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I'm Terrified of Living 'Normally' Again

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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

Originally published: April 28, 2021
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