I HEAR people talking about ‘The Fear’ quite a bit. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s a ‘condition’ that people suffer from, usually after a night of drinking and debauchery. It can leave them shrivelled up on a Sunday with a debilitating fear of even opening the curtains. I would say that most of us probably know it better as paranoia, but ‘Fear’ sufferers will tell you that it goes way beyond that.
The following are the apparent symptoms of ‘Fear’ sufferers – ‘crippling textual related paranoia’, ‘sore hair’, ‘an inability to make even the smallest decisions’, ‘your skin feels like someone else’s’, ‘sense of impending doom’, ‘a feeling that everyone is out to get you’, ‘chronic sighing’, ‘extreme remorse over things you may or may not have said/done’, ‘regular flashbacks’ and an unreasonable need for salt and vinegar soaked chips, probably from Dooleys and Dooleys only.
I think The Fear is probably heightened among those with latent depressive tendencies so they could probably benefit from having a long, hard look at themselves, and maybe speaking to a professional.
I suffer from a form of ‘The Fear’ myself but it’s quite different and has absolutely nothing to do with alcohol. Let’s see if any of you share these tendencies. Let’s get them out in the open so we can all feel better about ourselves.
I fear happiness. I spent a large part of my life ducking and diving to prevent the consequences of a degenerate gambling addiction. It may not always have been as bad as that, in fact I’m certain it wasn’t, but that’s definitely how it felt at the time. A number of years on from that, if things start going right for me, I immediately feel that something disastrous is going to happen. For example, I spent a large portion of my life with no money, so if I have some now, then the belief is that I probably won’t have it for long. If I find myself smiling for no apparent reason as I walk down the street, it means that life is actually okay, and now I’m probably going to get a bang of a bus.
I don’t think I’m alone with this particular fear, and I know it’s incredibly irrational, but that’s not going to stop me feeling it. The fact is, I’m a constant worrier. My naïve belief is that if I worry about something, then the shock of it won’t be so great when it inevitably happens.
They say that some people are never happy, and even though I wouldn’t go to that extreme, I can understand the premise behind the feeling. I don’t get sick too often, as in I rarely get flus and I haven’t been admitted to hospital for any reason since I was a toddler. However, as a result of this, I regularly worry that there’s a big illness around the corner for me. I’m a relatively intelligent person so this is a ridiculous thing to be carrying around with me, but such is life – don’t they say we all have our crosses to bear.
New Year’s Eve, when people were celebrating and contemplating the potential of a brand new year, I worried about all the prospective heartache that 2015 could bring. Everyone in your life is going to die at some point…there will be funerals and there will be pain…but why am I worrying about them before they even happen? I have been quoted as saying “I can really understand why people choose to live on their own, without family or friends.” What I mean by that is, a person who lives on their own, without much companionship or support, only has to worry about their own wellbeing. The burden of bereavement is not on them, and I suppose that’s the only positive side to living the life of a hermit.
Back in December, the Irish Times ran a brilliant piece called “The anatomy of a car crash”, which told the story, from every possible angle, of the first fatal car crash of 2014. Everyone was interviewed, from witnesses to emergency responders and undertakers. It was a brilliant, raw piece of Journalism, and it scared the bejesus out of me. Whilst reading the account of the crash I could almost smell the crash site. Predictably enough, this sent me into a spiral of worry about those close to me and the potential of one of them ending up in one of these devastating scenarios.
Something tragic IS going to happen this year, there’s just no way to avoid it – and for some reason, that terrifies me. I, and I’m sure a hell of a lot of other people, need to learn to just enjoy every day as it is. Enjoy your health while you have it and all that jazz.
In an ideal world, I’d be able to take every day as it comes and just enjoy all the many good things that life has to offer. When the bad things come along, I will just have to deal with them as they happen. This isn’t an ideal world though is it?