I was born with a strip of red hair that my parents liked to fashion into a Mohawk until it finally reached the rest of my head. My father’s grandfather had red hair, and someone on my my mother’s side must have—it’s a double-recessive trait, meaning it has to be passed along on both sides.
I had been taking Citalopram for ten years when I decided to take a break. At 18, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, a constant and persistent sense of worry about everyday things. I think of GAD as inchoate and needy, willing to attach itself to any normal set of circumstances regardless of whether there is actually a threat.
I first started reading Pat Conroy for the same reason I drank my coffee black—my dad did it, and I loved my dad. His office at our house outside Chicago was my favorite room in the house, and I would sometimes lie down on the floor and inhale the smell of the books that lined the walls.
Laura Ortberg Turner's previous work for The Toast can be found here.
Among my most treasured possessions—the things I would grab if the house was on fire and I had five seconds before it blew up—is a gray and yellow pillow that a friend made for me. The backside is covered in a striped fabric with little yellow “X”’s set in a diagonal pattern. The front is a darker gray, plain, except
I’ve been reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle, the last novel Shirley Jackson wrote before her death in 1965, and thought I had remembered someone saying her agoraphobia was the thing that inspired her to write so much about creepy houses. (Have you read The Haunting of Hill House? Go read it if you haven’t, preferably late at night and under the covers, with a flashlight.) So I toddled on over to…
This piece is brought to you on behalf of Michelle Brigid in celebration of her recent confirmation. I didn't know the secret meaning of the word “anxious” until I was older—seventeen, maybe, or eighteen. I knew that I felt different, that I worried a lot, that I was fearful. But I just thought I was strange, and generally kept to myself about it. When, on occasion, I would talk to a close friend or…