So, last night was interesting. There I was, enjoying having the house to myself for the first evening in months, while my other half was out playing football, also for the first time in months. I was content in the domestic snow globe I’ve been inhabiting since 2020, feeling all safe and quiet.
After and unidentifiable number of episodes of The Circle (another bingeable show I find myself late to the party in discovering), Andy came blustering through the door, informing me of all the myriad ways he expected to ache in the morning. As he recounted the evening’s events, I kept one eye on the drama unfolding on my iPad, paying neither full attention until one utterance from Resident Boy’s mouth knocked the wind from me.
“Me and some of the boys are going to the rugby club in a couple of weeks. You alright to give me a lift?”
He repeated himself and a hot, energy-giving anger flared up in my gut. I think I snapped something in response about supposing that I would have to, because how else would he be able to get pissed out of his brains?
That was about the long and short of our brief verbal interaction last night. Bewildered by my own visceral emotional reaction, I passive aggressively took myself off to bed, making sure my ascent up the stairs was extra clompy for good measure. While in bed, I fought off waves of indignation that I couldn’t logic my way out of, until I passed out in a tense ball.
When I finally did drop off to sleep, I found myself jerking in and out of a series of disturbing nightmares. When I’m stressed, I have a fun habit of dreaming that I’m awake, realising I’m not, then ‘waking up’ again, only to discover I’m still dreaming. One star, would not recommend.
This morning, my body felt like a coiled spring, and it was difficult to tell whether I was upset, angry or unwell, seeing as I had my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine earlier this week (hurrah!). There was a tightness in my chest, and my stomach felt like I’d had cement for dinner the night before.
It wasn’t until much later in the day that I realise that what I’ve been feeling in response to Andy’s question wasn’t anger, but fear. I’ve been pretty vocal since last March about how I cannot wait to venture back out into the world in a dress (fuck me, remember those?) to talk utter nonsense and dance like I’m possessed with my friends, so I didn’t anticipate such a bodily reaction to the thought of things starting to resemble pre-covid life.
Know who did? My mum. A few weeks ago, she told me that she wouldn’t be surprised if the last year had messed me up a bit. At the time, I’d disagreed, but of course she was bang on, as usual.
I’ve worked from home since last March, and my only face-to-face interactions have been with a miniscule number of people. I’ve essentially managed to de-socialise myself. I need to get myself one of those little hi viz jackets you see on certain dogs that say “I’m nervous. Please stay back” on them.
I think the reason my anger and terror directed themselves at Andy was that last night, he brought the real world thundering back through the front door with him, all with one innocuous request for a favour.
All I’ve known for months has been screaming headlines, informing me that everything is to be feared and the world is crumbling around its axis. I’ve overthought every social interaction I’ve embarked on, for fear of passing a potentially life-threatening virus on to my loved ones. People I know have lost their loved ones. Quite frankly, it’s been shit. Shit with the silver lining of fewer obligations and the ability to work in loungewear, but still shit. The explosion of anxiety that blasted through me yesterday was totally natural. There is no official guidance on how to come out of something this monumental with your sanity fully intact.
I don’t have a nice, neat conclusion to this tale of overreaction. I just wanted to share how I felt because I think this kind of stuff needs to be talked about.
The coming months look set to bring with them a lot of adjustments, for better or for worse. So, if you can’t wait to fling your arms around your mates despite not being much of a hugger before the year 2020, while also wishing you could hole yourself up under your bed and never see another soul again, I’m right there with you. We’re living in a scary, fast-moving, frustrating, hopeful, amazing, horrible time right now. Any and every emotion we’re experiencing is one hundred percent justified.
So…how you feeling?