Mean Reds

I had a different post planned for today, and I will still continue with that, but I wanted to take a moment to talk about the “Mean Reds”.

This refers to a line from Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, who, for better or worse, is really the Borderline Personality Disorder poster child. (I think there are serious gendered issues when it comes to BPD and its diagnosis, but I’ve already commented on that in my therapy post.)

Here’s the quote I’m referring to:

No. The blues are because you’re getting fat, and maybe it’s been raining too long. You’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid, and you don’t know what you’re afraid of.

Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Sure this also could apply to anxiety or a myriad of other mental health issues. But Golightly has a lot of other symptoms that go down the BPD route, especially her relationships, manic behavior, and can we talk about the trauma of her child bride marriage at 14? And“cat”? Cause that is some serious abandonment issues there.

(I won’t even get into the super racist Japanese neighbor comedy routine.)

Anyway, BPD or not, I am feeling the mean reds today. I’m trying to look back and analyze what happened that may have triggered it. (ABC works for introspection, not just “naughty” children who “don’t know how to behave.” Different argument.) Anyway, I was looking for what triggered it. I’ve limited it down to a couple of things.

I had to have a zoom meeting, which brought on a whole new level of both protocol anxiety/ and safe space breeching. (No matter how much I love my son’s therapists, my home is my home and I only want people to see it when I want them to see it. Certainly not with all this mess and disorder.) Then I had another appointment with my therapist in the same day. The therapy was useful, but more than one appointment in a day usually causes problems for me. (We’re also using a different interface than usual, that just exhausts me.) Then I read something on facebook that made me want to correct someone and I knew that I shouldn’t. (I just did, of course. So now I’m waiting for that sword to fall.)

I think that’s it.

The problem is how do you get out of the mean reds? I think I am gonna try and make some progress on my house. Clean up the toys, try and find the can opener, the usual. Maybe, put away all the clean laundry before it becomes dirty laundry again with an errant chicken nugget chuck by my son. That’s what my husband would like. (But because he asked for me to do this, the mean reds are like, “NO!”) Uhhhhhhhgggggggg……

Earnestly, I think I am gonna try and execute my plan from yesterday, clean up the dining room, the toys that are trying to kill us, and then organize my studio to start painting again. It’s progress, with a short term goal and reward. Yes, I think that’s what I will do.

Anyway, I just wanted to put this out in the world. Because just like Holly Golightly, and HollyLovesJohn, a lot of people get the mean reds from time to time.


The painting is one I did in my early years, based off of the ending scene where she goes running after “cat” in the rain. You know something funny? I was so obsessed with Holly in this film, our similarities and our matching names, that I don’t even remember the love interests name. Did he even have a name? Rick? Carl? PAUL! That was his name… Paul.

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