I am just going to put it out there – I am scared of lockdown ending and life going back to normal. Early last year I was desperate for Covid to disappear and life to go back to how it was. The tragic loss of lives was terrifying, and the fact mine and everyone else’s lives were put on hold was distressing. So the sooner lockdown could be lifted and life could get back to normal the better. Or so I thought. Now I feel quite differently.
I am someone who likes routine. And I settle into routine quite quickly. I initially really struggled with lockdown and hated the fact that plans were ruined and life was on pause. But now I feel safe in my house and do not have any desire to go out or do anything. The thought of going into a busy shop or restaurant fills me with utter dread. A year ago I would have been desperate to go on holiday. But now I am desperate to avoid having to do anything that involves leaving the house (except going for a walk or to work).
Ten years ago when I was an inpatient in an eating disorder unit, I had developed quite extreme social anxiety and I had been become very reclusive. I was terrified to leave hospital grounds. The hospital had become safe to me, and the outside world seemed utterly terrifying. I did not want to be in it. It took well over six months before I was able to go out in the back of my parent’s car for a drive. However, there was no way I could get out of the car. It was also well over seven months before I was able to step into my own house. And even then, I could only go into the lounge and I kept my coat on the whole time I was there.
Likewise, it took the best part of nine months before I was able to walk to the edge of the hospital grounds, take several steps out of the grounds, stand there for a minute, before scurrying back into the safety of the hospital. It took a hell of a lot of hard work to get me to the point where I wasn’t completely terrified of the world, and where I could be discharged. But even when I was discharged, I would go out when it was essential, but the rest of the time I would spend in the safety of my house. I certainly wasn’t happy living like this, but it was far less terrifying than putting myself out there.
Over time I have made a lot of progress with this. I wouldn’t say my fears had ever completely gone but they had become minimal. A year ago I would have said that I loved going out, I loved going on holiday, I loved meeting up with friends, I would travel all over the country on the train delivering face-to-face talks, I would always be looking for my next adventure. Yes, sometimes things still scared me, but I was enjoying living and I wanted to challenge myself.
I hated the fact that lockdown stopped all this. A year ago, I was imagining all of the things I would do when lockdown ended, hoping that it would only be in a matter of months. But here we are a year later, still in lockdown but with the prospect of lockdown ending in the summer. I’m scared of lockdown ending. Really scared. All those things I had planned on doing when lockdown lifted? I have no desire to do any of it at all anymore.
People speak to me about life after lockdown. It seems that everyone can’t wait to get back to normal. People can’t wait for the hustle and bustle of life again. But lockdown life has become normal to me. I have retreated within myself and within my home and this is where I want to stay. I feel like I have gone back towards how I was ten years ago. Not to the same extent but I can very much recognise the same thought processes. I’m scared of lockdown ending in a similar way to which I was scared to leave hospital grounds.
I think to myself that I just can’t go through all that again. It was terrifying and exhausting challenging my fears back then and I just don’t feel like I have the energy to do it again. I tackled the fears before and I never thought I would have to do it again. I thought that I had come too far for that. But lockdown has sent me back to clearly what is my default of hibernating in my own hole. As I said earlier, it is definitely not as bad as it was ten years ago, but it is very much there. And it is a far easier and safer option to just go along with it than have to try and challenge myself to put myself out in the world again once lockdown is lifted.
But in reality I know that long term it won’t make me happy to stay reclusive. Yes, it will feel safe and comfortable and I can stick in my comfort zone, but I don’t think it will make me happy. Life will continue to pass me by. I will feel safe, but I will feel empty. That is not the life I want. But I also don’t want to face my fears around lockdown lifting. But I guess, if I have done it before I can do it again. As hard it seems, as scary as it seems, it will be worth it.
It seems that everyone is really looking forward to lockdown lifting. I question what is wrong with me for not feeling like everyone else, for feeling scared of lockdown ending. But I am sure I am not alone in feeling like this. Hopefully this blog will help those who also feel the same as me – scared of lockdown lifting and life returning to normal. You aren’t alone. We will get through it. I’m not saying it will be easy, but we can cope and we can come out the other side. And I am sure it will be so worth it.
If you want to read my blogs from the start of lockdown, please check them out here: