An encroaching general mistrust of the outside world

Well any arbitrary line is still arbitrary.

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Have only really had this once when I went to the Downs last week. Combination of good weather and it being the end of the uni year meant it was absolutely rammed, most people I’ve seen in one place in ages. Who were all those people? Where did they come from? WHY WERE THEY ALL SO FUCKING CLOSE TOGETHER?

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I have had this really badly, even though I normally love going out. I’ve found myself reacting very negatively to any suggestion of change, which I also feel bad about.

Walks, click and collect and very occasional forays into shops with big aisles are all I’ve done. Had one friend round for a garden session. I’ve only seen my kids (who live 60 miles away) twice and on both occasions it was for a socially-distanced walk and picnic in the middle of nowhere (well, Essex).

Was chatting to my other half about why this is stressful, and we thought it might be because every possibility that arises has to be evaluated against so many considerations that it makes decisions really hard. Is it allowed under the guidelines? Do we consider it safe even if it is within the guidelines? Are we putting anyone else at risk? Are we taking a consistent level of risk across all our activities? Are we being hypocritical? Is it worth bending the rules for the sake of our mental health? If we can’t do it now, what would have to change for us to feel OK about doing it? If the answer to that is ‘not until there’s a vaccine’ then should we just do it anyway? What if we were in the middle of doing it and they locked down again?

It’s bloody exhausting and it’s easier (for me at least) to just short-circuit all that thinking by deciding to stay in most of the time. But I know it’s not doing me much good and I feel very anxious every day from early hours until late morning, when it usually wears off.

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I thought that I felt like this. I haven’t been in an indoor space with anyone that isn’t my wife or kids since the day before lockdown other than with a Dr for a few minutes. I’ve been for a handful of walks in some pretty quiet woods and that is it.

But I went to my workplace yesterday to collect some shit and found it strangely relaxed speaking to some of the operational staff who are working there. I didn’t get near them and I sanitised a lot but it was not how I thought I would feel.

Still fuck going anywhere for a long while though.

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I think it’s a very unfortunate side effect of the fear that was put into people by the government. Lockdown would never have worked without people being genuinely scared. Unfortunately for many people that has had a knock-on MH effect and there doesn’t seem to be any help for dealing with that (other than ‘go to the shops and spend, it’s fine’.)

We are much much less at risk now in most areas of the country than we were when we were all still living our ‘normal’ lives at the start of March and blithely going about our business without much concern. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway. My region was the ‘coronavirus capital of scotland’ and it has been extremely scary up here and I didn’t leave the house for a long time at first (with the exception of some unavoidable medial appointments.) My rational brain however knows that that risk has largely passed now (that’s not to say it’s not still scary if you stop to think about it too hard.)

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I posted quite a lot at the start of the year about my health anxiety and the impact of an escalating pandemic on that, which was exacerbated by a period of high intensity work which was supporting our response to the pandemic and mostly involved worst case scenarios (how do we deal with an outbreak on a ship and re-planning / communicating itineraries where they were in Asia, Australia etc). Basically during March I totally lost it, spent every day obsessing about my own and my families death and consuming every piece of Covid related information. When lockdown was announced I was ecstatic and the first six weeks were probably the most mentally ‘stable’ I’ve been for years - people I work with asked why I was so calm and I had to tell them…because I’ve spent three months locked in to the worst case scenarios and preparing for them.

About a month ago we started going out to ‘busier’ places, not in close contact but for walks and actually going in to the supermarket again and can definitely feel my mental health deteriorating again. We saw some friends a few weeks ago for a socially distanced chippy tea on the beach and I spent two weeks counting down symptom free days until I felt ‘safe’ again. The kid is back at nursery from today and they’ve been great - really clear plans in place and are acting in as safe and controlled a way as they can but it’s another slip away from the control over potential exposure I had before and…doesn’t feel great. Still hate going to the shop when I have to and am leaning hard on the home delivery / click and collects. Still nope-ing out of situations even outside where it feels too busy. Absolutely dreading having to go back to the office which is planned for September. The in laws are coming down this weekend and I don’t want them in the house even though it’s ‘allowed’ and we think they’ve already had Covid so probably even less risk but still having a mild freakout about the whole thing.

