“The blues are because you’re getting fat or maybe it’s been raining too long. You’re sad, that’s all. But the mean reds are horrible. You’re afraid and you sweat like hell, but you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Except something bad is going to happen, only you don’t know what it is. … What I’ve found does the most good is just to get into a taxi and go to Tiffany’s. It calms me down right away, the quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there.” — “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Truman Capote
I am hunched in half on a blue chair on the third floor of the Tiffany & Co. flagship store, willing myself to calm down or simply disappear. At this moment, the latter seems a more likely possibility, but even so, it’s not working. A neatly suited young woman is dispatched to assess the state of my well-being, because so far as I can tell, most other ladies are pretty jazzed to be in the temple of sparkle and promise.
I, on the other hand, am a quivering storm cloud, desperately trying to contain the shocks and sog of my current upset so they don’t stain anyone else’s happy pre-holiday afternoon. She approaches, kind-eyed and discreet, “Soooo, how are you doing today, Miss?”
Panicked, I start to babble. “Finefinefine. I’m fine. My husband is somewhere around here buying a present for his mom and his aunt and I’m just — there are so many people out today. So many people. It took 30 minutes to walk just a couple blocks and I’m — so many people. I’m just here — hiding. Until he’s done. See, there he is.”
My husband materializes with a white-stringed bag in his hand and nods at the woman. She’s relieved. I’m mortified — that my seams showed, that someone saw them, that my husband is stuck with a wife so pathetic that she can’t even manage a couple of hours of Christmas shopping without falling apart.
Read “Living with anxiety, searching for joy” at CNN Living