IN YOUR LATE teens and early twenties, you heard tell of The Fear.
And in your innocence, you assumed that phenomenon was little more than the slightly sheepish feeling you experience the morning after the night before – nothing that can’t be fixed with a bottle of Lucozade and a packet of Meanies.
And then The Fear landed for real one day, and you finally knew the extent of the terror.
Just like the physical symptoms of a hangover, The Fear intensifies the older you get and is much, much harder to shake off.
And here are just 12 things you have done during a particularly vicious bout of it.
1. Scrolled through your phone for evidence of bad decisions.
With a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, you check your last dialled numbers, you tear through your Whatsapp and you examine your social media activity for any evidence of a very, very poor decision.
2. Emptied receipts into the kitchen bin without looking at them.
You know they’re just proof that you bought multiple unnecessary rounds and spent a quarter of your month’s rent, so why bother analysing it?
3. Made a makeshift cold compress.
In the absence of motor skills and common sense, the most you can do to alleviate the pain in your face is to run a sock under a cold tap and press it into your temples while whimpering for the life you once enjoyed.
4. Divided and conquered on the information front.
You need to know what happened, that goes without saying.
But there are only certain friends you can approach for information because, to be fair, you’ve been warned about this carry-on before, and not everyone in the crew is here for it anymore.
5. Catastrophised to beat the band.
OK, so you don’t remember leaving the pub or getting into the club.
And while yes, it’s certainly not ideal, this memory blank quickly takes flight, and before you know it you’ve convinced yourself your responsible for the latest crime you hear reported on the radio.
6. Sent an apologetic text
Whether it’s to your mam, your sibling or your other half, you have definitely attempted to compose a grovelling message without lifting your face off the pillow.
And you have tied yourself in absolute knots waiting for the response.
7. Contemplated the difference a day makes.
This time yesterday you were anticipating your night out with huge excitement, and today you’re lying in a messy, darkened room wondering how it all went so badly wrong.
You’re not the same person you were yesterday, and Christ knows if you’ll ever be the same again.
8. Tried (and failed) to self-comfort.
Given your incapacitated state, it’s not like you have the energy to create a home spa or soak away your troubles in a soothing bath. You’ll drown, we all know this.
Instead you find solace in something random, like pressing a cold can to your face or trailing your phone charger up and down the bridge of your nose.
9. Found solace in other people’s distress.
At a time like this, it’s important to remind yourself you’re not alone in your abject misery.
In fact, you actively seek war stories from equally damaged humans, and this is where websites like Tumblr and Reddit come in.
10. Stared intently at the wall in an effort to conjure up flashbacks.
If you could just remember what happened, you’d be in a much better frame of mind; you’re absolutely sure of it.
Even if it means remembering the most toe-curling and gut-wrenching of scenarios, at least you wouldn’t be in the dark. It’s the not knowing that’s absolutely killing you.
11. Text the same person over and over again.
You know the only friend that can handle you on a day like this? Well, they get the absolute brunt of your crazy during an extreme case of The Fear.
Short of arriving to your house, crawling into bed beside you and gently rubbing your temples, this person is your saving grace. And that’s why you don’t give them a moment’s peace.
12. Vowed to reassess your attitude to alcohol.
During a truly epic dose of The Fear when your skin is crawling, the walls are closing in and your phone is out to get you, you seriously consider going teetotal because Christ know, alcohol does not agree with you.
You envision a life without booze and you vow to make it happen.