Overwhelming freedom: anxiety beyond Covid 19

I have become increasingly aware of people’s growing anxiety during this time. A different type of anxiety I should say; one of nervousness and trepidation about what comes next.

Of course to acknowledge the balance, this time has brought blessed relief for some and allowed time to slow down, rest and perhaps learn something new.

For others it’s been a busy combination of work and children and doesn’t feel so much like a rest.

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You can see from that how differently people have been affected. I recently read a blog post about “not all being in the same boat” instead “in the same storm, but different boats”. I think this is true not only from family to family but within families. Everyone will have their own perspective and experience and will own unique memories of it once it’s over.

To come back to what I started with, it’s the anxiety about ‘afterwards’. For some, the idea of ‘freedom’ feels so overwhelming; the volume of people, social interaction after prolonged isolation, lack of control, fear of whether the virus has truly gone and the loss of those it has taken. In the face of this, home can have the effect of a safe cocoon and whilst that gives a sense of protection and release from expectation, the challenge to ‘resume’ is going to feel greater.

It’s not going to be about going back to normal but adapting to a new ‘normal’ and that will take some time and adjustment; physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. In the same way it has taken time to get used to the restrictions put in place due to Covid, I think it’s fair to say exiting is going to take some time too.

Image from bycocoon.com on Pinterest

If you’ve been feeling this way, I want you to know you’re not the only one. I’m noticing it more and more through my work and I think acknowledging something’s existence is so important and validating. It can be so easy to compare our experience and think we ought to be feeling a certain way but to go back to the ‘same storm, different boat’ we will all have differing experiences after the virus.

Beyond Covid will look different for us all and none of us have navigated these waters before so if your boat feels shaky, I’d say that’s probably to be expected! If the challenges for you lie in the time after the lockdown and you feel like you should be welcoming the freedom but are struggling to just yet, I want to say that you are seen in your difficulty; take some time and allow yourself space to adjust and seek support if you need it, you won’t be the only one.

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Published by Leanne Riley

I am a Contractual Trainee Transactional Analysis Psychotherapist. I like to write about emotional well-being, often including art and creativity in my work.

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