Tag Archives: Alcoholism

Hangovers Suck: Existential Anxiety

Hangovers Suck. Obviously. If there was ever a “low-hanging fruit” post on this blog it would be about hangovers. What is really shocking is that it’s taken over a year for me to actually acknowledge that Hangovers Suck. Why’s that?

The fact is that since hangovers are so obviously shitty there’s little point in writing about it. And like most things in life you probably have to experience one to fully enjoy appreciate how shitty they are. I could go on and on about headaches, aversion to light and sound, dizziness, shaking, nausea, and all around “feeling shitty” but that won’t make you feel how physically awful a hangover really is. And even if it did, most people probably know it anyways so whatever.

In my 20s hangovers were primarily a physical phenomena. I’d feel like shit as described above but that was it. I would take some pills to help the symptoms, drink some water, take a nap, and I’d feel much better. At the very worst I’d just drink more as that instantly cures hangovers if you can believe it. Something happened when I made it into my 30s though; hangovers have suddenly became much worse and not just physically worse. Now they have shitty mental effects too. And boy, those make the physical effects seem like nothing.

Alcohol, being a depressant, makes it quite a bit easier to fall asleep. Hell, the term “passing out” is what happens when you just randomly fall asleep because you’ve gotten to drunk, although you probably wouldn’t qualify it as a healthy normal sleep. Alcohol is a depressant and it makes you sleepy. After a few days of drinking I find I that can’t fall asleep as easily for the next day or two. I’ll be tired and sober but unable to sleep. What happens is usually this: I lie down and then I think and eventually a thought like this comes into my head: I’m going to die someday.

What?! Where did that come from?

What’s worse is that the train of thought, once started, continues down the tracks towards total and soul-crushing existential anxiety:

I’m going to die someday. What’s that going to be like? I’m not going to exist? What? What does that even mean? What will not existing feel like? It’ll be like before I was born I suppose. Huh?!? Do you know you’re dying when you’re dying? Will I die in a surprise accident or will I waste away from cancer fully aware of my impending doom? It seems so far away but it will happen eventually. Hell, I could die at any moment, even right now. I could have a heart attack in the next few moments. What if I do? Listen to my heart, it’s beating pretty hard and fast now. Oh shit, what if I do die right now? What happens to my family and friends? They’d be destroyed like I would be when my loved ones die. Oh shit, when’s that going to happen? My family will die someday. Even my kids. HOLY. FUCK. LIFE IS TERRIBLE.

It’s not a fun time. Try to fall asleep after that flies through your mind.

I mean I’m aware of that stuff because it’s simply part of life but usually I don’t think about it in that way. Usually it’s there as a sort of background or backdrop to everyday life and I continue on aware of my mortality but not burdened by it, if that makes any sense. I know I’ll die but I just don’t worry too much about it. In a way I think it’s nice being aware of your mortality because you enjoy life a bit more. You don’t sit on the couch and piss your life away if you know you’re going to die eventually. It keeps you motivated and it shouldn’t leave you crippled like my random overnight, hungover thoughts do. They’re just a whole new level of anxiety from what I usually experience.

I blame this on being hungover because there’s nothing else to explain it. When I haven’t recently been drinking I go through life pretty happily. I go to sleep at night. If I can’t sleep for some reason I go play video games or read a book until I am tired. I don’t lie in bed and think about how and when I’m going to fucking die. It only happens a day or two after drinking so of course I’m going to blame the alcohol. I always feel “off” a few days after drinking so it’s no surprise that my existential anxiety is probably due to drinking. And I should probably quit drinking.

Everyone knows hangovers suck and they usually bitch and whine about the physical aspects of it. The physical aspects of a hangover aren’t shit though. The really terrible part of a hangover is the feeling of being “off” and the random existential anxiety I get at 3 a.m. that makes it impossible for me to sleep or feel comfortable. Once again, I’m pretty average so I assume this happens to other people as well and it’s no surprise if no one really talks about it because it’s terrifying. Hangovers Suck.

Vacation Sucks: Life Without Work

I’m currently at work having just returned from a week-long vacation, and I must say it’s pretty shitty being back. Despite me having a job so simple that I can write a blog post at work, it’s still awful being back. It’s obvious to anyone that returning to work from vacation sucks, but in a strange way it’s nice to be back. I realize Work Sucks, but looking back and realizing Vacation Sucks more than work is pretty depressing. It makes no sense, but without fail when I return to work I think my Vacation Sucked and that vacation was pretty pointless.

