I am in a dark place. It has been more than 30 hours since consuming my last alcoholic beverage yet I am STILL in the depths of a hangover. This is hangovers post-30. It is not pretty.
Pre-30 you might think you know what a hangover is but I am here to disabuse you of that notion. I remember the hangovers of my 20s. A mild headache, a bit tired but nothing a chicken fillet roll couldn’t assuage. Also, I was such a complete baby about it. I was 20, all I had to do was skip college, order pizza and lie on my couch, watching Mean Girls but I still acted like a hysterical Victorian lady, demanding her smelling salts be fetched. I didn’t even know how goddamn lucky I had it. I didn’t even know what The Fear was, I was pathetic.
Cut to hangovers now and it is a multi-day affair of deep self-loathing, carbs fried in fats and copious weeping. And I can’t even give myself wholly over to the hangover, I am in charge of the well-being of other smaller, more defenseless humans. They are reliant on me – a person severely impaired by hangover – for their very survival. The stress.
Welcome to the 10 Harrowing Hell-Stages Of A Hangover Post 30.
Stage 1 – Eyes creak open.
“How can one person feel this horrific and yet still be living?” I implore as the full scale of the hangover hits. This is before I have even moved my head by the way.
Stage 2 – Exiting the bed.
The only way to describe this action is a ‘slither’, I am fully slithering to the floor, it is an undignified moment. Then I must keep low as I attempt to navigate the room. I don’t know why keeping low is the first instinct, it does definitely seem to marginally help the headache that is grinding away just above my right eye. So does not opening one’s eyes fully. “Maintain the squinty eye,” my hangover spirit guide counsels. “You can do this.” Everyone needs a hangover spirit guide by the way. Mine used to be Lorelai Gilmore but I started to find her too judgy, so now I go with Amy Schumer – she is such a comfort during these dark times.
Stage 2 – I’m going to hide in the toilet for at least the next 20 minutes.
Lying on the floor of the bathroom is not a good look but it is oh-so-necessary when in the throws of the aged hangover. The pros of lying on the bathroom floor are two-fold: pressing your head against the cool tiles offers a momentary refuge from the pain of the hangover and you can hide from your family.
Stage 3 – Remember that you have kids.
“Oh holy God, why did we DO that?” you might weep during this dark moment.
Stage 4 – Avoid people.
Very difficult. It is especially important to avoid anyone who is peddling the notion that the best thing for your hangover is going for a run or a green juice. These people are clearly unhinged, why do you even allow them into your life? It is also important to conceal just how hungover you are from your life partner or co-parent as they will not be sympathetic. At best, they will be openly mocking and gleeful at your state of despair. At worst, they will be downright hostile, especially if they are picking up the parenting slack while you lie on the bathroom floor.
Stage 5 – Think that maybe it’d be a good idea to eat something.
Stage 6 – Experiment with audibly moaning.
Seriously do it, it’s practically medicinal.
Stage 7 – Try eating again.
Vow that you will never, EVER make the grave error of eating smoked salmon and eggs on a hangover food.
Stage 8 – Start to think that the hangover might be lifting.
This is the calm before the storm. That hangover will not be lifting for at least another 19 hours.
Stage 9 – Wonder if anyone has ever died from The Fear.
It seems possible right now. Don’t, at this point, attempt to watch anything other than teen romcoms. Once, while parenting hungover, I watched the Land Before Time with my toddler and was ugly crying before the opening credits had ended.
3-Year-Old: “Muma, why are you crying?”
Me: “Because muma is the shittiest person who has ever been born…”
Stage 10 – Eat a slice of pizza covered in mayonnaise between two slices of bread.
Continue hating yourself until the end of time (or at least until Wednesday morning).