At any given time I can bring to mind a fatal accident. Something violent and tragic is upon me, and it’s going to happen any second.

Riding in the car — a vehicle will suddenly crash into the back of us and send us careening off the freeway. Walking the dog — a larger animal will come out of nowhere and eviscerate my pet. Blowing out the candles on my birthday cake — a gas line will explode. Sitting in front of an open window — someone will reach inside and hit me over the head.

I don’t know what came first, my anxiety or my vivid imagination. Certain unthinkable things have happened that seem to substantiate my anxiety. It has gotten worse since I put my home back together after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the same year my brother suffered the onset of schizophrenia. The following year my parents divorced, the recession left me unemployed, and my brother relapsed into active psychosis.


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