I really am struggling with getting out at the moment and it’s so hard to explain why. I think I’ve adapted a little too well to staying in and not seeing anybody – and now we’re gently trickling back into the real world, I’m getting panicky about it.

I do realise it’s just anxiety speaking and it’s time to pull on the big girl panties – but I still feel like talking about it because it’s not something I ever thought I’d be feeling. Historically, I’ve always been a part-time hermit and I always joke that I could very naturally make the leap to full-time, 24/7 recluse but I do have a lovely social life and I do fill my social calendar with nice things (ordinarily) so this doesn’t happen. I don’t normally get FOMO but I’ve started to feel the twitch as my friends have returned to normal and I’ve fallen behind.

I know, I know it’s all in our own personal level of comfort and I’m just being extra cautious – which is totally fine. There’s just something stopping me take the leap and I don’t know if it’s fear of getting sick (I don’t think so) or whether its just being overwhelmed by too many bodies, lights and sounds. Probably more the latter. I feel safe here with Glynn and Mittens, and although that won’t change, I do need to start getting back out there.

This has all coincided with the move out of central Brighton, where we were surrounded by people and restaurants (and chaos) to the ‘burbs, where the only sounds you really hear are foxes fornicating in the bushes behind us. It’s so quiet here normally and there are trees all around so I can’t even people watch from the window. It’s a lot of change. I wouldn’t change it but this is my truth.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Honestly, one of the hardest things I’m finding is being away from all the graffiti that was literally on my doorstep. Not traveling to the office is blissful in so many ways but I’m really pining for the street art I’d usually see from home to town and back again. I’m missing out and it kills me.

So I’m going to start forcing myself out once a week. Even if I have to get on a bus to go and do a graffiti tour on my own. Actually, Helen’s said she wants to come with me so now it’s a tour for two. I need to take it slow and do what feels right but I need to do this for myself and I need to know I’m going to be okay when I do it. Before I can’t do it at all.

The other day we went for the shortest walk outdoors and I had a panic attack. My second in as many weeks. It actually really upset me which probably made it feel worse. I don’t like this side of anxiety and I hate that things have changed so much that the attacks I never really used to have have become the norm.

Still, I know I’m not alone and mental health has been hammered for so many people over lock-down. My mum actually said the other day that she’d never really known she even had mental health before this happened. I guess, in typical optimist style – always reflecting then putting a positive spin on things – this is a good thing. At least we can talk about these things more openly now. Not just Mum and I, we’ve always been pretty deep talkers, but in general.

I still don’t think I’ve come to terms with the fact it’s September next week and it still feels like March. This past six months – SIX MONTHS! – have both flown by and gone so slowly at the same time. Everything’s changed, maybe forever. I’m different. I think I want to old me back so I’m going to go out and find her again, via the power of secret snickets and my favourite graffiti artists. Dinner with friends and bus rides. Coffee and selfies under trees.

My palms are sweating already.

How are you guys doing?

Photo by Hin Bong Yeung on Unsplash