Living alone for the first time is ridiculously liberating. Gone are the days of cleaning up after messy roommates, making up excuses to avoid another “roomie dinner,” and maxing out the TV volume to avoid hearing the sexual escapades taking place one room over. You can watch whatever you want (hello, Bravo), listen to whatever you want and you have a whole fridge to yourself (not that you should ever fill it, but knowing it’s there is a comfort). Juggling your successful career and thriving social life can be hectic, so coming home to a quiet place that’s free of your ex-roommate’s dirty dishes is quite a luxury. However, after a few weeks, the honeymoon phase of your single living situation starts to fade.
It won’t be long before you become painfully aware of just how alone you are. I mean, normally that’s great because I fucking love myself and honestly I’m the best person I know, but I’m not talking about being lonely. I’m talking about being alone…so alone that if you choked on your rice cake or slipped stepping out of the shower there would be absolutely no one to help you. These are very non-violent situations compared to the more extreme: being stalked and eventually killed by a disturbed homeless man, having some supernatural being terrorize you throughout your 1-year lease, etc. If you live alone and haven’t imagined a similar situation, you are deluding yourself.
This particular form of anxiety can really get out of hand if not treated properly. Obviously wine, Xanax and a few other items are helpful when trying to get through a rough night, but they don’t prevent the problem. I have on many occasions considered investing in Life Alert to ease my mind when it comes to unforeseen tragedies, but like many “As Seen on TV” products, it’s a waste of money. Even if I did press the big red button while choking, there’s no way anyone will get to me in time…it’s better to die with a little dignity than with a Life Alert lanyard around my neck.
One really helpful tip to use when trying to prevent these fears is to avoid scary movies. Going with a big group to watch “Woman in Black 2” or re-watching “The Sixth Sense” at a Halloween party may seem harmless at the time, but you will definitely be checking under your bed for Mischa Barton once you get home. The disturbing images you see on TV will stay with you for several days and unless you literally drug yourself to sleep (not a bad option), you will spend each night on high alert getting 2-4 hours of sleep max.
The next piece of advice is to never Uber alone. While most Uber drivers don’t give two fucks about you and where you live, there’s always the deep-rooted thought in the back of your mind telling you that he knows your address and will soon be back to kill you. Until recently, I thought having a female Uber driver would spare me this anxiety, but my plan backfired when she decided to tell me in vivid detail about her recent encounter with a “dark spirit” that has taken up residence in her lake house. Thanks, asshole.
Once the fear sets in, whether it’s fear of a human attacker or a demon summoned by your Uber driver, there are a few things you can do to avoid completely losing your shit. First, put on the TV. Avoid HBO…way too heavy at a time like this. I would try something light like KUWTK or one of your favorite 30 Rock episodes. This will serve as a distraction and keep you from going into a catatonic state. Next, take your preferred sleep aid and chase it with some wine if you need to. You may not feel the effects for a while, so make yourself a light snack while you’re waiting. If you’re still having trouble getting your mind off your imminent death, call up a friend. What are friends for if not for talking us through a psychotic episode?
After having a few sleepless nights, your fear-induced exhaustion will give way to apathy. You’ll eventually come to terms with your fate and realize that being scared shitless isn’t going to change anything. You might as well sit back, relax and enjoy the benefits of living alone. There may not be anyone there to hear you scream, but at least your electric bill will be cheap AF.