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I'm Terrified of Living 'Normally' Again

As the world starts to open up again, it’s easy to allow the excitement of “normality” to overshadow many people’s anxiety at this time.

Because at the moment, I’m scared.

I am terrified of living a “normal” life once more.

When you’re asked to reenter a world you’ve been told can harm you, maybe even be fatal, how can you possibly make that thought disappear?

Throughout this pandemic, I have been bombarded with endless shielding letters from the government telling me how at risk I am, telling me not to leave my house, to not step foot into a shop or to even go for a walk. I’ve seen terrifying news updates of people like myself living with a chronic illness becoming fatally ill and relentless fear-mongering has plagued my mind with debilitating anxiety. It’s no wonder I’m filled with an unspeakable dread every time I step outside my house.

So yes, I’m scared.

I’m scared for my mental health.

I’m scared fear has become overpowering in my life.

But really, I’m scared I will never be who I was before all of this started. Someone who wasn’t terrified to go into a shop, or a doctor’s appointment or into an office. Someone who loved going to the pub or a restaurant, who went out almost every night and who wouldn’t care about being in a building with other people. Someone who didn’t wipe a glass every time they ordered a drink, who wouldn’t spray their car with Dettol each time they left the house, who would open a letter as soon as it arrived and not fear a deadly virus clung to the envelope. Who wouldn’t change their clothes and scrub their skin in the shower after going for a walk.

Someone who didn’t hold their breath when someone walked past. Someone who wouldn’t think twice about seeing friends or family.

I know others like myself will be struggling at the moment with the transition back into “normality” after so long, especially those who were told to shield, and that’s OK.

I am.

I’m scared of returning to a world I once knew.

I’m scared the pandemic has caused irreversible damage to my mental health.

I’m scared I may never be the same again.

It’s OK to admit you’re scared.

Unsplash image by Ben Blennerhassett

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