It’s hard to believe that lockdown has been on and off for a year now. And we’re now at the point where we’re slowly seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.. hopefully.
Some of us are excited about the prospect of socialising again and have hated lockdown, some are confused or miserable. Me? I honestly don’t know how I am reacting to this, for a number of reasons.
First, Social Anxiety: nothing does your social anxiety a favour like not socialising. I would be lying if I said a small part of me hadn’t been grateful for the pandemic putting us in lockdown so I could barely go out. The fear of being around people was gone. No more overthinking all the dumb things I said, beating myself up over the fact that as always the guy I find attractive always fancies my friends and I’ll always just be ‘the good mate’, being told by various people to stop ‘acting awkward’. It’s been blissful not stressing about these things.
But… throughout the last year, I have literally dived into a deep Auto-Pilot mode. I get up, I work, or on weekends; I write, eat, maybe go for a stroll (rarely), sleep, repeat. It’s like my body and mind have lost all sense of any other routine and I am struggling to cope.
I have become extremely lethargic in the last couple of months, along with some hormone issues, a lot of this could be down to my hypothyroidism but still; timing could not be worse. I am losing all sense of motivation to do anything other than what I am programmed to do.
I also find myself terrified of being around people again, it’s a mixture of emotions actually. There’s part of me that has this whole excitement level about finally being back to ‘normality’, but at what cost? One of my dear friends died from this horrible disease, I haven’t actively socialised with others that I care about in so long, what if I mess it up? Are we ever going to feel safe again after all this?
These are questions that come in to my mind constantly. I’m anxious about a majority of things changing.
I’ve put on weight, which makes me more unhappy. I had self-esteem issues as it is before this happened and now my appearance among other things just makes this whole thing 10x worse. I become more and more afraid as time goes on to actually engage with people.
I know that when ‘normality’ resumes a little bit, that I want to attempt some kind of therapy again to get to the root of some of my constant underlying issues with myself. I will also have to talk to more people but to be honest, I find that so hard. What I struggle with the most, is that day after day I see so many people I know posting things like ‘if you ever need to talk my inbox is open’ but I can’t help but sit there and think, but is your inbox open to me?
I’m not trying to victimise myself here or attract sympathy. I just think I’ve got to a point where I am fed up of not being honest. There’s this whole fucking vibe out there that if you post something that is sad or negative, you’re attention seeking. Or accused of ‘overdramatising’ your life. Well guess what? People’s mental health problems don’t get any better by you making those accusations at them!
This pandemic has been hard for many of us for various reasons. Some people have got lucky and found their soulmate during lockdown, lots of people have been making beautiful new babies to bring into the world, some have got to travel… but for others, it’s not been a positive experience.
I’m not saying that people who haven’t been posting about the shit times haven’t also found this tough, or that this is some kind of ‘who had the worst lockdown’ competition.. but we do need to start acknowledging how this lift of restrictions is going to be for some of us. And ways in which we can make it easier for ourselves and others.
I got a positive vibes jar from Witch Casket today and I think this is a good step for me going forward to try and boost myself up. Every time something makes me feel happy about myself, or I receive a compliment of some kind, or I come across a positive affirmation, I write it down and put it in the jar. I know this sounds cliche and cheesy. But I think in the future this will be such a beautiful thing for me, if I’m doubting myself or having a down day (let’s face it, I get a lot of those with my brain being the way it is) I can open the jar and go through these things to pick me up a little.
I know it’s not scientific miracle working. But that’s one small step I can make to build my confidence before going back ‘out there’.
I also have nerves about what this is going to mean for my other creative hobbies and dreams. Lockdown gave me an endless amount of extra time to sink my teeth back into my passion with writing and i have written so much poetry, short stories, planning out novels etc. But now I’m scared that I’ve opened up this new dream and it’s going to fall to pieces because when I gradually go back to the regular day to day travels and socialising (eek) I won’t write enough or I will suddenly come to a realisation that I am just shit at it and give up.
There are all sorts of things going through my head in this auto-pilot mindset that I just really struggle with. I’m taking slow steps to try and be more confident in myself and my progressions and growth, but I do find it hard sometimes. Especially when you’re almost 35, living in a box room at your parents house and still feeling like you’re unloveable as a person because well, no guy actually sticks around.
I sometimes lay in my room and have this weird little fantasy/daydream play out in my head where I’m just laying in a field under the stars with someone talking about life, and it’s someone who loves me. I know that sounds stupidly cliche and cheesy, but it occasionally makes me feel better if I hold a small ounce of hope that he is out there somewhere. Whoever he is..
I’ve also taken steps to try and lower my comparison levels. I try to limit the time I spend on social media now and have even set ‘downtime’ from 9.30pm to 6.30am so during that time I can’t access social media unless I turn the downtime off and it is slowly helping me spend more time in the evenings doing what I love, and less time scrolling for hours feeling envy towards people who seem to be doing better than me.
I really hope, despite all my inner fears, that this will be the last we see of lockdown routines. That covid will fade out and we will stop losing people we love or living in fear. But it is still a long way to go.
I guess the purpose of this post was to put my feelings out there so that if any one else is on the same boat or is having the same internal struggles, they know they’re not alone. Or even if you’re excited about getting out of lockdown and you read this post because you genuinely care about what I have to say (thank you btw), we’re not alone in this and it is okay to be scared of going back to ‘normal’.
Whatever normal is….