The Second Job: A Halfway Vacation

First up on the “Vacations Sucks” post is the gripe that I work two jobs and only have a vacation with one of them. In case you didn’t realize my “vacation” is simply time off from work and not an actual “go somewhere and do something special” thing. This might not apply to some people, and if you’re one of those lucky people who only has a single job or who can get both jobs to allow you time off to do something, well congrats because this doesn’t apply to you! Working two part time jobs like I do leaves you with the typical situation where one gives me time off when the other doesn’t. This sort of “halfway vacation” sucks for all the obvious reasons. I’m not working as much, but still working enough to make life not enjoyable, and it probably makes work and vacation suck more because of the juxtaposition of the two. Working only one job isn’t really a vacation, it’s just normal life that doesn’t suck quite as much.

Motivation? Where U Go?

The prospect of having tons of free time while off of work (even one job) always seems promising to me. I feel that by having more leisure time I would be able to focus on a few of the goals I have. There’s this blog, and my derelict blog, and I also (try to) write short stories on Wattpad. I also have a few really stupid ideas for small businesses. Obviously, I have a bunch of crap going on in my head and time is a premium when it comes to making meaningful progress on anything. Working two jobs simply makes it hard to focus and get anything done and vacation should allow me to actually be productive.

Then I was on vacation and how many blog posts did I post? Zero. How many short stories did I write? Zero. Did I work on my business plans or revamp the blog’s Facebook page. Nope. I did basically nothing. What the hell happened?

You see, having a bunch of free time seems to have the counterintuitive effect of making me less motivated. I’m assuming I’m not unique and other also have this problem. Having more time allows me to escape the feelings of doom and desperation that working two jobs fills me with, and without that awful feeling staring me down daily and hourly, I have no drive to really be successful. When I’m working and I’m miserable and my schedule is busy there is no time to worry about motivation: if you want to write a blog post you fucking write one and post it because need to get on that shit if you want to do something with your life! But on vacation you’re like “Meh. There’s no rush. I have plenty of time!” Somehow having more free time gives you less motivation and drive making the vacation look ultra-depressing and pointless, especially in retrospect. You didn’t work, and you didn’t get any hobbies or goals accomplished. You basically wasted life without actually enjoying it.

Vacation is what Life Isn’t

Despite those two previous whine sessions, they aren’t really why Vacation Sucks. They’re facets of shittiness, contributing to vacation being awful while being offshoots of the primary reason: Vacations Sucks primarily because you have to go back to work. “Yeah, no shit.” you’re probably saying, but let me elaborate.

Vacations are what we all want to achieve out of life. Vacation is not working and having enough money and time to do the things you want to do. Some even call vacation by another name: retirement. We all want to save enough money so someday we don’t have to work and can have a “perpetual vacation.” If you’re really lucky you can retire earlier or might not have to work at all. This is a perpetual vacation called “being rich.” There’s this grand idea that if you accumulate enough money you don’t have to work at all, and this laziness to not want to work might be a large driver of the world’s greed. Retirement, being rich, living off the land, and vacation all serves a single urge: not working and doing something else you’d rather do! Chase your dreams! Do what you want to do! 

So vacation is a little taste of this for the lowly lower-class worker, especially if it happens to be a paid vacation. Here you have a week with no work and you still have money. You can do whatever the hell you want (or don’t want to do) with no obligations to a job. While you might not have a ton of money and aren’t actually rich you still get a temporary taste of not having to answer to anyone. This is life without a job, and it’s pretty refreshing.

Except the dream and experience has to eventually end of course. You always have to go back to work because you’re not rich and you’re not retired. You’ll probably have to work nearly the rest of your adult life with little to no breaks and you have to do it sustainably so you don’t burn out and just fall apart. Or get so discouraged at life you kill yourself or descend into alcoholism. Life is one big grind to make money to survive and to support your family, and compared with the wonderful fantasy that is vacation, it’s awful. Vacation gives you the perspective to what life would be like if you didn’t have to work. Going back to work from vacation just hammers the point home: this is your life, you hate it, you’re stuck here. How was vacation btw?!

Making it even worse, you might not even enjoy your vacation and this leads to some more troubling thoughts. If vacation is a microcosm of being rich and not working, I’d be a fucking miserable mess. I made no progress on my blogs and business plans and whatever other stupid shit I wanted to do. I didn’t travel anywhere and I didn’t do a bunch of housework. I don’t even think I mowed the yard a single time. In fact, I spent a bunch of money on fast food, drank about 50% of the time, and gained about 5 pounds. Apparently I’d be a fat, lost, unmotivated alcoholic mess if I didn’t work my jobs, so as much as work fucking sucks, it almost seems that vacation is shittier than work. It’s like I need to work to keep my ass in line, focused, and sober. Vacation makes me realize how much work does and doesn’t suck while work makes me realize how much vacation does and doesn’t suck.

In short you can’t win. Vacation, Work, and Everything Sucks.