Of course, there are the, arguably, more important anxieties that now feature in this new strange reality we all share too, like money worries, job security, interacting with others post-lockdown and how the bills will be paid on a furloughed pay packet. The realities of lockdown anxieties are something none of us could ever have contemplated and now, due to the loosening of government restrictions, we’re starting to worry about life, beyond lockdown.
There are many side effects of the lockdown that I would never have contemplated this time 9 weeks ago. Buying more notebooks for example, as I’ve run out of scraps of paper to furiously scribble virtual quiz answers onto, or desperately hunting out packets of baking powder in my local supermarkets because I now have a sudden desire to cook baked goods. These inane worries and problems suddenly have become the centre of my universe, when just as little over 3 months ago wouldn’t have even crossed my mind.
It would appear I am not the only one who feels like this, however, as we now face the possibility of a semblance of normal life resuming, it is surveyed that over 84% of the public are reporting high levels of anxiety about interacting with others outside of their household when able.
Living in a two bed flat in Newcastle, with my boyfriend and our cat means that for the last 9 weeks I have not interacted in real life with anybody else apart from him (I’m not counting my small interactions with the lady at our local Sainsburys who has yet shown judgement on my essential haul of Dairy Milk and rosé wine). Yet with the realities of some form of “normal life” resuming, I’m starting to worry about the lack of communication I have had with anybody else in months and quite frankly, I’m terrified.
“Emotional and physical distance and independence is important to the health of all relationships, especially romantic ones,” Says Rebecca Andrews, Psychotherapist. “The space to be by ourselves and engage in activities that are just for ourselves can be hard to find when living under lockdown. We may have developed a bit of co-dependence during this time; cooking, socialising, relaxing, exercising and resting together can seem comforting, and like a treat, to begin with, but can lead us to lose a bit of who we are as an individual person.”
When lockdown began, me and my partner tried everything to keep the novelty of spending unlimited time together alive. We took it in turns to plan indoor date nights, choosing themes and ditching our loungewear. We facetimed our families, doing virtual quizzes and celebrating birthdays from afar. We meal planned and went for walks, discovering new areas of our neighbourhood together. We got drunk, told each other stories we had never heard, and we spent every single minute of every single day asking what the other one was doing next.