Doomsday Phobia: The Fear of the End of the World

All I can say is, fuck the Mayans.
Well, the ancient Mayans. I’m sure present-day Mayans are pretty pleasant. But their calendar has been a source of anguish for many years, going beyond my introduction to the wonderful world of Anxiety Treatment AKA Medication.


The Mayan calendar ends December 21st, 2012. I first learned about the calendar in fourth grade. At the time, I didn’t fully understand its horror. 2012 was a long way off 1999. I didn’t think I would live that long, anyway. I was always the perpetual optimist.


She's only crying because I won't buy her a ki...
Me, optimistic at my future prospects. (Note: this is not actually me)


When you’re young, your next birthday seems like it’s a decade away. So contemplating time beyond a decade is literally unfathomable. I would be twenty-two years old. I would be ancient. Decrepit. WRINKLED! Oh, the horrors.


So instead of dwelling on what might happen in 13 years, I instead focused on the fear of Y2K. I was positive I was going to die at midnight that year. Aliens would finally make their presence known, and they would swap my head with that of my Italian Greyhound Bambi, making all of my Mars Attacks! nightmares come true.


This. This was my future. (And the subject of my Freshly Pressed article, seen here: )
This. This was my future. (And the subject of my Freshly Pressed article, seen here: )


Once I (barely) survived that, after an evening of fancy dresses, Ruth’s Chris Steaks and The Phantom of the Opera, my attention turned to the Mayan calendar, and my obsessive worrying began. I watched every Discovery Channel thing I could on the Mayans, which was a terrible idea. If you don’t know, ancient Mayans were kind of assholes. A bunch of heart-ripping, live-burning, rape… just a lot of all-around buttfaceness. The more I learned about their violent culture, the more afraid I became for my (very distant) future.


To quell my fears, I said that they were clearly just crazy people who liked violence and the end of the world was clearly a violent thing. But then, in 7th grade, I learned everything else I needed to about the ancient Mayans. They were geniuses. Those assholes calculated the path of the moon up to their calendar ends (which is tomorrow) and they were only off by TWO SECONDS. Let me reiterate: they calculated how the moon would move two thousand years into the future and they were only off by TWO FREAKING SECONDS. I still don’t know how to solve those one-train-is-traveling-at-this-speed-the-other-at-this-speed-they-are-this-far-apart-how-long-until-they-pass-each-other math problems. I am off by days when I calculate those. Even with a calculator. But this ancient civilization calculated the movement of a celestial object, without a calculator, and they were only off by two seconds. What. And. The. Fuck.


To me, that justified the fact that, as of tomorrow, I will probably no longer exist.


Now, the rational part of me knows that it’s most likely completely bogus. I will wake up tomorrow, saddle into work for my professional development wearing my Grinch pajamas, and nothing will change. But the anxiety-ridden person in me goes, “Oh, really? I think you’re going to die tomorrow. Enjoy death. And all it’s deathiness. You’re never going to get laid again! Ha ha ha. Also, your death is probably going to be excruciating and SURPRISE! there is no afterlife.”


Yeah, my anxious self is kind of a bitch.


My anxiety about this calendar is still so bad that I refused to see the movie 2012. Granted, I can guarantee that part of it was that I knew the movie was going to be terrible, but the other part was because I didn’t want my death to be spoil-alerted. Seriously, Hollywood, you ruin every surprise.


2012 (film)
We were warned… not to spend $12 on this film.

Yet here I am, slightly past eleven o’clock on December 20th, 2012, and I can’t help but be terrified that tomorrow my existence will end. I will have died knowing I never got published. Never got my MFA. Never got married. Never had a serious relationship last longer than a year and a half. Never get to celebrate Christmas again, even though this was going to be the first time I celebrate it since 2005.  Never was able to put both legs behind my head and walk on my hands.

I am afraid for tomorrow. I acknowledge it openly. The thing that I was scared of ten years ago has approached, and I don’t quite know how to deal with it. Logical Whitney brain says, “you’re a fucking idiot. Go to bed so you can get up and go to work in six hours.” Anxious Whitney says, “TELL EVERYONE YOU LOVE THEM AND HUG ATREYU TIGHTLY AND GET TO HIGHER GROUND AND AWAY FROM POPULATED AREAS AND ALSO YOU NEED TO BUY BREAD TOMORROW YOU ARE OUT OF IT.”

So if the world ends tomorrow, I would like to end it with this: I love you. I am incredibly grateful for all the opportunities this world has given me, for everything I’ve learned, all the emotions I’ve felt, and all the people I’ve met. This has been fun. I hope it doesn’t end tomorrow, because that would be disappointing.

6 thoughts on “Doomsday Phobia: The Fear of the End of the World

  1. Before some very good things happened in the past couple of weeks, I had been wishing for the apocalypse to happen to put me out of my unemployment misery. But today, I feel terrific and I checked the news the night before. No one is dying from an apocalypse today. NASA released a statement that nothing bad is happening right now, so chill out. 🙂 I know what it’s like to feel that way about a lot of things since I also have anxiety, but you and I have to remember to be in control. You control you.
    Remember the REM song: “It’s the end of the world as we know it… and I feel fine…”

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