, and he was at that moment running around the apartment in utter despair.
And then I imagined that he might somehow hurt himself running around my apartment in utter despair. His collar could get caught on something and cut his neck open, and then I would come home to this.
And then I thought about the visual in my head and how fucked up it is. Where did it come from? The same place as the elaborate nightmares I sometimes have that keep me awake at night and make me wonder if I could be the next Wes Craven?
I wrote most of this post on Friday but decided not to post it then because I worried the picture above really was what I would come home to that day and the horrific vision I had was, in fact, clairvoyant.
Or that I would post it and then we would both die in a fantastical car wreck on the way to Austin, which wasn’t really part of the first worry, but my brain makes a lot of leaps when it’s worrying.
Another common vision I have about Rufus and death involves my car getting hit and Rufus flying through the windshield because he’s not buckled into a seat belt. I would worry about this a lot less if I just bought a goddamn dog seat belt, but I just can’t bring myself to be one of those people.
So I worry instead.
I heard somewhere that the ability to visualize the worst possible outcome in any given situation is inherent to the mothering instinct. We prepare for the worst so that we are better able to keep our children safe from any kind of harm.
In which case, God help me if I ever have children. And God help them.
I like this song about worry.