The Fear: How we accepted a self induced depressive mood swing into everyday life.
Having ‘The Fear’ is something that I think has been rolled into the Irish weekend experience. It’s an accepted and joked about phenomenon.
I didn’t really know what this was referring to when it crept into the parlance. I dialed up the arbiter of actual everyday speech, Urban Dictionary, and found what it apparently meant. The Fear, and stop me if I’m wrong, seems to be a foreboding feeling of regret with regards to one’s drunken behaviour the night before. From my own experience and from talking to my acquaintances, cases of the fear can go one for hours or days.
It has been embraced into the weekend warriors programme of events. ‘The Fear’ enables the fear-ee (the sufferer of The Fear) to comfort ones self. A Saturday afternoon spent keeping an eye on your facebook feed should throw up statuses and pictures of people indulging themselves with pajamas, any manner of comfort food, Disney movies, and so on and so forth.
By publically glamorising ‘The Fear’ it becomes accepted into socitey and then leads the ‘fear-ees’ to feel like this is just a part of the weekend. In my experience, The Fear is a depressive mood swing brought on by aggressive consumption of alcohol.
I fear that accepting ‘The Fear’ as a cultural phenomenon is legitimising people bringing themselves into serious depressive states.
There is a real acceptance and openness to discussion of mental health in Ireland at the moment. Yet, at the same time we seem to embracing how drink effects our mood.
So Fergus Finlay admits the billboards for his Diageo funded ‘Out Of Control Drinking’ campaign were created by UK based Goddard Global, the same guys who lobby for the tobacco industry. Nice industry to be hanging out with given they are threatening to sue the Irish government.
“Things are going well. I have been doing a lot of thinking over the last week and took into account a lot of the comments people posted. My first port of call was the assistance service offered to employees by my employer, I did what was termed an AUDIT test which takes into account dependence, behaviours and indication of how people are with alochol.
The scoring system used is 1-40 and anything over 18 is considered problem drinking, I’m a 20! Friends (drinkers and non drinkers alike) have told me that I am being too harsh on myself but intuitively there is something telling me I should be looking at it and changing my relationship. Thinking about it long and hard what do I want to do? The alcohol culture is entrenched in the Irish psyche, telling people I was not drinking was met with a chorus of ‘What is wrong with you, are you sick?’ to people asking me for permission for them to drink ! Never did I mention I had a problem with other people drinking, I don’t in fact I’m wired to the moon as I discovered recently on a night out not drinking.
“I never considered myself a problem drinker at all. On an average night out I could have 8-10 pints which to me appeared normal but from reading up and learning it appears any more than 3.5 pints of beer is binging (seriously?). I have an appointment next week with a counsellor to tease out where I am and strike that balance. I’m going away on a few trips and I want a few beers, not because I crave them but because I enjoy them. My problem seems to stem from two things – I drink way too fast and flood my body with too much alcohol at once and I have associated alcohol with always having a good time which is not true at all! I do consider myself a moderate drinker with bad habits and compared to speaking to others I’m not at the bad end of the scale but I will know for definite midweek :)”
“………..a regular contributor. Bit of a serious post for me, I’m looking at giving up alcohol, have done the whole binge drinking but after….last weekend, I was smashed and beligerent, I don’t remember anything…What tips have people got about giving up? Have found some good sites and advice and I’m seeking out professional help. Alcohol never has really played a big part in my life, it’s just something that I have had while I was socialising and yes I know and my friends know, I dont need it cos’ I”M larger than life!!”
[A press release from Drinkaware.ieMEAS (Mature Enjoyment of Alcohol in Society) today]
“Ms. Fionnuala Sheehan, the head of drinkaware.ie/MEAS, compares the exclusion of the drinks industry from Alcohol Awareness Week to the past persecution of black people and Irish people. Might be a bit of a stretch.”