It looms over you from the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep. It hangs in the doorway, creeps across the hall, and whistles through the air duct. It doesn’t go by “The Thing” or …
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It looms over you from the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep. It hangs in the doorway, creeps across the hall, and whistles through the air duct. It doesn’t go by “The Thing” or “Slenderman,” and it doesn’t leave on November 1.
I’m talking about the notorious “Sunday Scaries” — the feelings of existential dread or apprehension about the week ahead.
Society has tried to brand Sunday as not just time for religious reflection (for some), but a time for self-care. This is often exemplified by bubble baths, yoga, and massages. I, however, won’t feel relaxed enough to do any of those things until I’ve organized every apartment surface, answered work emails that really could wait until Monday, and run around the neighborhood once or twice. Sometimes the fact that I can’t fit in time to pamper myself makes me more anxious than if I just stopped caring about self-care. Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?
The worst Sunday Scaries can make you feel immobilized and afraid that you’re wasting your free time by sitting on the couch and watching Bob’s Burgers. Perhaps you drank too much coffee that morning or stayed up too late on Saturday night. Perhaps you’re not quite sure why you suddenly have heart palpitations and don’t have the energy to cook dinner.
Sundays in 2020 may contain some additional frights, such as uncertainty around family or friends, overly-crowded hiking trails or the store running out of toilet paper before you can stock up for the week. We are also trying to cope with not knowing when COVID-19 restrictions will end or when we will get a vaccine — and until then, your weeks may look indistinguishable from one another. Cue the existential dread.
I’m forcing myself to write this on a Sunday so that I can best capture the feeling that relentlessly arrives every weekend. I also know that the Scaries manifest differently for every person…or animal. It doesn’t help that my dog often chooses Sunday to crawl into crevices. (Listen Sheba, we need to coordinate our anxiety attacks around each other, okay?)
In all seriousness, we shouldn’t be scared of the Sunday Scaries. There are much worse things to fear, like the ghost in the attic or the person who doesn’t realize we’re in an actual pandemic. But this remains easier said than done. Maybe we can start by talking about it when we notice someone else struggling too.
Rachel Horowitz resides in Chatham County and works in Pittsboro. She is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media.