There are many things that I’m missing from life before the coronavirus. I’m longing to spend warm afternoons at the park with my family, leisurely stroll Target without wearing a mask and gloves, and opening my children’s backpacks to see what they’ve done at school each day.
I am NOT missing my social anxiety. It is at an all-time low given the fact I no longer have opportunities or the need to be social outside my home.
I have always struggled with social anxiety. I’ve been lucky to be in a socially safe bubble of friends that I’ve had since kindergarten. I’m a long way from kindergarten now and in a different state than most of my friends. My anxiety worsened when I became a stay-at-home mom three years ago. I was out of my comfortable work zone and thrown into full-time mom life. I was happy to be there but also didn’t know how to manage all the new social opportunities I was facing.
My latest plan to manage my social anxiety has been to face it head-on. I sign up to be a class mom, I volunteer, I apply to write for a moms’ blog, and I become a real estate agent. I put myself out in the world, living the life I want for myself, despite the anxiety. I go with the “practice makes perfect” idea that if I push through it, one day I’ll feel more comfortable with new people and feel less socially awkward.
The implementation of social distancing relieved all that social stress in an instant. Coronavirus has brought a new set of fears and anxieties, but as far as the social aspect, it’s almost non-existent, and that has been a personal relief.
I no longer wait in my car avoiding interactions at school pickups, feel my heart in my throat walking into PTO meetings or school family events or worry about making the additional “mom friends” I think I should have. I don’t have to panic when my daughter says she wants a play date with a classmate and put it off with a, “Yeah I’ll talk to her mom soon.”
I don’t know what my social anxiety will look like when we all emerge from social distancing. I don’t think any of us can really grasp what any part of our world will look like when we are told we can safely resume previously normal activity. I worry that social distancing may be a personal setback for the anxiety I experienced prior to the health crisis.
What anxieties are you facing? Has anything become easier for you because of social distancing?