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It’s safe to say that for the most part, everyone is dealing with some anxious feelings during this crazy time. There’s a lack of certainty, things are changing daily, and you may be worried about yourself or your loved ones getting sick. Everyone’s experience is different, and today I’d like to tell you about mine.

Throughout my entire life, I have struggled with anxiety, and especially social anxiety. For me, this included typical anxiety symptoms, such as overthinking, shortness of breath, trembling and more in lots of normal social situations like answering a question in class or going to dinner with people I didn’t know super well. It’s something that has ebbed and flowed throughout my life. 

When quarantine began back in march, underneath all the sadness and uncertainty, I admittedly did feel a little optimistic about getting some more alone time during what I expected to be just a few weeks. However, as the weeks turned to months without in-person human interaction, that feeling drastically changed. 

Situations as typical as going for a walk brought me so much anxiety, and I would walk the other way whenever I saw someone. While staying away from people during this pandemic is absolutely optimal, my fear wasn’t coming as much from fear of the virus as a new skittishness around others. 

I noticed this in online interactions too. I’ve always been nervous about meeting new people, but during my virtual college orientation sessions, I had some of the worst anxiety I’ve ever experienced. I didn’t realize it until then, but it had been a long time since I had last talked to people I wasn’t close to, and as strange as this may sound, I just wasn’t used to it anymore. What I had originally thought would be a welcome break from the constant interaction school brings had actually made me less comfortable in social situations than ever, since I had become increasingly unfamiliar with that type of interaction. 

Honestly, I’m still in the process of getting back to my pre-quarantine confidence-wise and each interaction comes with unexpected challenges. So far, I have been focusing on preparing a plan for each interaction I am anxious over, which has helped me to feel in control. In the moment, I revert to breathing exercises or momentarily excuse myself if I need to regroup. And most importantly, I have stopped beating myself over it, because there’s lots of people out there like me and I know that the only way I can overcome this challenge is by first being honest and accepting with myself.

The pandemic isn’t over, and neither is this process for me, but I am hopeful about the positive progress I can make in the rest of this strange time. I know that many of you reading might be experiencing the same feelings I have, and I just want you to know that there is hope, you are not alone, and I am rooting for you!

Emi Nishida

Cal Poly '24

Emi Nishida is a second year English major and Child Development minor from Irvine, California. She serves as an editor and editorial writer for Cal Poly’s chapter of Her Campus. Other than writing, her passions include concerts, romcoms, anything arts & crafts, and exploring the outdoors.
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