People | A Cure for Fear

Panic Is

“Panic is terror distilled, a bouillon cube of anxiety for your already-rattled nervous system.”

This is A Cure for Fear, a monthly column by Laura Turner on working, creating, and living with anxiety.

It was a late spring afternoon in the Midwest and I was driving my white Ford Escort south on Barrington Road, past wide green lawns crisscrossed with the patterns of lawnmowers. Sprinklers clicked and sprayed and the turbid air was heavy with the threat of an afternoon thunderstorm. The road bisected a divided landscape, rural on one side—corn fields and large, low-slung homes—suburban on the other. Past the Blockbuster, past the bank where I had opened my first savings account with six months’ worth of allowance, past the Little Caesars and the lake you weren’t allowed to swim in because of the incredible number of Canadian geese who made it their toilet. I had a ribbon tied to my car’s gearshift—shiny, blue on one side and pink on the other—and I thumbed it as I drove.