TL:DR - I want to be around people even less than before lockdown.

Our playparks are open again. On Monday is was tipping it down here and we were the only ones at the park, and I was wiping everything down with rubbing alcohol (in the rain. Lol.)

Yesterday was a sunny day and there about forty trillion kids at the park and they were all hugging and wrestling and there was no rubbing alcohol. I was strangely ok with it.

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I think you should try to ease yourself back in gently with a few walks and then a quick trip to a shop. Otherwise I can imagine going straight back to the office would be traumatic.

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I was a neurotic mess at the start of lockdown but have massively relaxed in the last 4-6 weeks. Spending time in other people’s company has massively helped - it’s reminded me I’m not going to spontaneously combust by being in other people’s vicinity. I think people living alone were probably hardest hit because enforced a long time you had absolutely no one around you and having people anywhere near you just felt like a huge risk.

In 3 weeks I’m due to spend 2 days and nights in Liverpool, staying in a hotel and working in a hospital - that’ll be fun, eh?

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This exactly describes my other half. She’s more anxious than me anyway, and maybe I don’t feel quite the same way because I’m the one who’s been popping out when we’ve run out of milk or bread.

I guess it doesn’t help that because there’s no news, the news there is can be about people breaking lockdown rules, which means you want to go out even less, when actually what’s happened is that there’s been one incident involving some kids which wouldn’t have been reported on a year earlier.

Like @anon32406580 said, the risks now are so much lower than they were when lockdown started. Most people are social distancing, many are wearing masks, people are more aware of things, and also the number of cases is significantly lower. It’s definitely no time to be going back to normal, but getting out somewhere where you know it’ll be quiet has been helpful for us here.

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I do know what you mean, but anyone who’s worked at a retail or in NHS or school or whatever throughout this must be at the ‘sod this’ stage now, so fully understandable

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If I’d been working in a shop or a hospital for the last 3 months, I’d be bloody glad of a beer garden opening up right now.

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are you expecting that to go ahead/would you try to contest it?

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Sure, and it’s not meant in a judgemental way. They’re entitled to do what they want and it’s permitted by the guidelines. Just seems extra risky that they’re in this position of being a major vector for transmission (obvs not their fault and great they’ve continued to work in very difficult circumstances) of the virus and are raring to get pissed in public. Dunno, maybe I’m being too pessimistic, but I can’t see social distancing playing out well once people have had a few.

Edit: and tbf, if I worked in a school I’d probably need to get pissed every night just to survive.

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I don’t particularly have a choice really - if it’s allowed then I’d essentially be refusing to do my job and that’s not a particularly good look 2 months into a new job with a very ruthless company

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I have found when I’ve been out at the shops and been running and things that people are a lot more confrontational and quick to anger. I don’t think it’s me. I hope it isn’t me, but I’ve had several alterations over the last couple of months, of varying degrees of severity of course.

(Hello, had a week off from here for the first time in a million years. It was nice)

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But I also feel extremely on edge and agitated when I’m out and that I’m expecting something bad to happen, so maybe it just attracts it? Idk.

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Yeah I’ve been feeling this too. Have left the house very few times over lockdown (also have a garden) and literally did not see another person other than family I live with until last week when we went to sit in my mother-in-law’s garden. I definitely wont be going to a supermarket/shop, restaurant, pub or getting on any public transport any time soon. I’m trying to incorporate some socially distanced outdoors activities like having friends round to sit in the garden at the weekend but that’s it. I still worry about myself or my family getting covid.

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Some anxieties but not too bad on balance. Felt some pangs of this last week so’ve been challenging myself over and over on it. Locking down was very hard and unnatural. There’s no reason why re-socialising yourself wouldn’t feel bad too.

What’s been worse is that I seem to have become really irritable with strangers now, I’m just very angry at everyone.

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Been saying this for the past few months.

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