#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 21°C Thursday 7 July 2022

The Fear: The weekly battle against yourself

There is no escape.

James Dunne

I’M SQUINTING TO keep my eyes open. The images on the TV screen are a blur of indiscernible colour, and my contact lenses are clinging to the inside of my eyelids. Tiredness is, quite literally, clawing at my eyes, yet I can’t face the warm comfort of my bed just yet. To fall into its affectionate embrace would signal defeat… it would commit me to a fate worse than death: Monday morning.

Ah yes… it’s Sunday night and I’m doing my weekly waltz with The Fear.

Regardless of whether you’re in primary school or close to retirement, almost everyone is intimately acquainted with the looming sense of dread that usually accompanies a Sunday evening. My first experiences with this inexplicable angst would usually follow the last few chimes of the Glenroe theme song – a soap opera that not only showed “jackeens” the obscure intricacies of rural Ireland, but also seemed to be the unspoken national farewell to the weekend. And in the midst of Miley’s “Well Holy Gods”, the panic slowly began to claw its way up my chest.

Was swimming on tomorrow or Wednesday? Where was my homework sheet, I can’t remember what page of Alive-o we had to do? Was that RAG day this week or next week…? I simply couldn’t risk my reputation on a missed opportunity not to wear the school uniform. My worries ranged from everything in general to nothing in particular, but it was enough for me to loathe Sunday evening more than Monday mornings themselves.

Panic sets in

Almost 20 years later, and I still haven’t mastered the art of bringing the weekend to a peaceful and stress-free conclusion. In fact, I often feel like the entire situation has been made worse by the relentless slide into responsibility that your mid-to-late 20s brings. Instead of the certainty of “having it all together” that I assumed was a natural by-product of turning 21, you suddenly find yourself in a grown-up job that, no matter how long you spent in college, you feel horrendously under-qualified for. It’s a bitter pill to swallow when you realise that you dread Monday morning as a teacher far worse than you ever did as a student.

My Sunday nights (or rather Saturday nights now, seeing as I live in the Gulf) consist of the same basic routine. Around four o’clock, the first pangs set in. How is the weekend over already? Why have I wasted another weekend when I promised myself last week that I’d savour every second of this one? Why have I not prepared myself in the slightest for work this week!?

By eight o’clock, I’m inconsolable. New depths of desperation are reached every week- you catch yourself absent mindedly browsing wanted ads, or even more heart-breakingly, SkyScanner. Anything… anything to save you from the impending misery. The extent of your “fear” is truly realised when you begin to rationalise the possible maladies that could spare you from the turmoil of another week – is a broken leg really that bad?

God help you if you’ve indulged the night before

Your run-of-the-mill Sunday night fear is bad enough, but if you’ve indulged in a pint or 20 the night before, there is no rock bottom. Rock bottom would be a welcome limit to the fear, in fact. The giddy haze of the night before has evaporated, and it now appears that you willingly conspired against your future self by saying and doing as many idiotic things as possible. God forbid you were socialising with colleagues from work, people that you actually have to see in the coming week and can’t avoid until the next trip to the local. 
There is no God… and if there was, he’d come in the shape of a P45 and a one-way ticket to Timbuktu.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

So, with all avenues of escape exhausted, you surrender yourself to your punishment for wasting a good weekend. The walk to bed may as well be the green mile. Although your body rejoices at the sight of your bed, your mind insists on reminding you that when you wake, it’s time to face the music. Setting your alarm is the cherry on top of the stomach-churning cake (especially if you have a phone that insists on telling you exactly how little sleep you’re going to get).

Thankfully, it’s never as bad as you envisioned. The howl of the alarm is a shock to the system, but once you’re up and out, your fears never seem to fully materialise. Mondays are generally an awful day, that’s a given, but they rarely warrant the anxiety suffered the evening before. The bleary-eyed commute to work or school is never pleasant, but once the morning coffee has kicked in, all traces of the crippling fear have usually dispersed. The Fear has been conquered – in the battle of mind over matter, you’ve come out on top.

Until next weekend.

James Dunne is a 24-year-old Kildare native living and working in Abu Dhabi. Read more of his work at https://medium.com/@jimmyd or http://www.buzzfeed.com/jimmyod.

About the author:

James Dunne

Read next: