Anxiety about meeting people again

COVID-19 has touched the lives of everyone recently. No one has been immune from its effects whether it has been actually catching the virus or know someone who has had the virus, having your work impacted, having your childs schooling interrupted, education interrupted or you have been in the shielding group whose lives have been turned upside down or you know someone who has died from the virus.

I have been classed as being at higher risk from serious complications of having COVID-19 so spent the lockdown period shielding. I was isolated from the world except for seeing my Mum and Step Dad. I moved to live with them while shielding as they have a place in Highland Perthshire and I was able to still have some freedom in the garden and at the loch side rather than be stuck in my top floor flat.

My freedom during lockdown

When there was the talk of shielding ending I was very anxious. I am not an anxious person but being back in the real world with people put the fear of god in me. I was being irrational about things, I felt I couldn’t trust my Mum or Step Dad if they went out because who would they be with and would they wash their hands, wear their mask etc. Might they come back with COVID. I felt like I wanted to be there with them so I knew where they were but at the same time the thought of being outside my little bubble was out of the question. I managed to get over my fear a bit but there is still an under lying anxiety about seeing people who are not in my bubble.

Braving the Co-Op in Aberfeldy

Today I met with a friend outside for a dog walk who was also in the shielding group and shielded throughout lockdown. It was great seeing her again in person and not via a video link as we have been doing throughout lockdown.

What was great about meeting up was that we could talk about how we have been feeling during lockdown while shielding and also about how we are coming out of shielding. It was so good to hear that she also has had huge anxieties about going back out in public and living the life that we did before we were told to shield. I was so worried that I was over reacting to the situation but knowing someone else has the same anxieties reassured me that I am not over reacting.

The approach I am taking just now is being slow and going at a pace I feel comfortable with. I still feel very anxious going out when there are a lot of people around. Up north in Fearnan I feel ok but it is a very small village and the community is acutely aware about protecting our population to try and not let COVID come and become rife in the Breadalbane area.

I have been trying to get back to something of normality and trying to get myself into some sort of routine. Before lockdown I was still technically employed and had a job so I had spent my time focusing on getting myself as well as possible as had an aim to be going back to work in April but now I don’t have work so I need to develop a new routine and find things to do with my day so I am not wasting them away.

Each week I am trying to challenge myself to do something else that moves me that one step forward into reintegrating into society. For example going into the post office and standing in the queue there or going into the Co-op in Aberfeldy which is fairly quiet so I felt safe doing that. The real challenge will come when I need to go into a big supermarket back in Edinburgh.

For anyone else who has anxieties about COVID and what is going on please let me know and let me know how you have tackled them and how you have got back into society. I am taking it one day at a time and trying not to focus on the news and the numbers of COVID being diagnosed because if shielding comes back I will have wasted my freedom and I don’t want to do that.

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