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I’m Scared of Returning to “Normal”

After a whole year of being at home, I’ve just been yearning for social interaction again. I’d do anything to be in a gross frat bathroom, go to a concert, or even sit at a restaurant without feeling guilty. It’s really hard to feel so far away from people while knowing that it isn’t just a feeling. I really am so far away from people. I literally didn’t leave my house for so long until I started working. I love my, job but every day it felt like getting hit by a bus. People, people, and more people. Everywhere. In a way, I literally had not experienced for months. Like, the most talking I’d do would be with my parents about whether I fed the dog. It was really overwhelming. 

I hate leaving my house. I want to be inside. All-day. Where COVID cannot catch me. I go to CVS and the only thought in my head, on loop, is “Everyone get away from me.” The idea of being close and speaking to people is great in theory. Laughing with others, watching a show with people, gossiping about random celebrities. But the idea of sitting in a lecture hall, surrounded by people, who can see you and make assumptions about you…if I had an Apple Watch it would be telling me I need to sit down. I cannot fathom ‘normal’ life really at this point. I have anxiety and as much as I love being alone, I hate my own company. Like, I want myself to get away from me. So quarantine was certainly a difficult time. But now that people are getting vaccinated and things are seeming to revert back to normal, I’m really scared. What if I got annoying? What if I don’t have any social skills? What if I can’t do it? And I know that’s just anxiety brain, because oh my God Francesca you have been interacting with people your entire life, relax. But at the same time, I’m still so nervous.  [bf_image id="vpt3rgft2bq3rkf6jtnwtm68"]

I love closeness and intimacy, just being with people I enjoy and passing the time together. Fun. Something I’ve been dreaming of since coming back home. But the implications of existing around people nowadays genuinely makes my skin crawl. I thought distance was safe, it was good to stay as far away from people as possible. I don’t know how to change that mentality even though it was so upsetting for so long. I'm having this weird internal battle of wanting to be around people but simultaneously not wanting to be perceived or seen at all. It really sucks.

But I know I’ll get used to it. Eventually, I’ll get back into the groove of things. I’m definitely making it out to be worse than it is, I’ve just gotten so used to being far away. I’m not vaccinated yet so I think fear is a real ruling factor here, so I’m hoping once that changes I'll feel a little bit better. Oh well. Things keep happening so I just have to let them happen, and adjust; the same way I did when the pandemic began. I gotta make up for what I've missed out on.  [bf_image id="8n3p5hqhf7k54kw3p4tsxwh"]

Francesca Capozza

U Mass Amherst '23

Francesca is a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, majoring in Psychology. Her passion for self help/mental wellness manifests in creating and editing Spotify playlists, even if they're just for her.
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