Coping with Social Anxiety as Lockdown Eases

Here’s the thing, I think I have coped so well with my anxiety up until this point because actually, all my fears, my worries and concerns that I had before Covid-19 hit were suddenly shared by the majority when lockdown started.

Suddenly it wasn’t weird or abnormal to not want to go out and be around people, it was celebrated as being the right thing. In fact, the government told us that is what we had to do, to begin with.

Since then, lockdown has begun lifting. It started slow and it is gaining in momentum with 4th July now seeming to be the date that lockdown is over. That magical date appears to be when everything can suddenly go back to normal and, if I’m honest, that completely terrifies me.

As much as I want lockdown to end, I’m not ready. My anxiety is through the roof when I go to a small Sainsburys’s or Tesco local store, when I attempt to go down to the beach with my family to enjoy the sunshine and paddle in the sea. When I go out anywhere, I am still on high alert.

Even when the government deems things safe to do, I don’t feel safe. I feel anything but safe. I am absolutely terrified of other people, of people that I don’t know. I don’t know who they have come into contact with, their levels of personal hygiene.

And the problem is now that lockdown is easing, I am once again an anomaly, somebody who is ‘taking it too seriously’, somebody who is letting their anxieties get the better of them. Even with my own family I feel ostracised when I admit that I don’t think we should go somewhere local, in case it is too busy, in case we come into close contact with other people.

Believe me, once 4th July comes round I want nothing more than being able to have my mum back in our house (well, I’d love to be able to hug her too, but that’s not quite possible yet), but I am so scared at the same time, that it’s too early, that I shouldn’t be seeing my mum at all, just in case.

To be honest, it’s tearing me apart inside and it is now, ironically as lockdown eases, that I am beginning to struggle with my mental health. I thought I would find lockdown difficult, that my anxiety would go through the roof, but instead, it’s the easing of restrictions which is actually having the negative impact.

Does anybody feel the same? I’d love to hear your thoughts on lockdown easing and the impact it has on mental health.

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