Sixty-Year-Old Tough Guy Attacked by Dreads


“Growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you have not committed.”  – Anthony Powell (English novelist; 1905–2000)

My old friend “G.” telephoned last week to talk about a recent crisis that’s been dogging him, something he calls “the Dreads.”

The Dreads, he tells me, are nighttime anxiety attacks that started almost on cue when he turned 60, which also coincided with the death of his favorite hunting dog, a Springer Spaniel named “Junior.” G. describes the attacks as waking at night with a dead feeling while thoughts spin out of control and time rushes into a void. Along with this, every present trouble and past mistake rush in to prey upon the spirit. He sums it up as “everything turns brown.”

(I get it—like the aftertaste of a large excrement sandwich.)

Although medication is helping him sleep and stay balanced, the bouts always threaten at the edge, and some of the night residue can’t help but seep into his daytime thoughts. He tells me that even his lifelong practice of meditation doesn’t protect him. Continue reading