Is anyone else feeling really anxious about “getting back out there”? My anxiety has kicked into full gear this past week with things starting to reopen. And it’s less about fear of the virus and more about changing my routine. Over the past couple of months, I have become used to staying home. When this first started, my sense of safety was thrown and my anxiety shot up. Then, over the weeks, I began to settle into a new routine and acclimate.
And now I feel settled and safe. Which is one of my coping mechanisms. Finding order in chaos. Clinging to order. Desperately clinging to order and not letting go at all costs. And I’m noticing myself doing that as the world begins to reopen. My first reaction is a quick and loud NO. No. Absolutely not. I JUST got settled in to this new sense of safety and now it’s getting throw out again? My nervous system can’t compute this. The thought of getting back out there scares the shit out of me because it’s triggering my anxiety and sounding a RED ALERT alarm inside my body. It’s so scary. And it doesn’t make sense to those who don’t suffer from anxiety the way that I do. But I don’t know how to turn it off. I don’t know how to snap out of it. I don’t know how to feel safe. I’m really scared. And logic and statistics and reason don’t help. They’re white noise. All I can hear is the blaring alarm saying DANGER DANGER DANGER. My anxiety is sitting on my chest with a megaphone shouting orders at my nervous system and I don’t know how to shut him up.
This was a recipe for disaster for those of us with anxiety. All we ever want to do is stay home and hide from the scary stuff outside. And now they not only let us do that, they told everyone else we all HAD TO DO IT. It’s been our greatest victory. Finally everyone else understood the fear and dread we live with on a daily basis. They understood the sense of security staying inside our safe homes with our loved ones. They get it! But now? Now we’re expected to just walk back out. Give up that security. The strongest antidote to our anxiety. How is everyone so calm? Where did their anxiety go? Where did they put their fear? How do I put mine there?