Returning to Life After Quarantine: An Anxiety Story

Before COVID-19 I already had a tough time getting out of my house. I had been trying to be more social and do things with other humans that weren’t family or my boyfriend. But then COVID changed everything.

I was so excited that I got to stay home for 95% percent of my week. I have been working from home since late March so the anxiety of interacting with my coworkers has been tossed out the window. I haven’t had to put together a real outfit or do a full face of makeup in months.

Now that things are sort of going back to normal, I’m terrified. I have had multiple anxiety attacks thinking about returning to the office. Over the past week I’ve had trouble eating which is a big signal to me that I’m really, really anxious. I usually don’t lose my appetite or have trouble eating if I’m feeling ok or am slightly anxious.

Depression is setting in with anxiety at the reigns. For me, depression makes me exhausted and I have no energy or motivation to do anything besides lay in bed or zone out on the couch watching people decorate ice cream cakes on TikTok. I have been struggling to find joy in the things that usually make me happy.

I sit back and wonder why it feels like I’m the only one dreading for life to go back to the way it once was. I feel like all of the progress I had made earlier this year (ok it wasn’t that much progress but progress is progress especially in mental health) has disappeared. I may have taken two steps forward but now I’m gone back two miles.

I have no specific reason to be anxious other than that I hate change. My brain can’t handle big changes, it takes me a while to re-center and get back on course.

I knew all of this was temporary going in to it but now that that time is nearly here, I’m scared.

I was supposed to begin next week going into the office full-time but I asked if I could stay home for longer which my boss agreed to. I feel a sense of relief but also guilt for not doing what I was told initially.

They are letting me transition back which I think will help me cope better than I would have with diving head first into it. But on the other hand, sometimes I need to be pushed into the deep end. More often than not if I dip my toes in, it can make things worse.

The weight of my anxiety and the return to “business as usual” feels so heavy on my shoulders. Some days I just want to let it collapse on top of me so I can rest.

During this time I want to really prepare myself so that I can get through the transition to my former life. I want to have an anxiety first aid kit that will include things that make me happy or can calm me down in a panic. I’m not sure what this will all entail but I’ll figure something out.

Please leave what you have in your mental health first aid kit in the comments! I would love to know!

How have you been dealing with returning back to normal life post-quarantine? Has your mental health improved or gotten worse? For those who have returned, what has been the most helpful?

Please stay safe everyone! Please wear a mask for the safety of yourself and others.

10 Replies to “Returning to Life After Quarantine: An Anxiety Story”

  1. Working in a home with two men with Asperger’s, the lockdown made work life easier because the service user who requires 95% of your attention went home for three months. The main anxiety I had was when he came back last week. Fortunately, except for a meltdown over his DVDs, the transition back was okay.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Here in the U.S the pandemic is getting worse but the best thing for me to do is turn off the TV, especially the news, as well as social media, especially Facebook, and turn on some music. Contemporary Christian music works for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for posting this. I’m still working from home, but I’ve gotten so use to a less stressful routine, I don’t know how I’ll feel about things going back to normal. I’m glad to have met someone feeling the same way I do. I try to talk about this with my family, but I think it’s hard for them to understand

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re definitely not alone in feeling that way! Others don’t understand why I feel this way either. I guess it’s hard to understand when you don’t experience the effects of mental illness. I hope the transition for you goes well!!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. As life is slowly returning to “normal” I too have some anxiety and sunk deeper into depression. I recently contacted my doctor and we slightly increased my meds temporarily. I also arranged times throughout the day when I could call my friends if I was extremely stressed. That has proven to be very helpful, and as time goes on I have needed to call less and less. Maybe these things will help you too. Sending you a virtual hug for good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

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