Take A Breath: Your Life Isn't Falling Apart, You're Just Hungover

by Zara Barrie

Last Saturday, I awoke at 10:30 am to an excruciating pain penetrating the surface of my brain, its intensity so cuttingly severe I felt like my entire head was encased in a vicious cloak of acute agony.

It was the kind of headache that is so extremely painful it penetrates into your eyeballs (which subsequently feel as if someone has poured a spoonful of peroxide into them).

My tongue felt foreign in my mouth, which was so dry it was like I had inexplicably stuffed 1,000 cotton balls into it.

I rolled over to find my dutiful air conditioner on full blast, yet why was I covered in sweat, overcome with a dramatic slew of hot flashes so dire they would put a woman in the thick menopause to shame?

Even my limbs were painfully sore. Did I run a f*cking marathon last night?

To make matters worse, the emotional pain was as severe as the physical pain: I was consumed with anxiety, my heart was pounding so hard it felt like it was beating outside of my chest and had taken off to the Sahara Desert where it was amidst a wild, dangerous elephant stampede.

Every few minutes my mind was overtaken by twisted, disjointed thoughts of pending doom for no apparent reason. I was out of control, questioning everything.

Oh what is my purpose in the cruel, cold world? Will I ever find true love? What AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?

No, I hadn't fallen ill with a feverish flu. I wasn't having a quarter-life crisis. Nor was my life falling apart (though it most definitely felt like it).

I was simply hung-the-f*ck-over, and it was BRUTAL.

Anyone who has ever been in the throes of a hangover understands it is a force to be reckoned with. Not only do hangovers make us feel so outrageously sick, they also make us feel incurably vulnerable.

For us fragile entities and bonafide drama queens, when we're hungover, we can find ourselves being fiercely melodramatic.

We require incessant validation, are ridden with epic loneliness and feel like we're caught up in a massive, ever-increasing panic attack.

We're teeming with nothing but regret, and remorse and humiliation.

When we're in this temporary state of hell, it's easy to feel as if the entire contents of our lives have gone terribly awry.

But we must collectively remember the world isn't ending. We aren't terrible people. Our lives haven't crashed into a million little broken shards.

Not at all. We're simply hungover, and it will end soon.

You think your whole life is spinning out of control, but it’s just your head.

When you're in the painful shackles of a hangover, it’s easy to feel like your entire life is rapidly spinning out of control.

Like your entire existence is made up of one reckless decision on top of the next.

Not so fast, Tiger. Chances are the spinning feeling you're experiencing has more to do with your pretty little head spinning from being hungover than your lifestyle spinning out of control.

Give it 24 hours, drink a gallon of purified water, practice some deep breathing and reassess your life choices again tomorrow, when you're nice and sober.

You think you're having a panic attack, but it’s just the alcohol leaving your body.

Your heart's pounding with a ferocious ferocity. You feel panic consuming every fiber of your being.

Listen up: The world isn’t ending, sweet boys and girls. You’re not even having a real panic attack.

Your heart is pounding because it’s detoxing from the heaps of poisonous booze you destructively pounded into your system last night.

While the feelings of pending doom are horrendous, take solace in knowing it’s not real panic. It’s the tequila leaving your body.

In 24 hours, you feel epically better (seeing as you don’t fall victim to the reckless “hair of the dog” cycle).

You feel like you’re drowning in a sea of problems, but you actually need water.

After a night of drinking, you wake up feeling like your problems are of epic proportions. This is because alcohol is a nasty, sneaky little depressant.

Its depressing rebound effect makes you look at everything in your life with a melodramatic, skewed lens through which your mishaps are dramatically amplified.

You’re not drowning in a vicious sea of problems. In fact, drowning isn't your issue -- dehydration is.

You think you're not doing anything with your life, but you're just not doing anything today.

Don’t judge yourself, my fellow overachiever, for wasting a Sunday, hungover in bed watching Netflix. You’re not wasting your life; it’s just one day of nothingness you probably were in need of anyway.

You feel like you have too much on your plate, but you just need to throw up.

Oh, the catastrophic throes of a hangover. All of sudden, the tiniest of things are heinously stressful.

Just the mere thought of waking up tomorrow and heading to work feels too intense and high-pressured while you're in this hungover state of despair.

You're feeling so fragile because you drank too much, and your stomach is in sordid knots. Don’t confuse the uneasiness in your stomach with a life crisis.

You feel like your whole life is really scary, but you just have the shakes.

You become scattered and jumpy when hungover. You feel on edge, like at any given moment anything could pop out of the closet and scare the living sh*t out of you.

I hate to break it you, but there are no monsters hiding under the bed. You feel so overcome with fear because you have the liquor shakes.

You feel like you’re in the dark, but your comforter is just over your head.

Hangovers can make you feel like the entire world is a dark, cruel, cold place.

While it's not entirely untrue, the reason you're feeling this way today is only because the covers are pulled over your head.

Get out of that tiny, windowless studio apartment you reside in and see some sunlight.

You feel like you're spiraling out of control, but you're just shame-spiraling.

You feel like your life is drastically spiraling out of control. Like you’re a reckless minx never to be trusted around sophisticated adults.

You've fallen down the shame spiral. Let me tell you: It's a waste of f*cking time.

Chances are everyone else at the party drank too much as well and is currently wrapped up in his or her own shame spiral to remember who you sloppily locked lips with on the dance floor.

You feel like you need to get rid of the toxic people in your life, but you need to release the toxins from your body

You might have toxic people in your life, but the thick of a dramatic hangover is not a good time to assess it. First, you need to release the abundance of toxins you consumed last night.

Sit in a steam room for 30 minutes, and then, re-evaluate your relationships in the morning.

You feel like you’ve got heartache, but really it's just heartburn

When you’re hungover, you feel so vulnerable. Like there are massive empty voids in your life you need to fill with LOVE. Relationship relapses all too often occur whilst hungover.

Try not to rush into the arms of your toxic ex just because you're hungover and want to be swaddled into the arms of a warm body.

Especially when it's most likely heartburn you're suffering from, not a painful heartache.