The Impact of Social Distancing on My Social Anxiety

I have suffered from anxiety, in particular social anxiety, for a long time. Personally, I find all kinds of social interaction triggering, and even more so in large group settings. That makes lectures, tutorials, group assignments and part-time work especially difficult. But to be perfectly honest, it kind of makes everything difficult. And so, in some ways, social distancing has been a real blessing.

My anxieties are like this numbat: out of place, overwhelming, and disproportionate to the situation

I ordinarily find grocery shopping to be hectic and overstimulating. But as supermarkets are quieter, I find it much easier to keep calm in what is usually an overwhelming environment. I have suddenly found myself able to concentrate on lecture material instead of how many people were sitting in front of and/or behind me and/or were looking at me and/or what I would possibly do if somebody sat in my seat and/or if people would judge my OOTD and/or that I’m not using a Macbook to take notes. 

I have been able to build upon friendships that I had previously been avoiding, since I can’t be anxious about leaving my house when I’m not allowed to leave my house! I have been devoting more free time – which I normally have very little of – to self care. It feels fantastic to do small things for myself, like having a bath or painting, without feeling guilty that I am wasting that moment instead of doing something productive. Like I said, a real blessing.

Maybe this COVID-19 situation has made you more anxious. But personally, I have found the social distancing measures helpful. I can interact with others, and I can keep up with uni, but now I can do it without hyperventilating. Isn’t that breathtaking? (But in a good way, for once.)

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