Returning to Normal?

By Char Shields - July 14, 2020

One step forward and ten steps back. That's exactly how I feel right now. Recent graduate, jobless and depressed. As many people return to what is considered 'normal', I'm trying to figure out what exactly normal is.

A mixture of fear surrounding a global pandemic and generally being in a position that I can't quite fathom has made my mental health plummet. Not to mention being forced to isolate after spending years of doing that thanks to depression. It was like "Hey, you've been trying so hard to claw your way out of that hole, now go jump back into it."

Moving into July, I'm feeling the full effects of lockdown as the country starts to reopen, again reminding me of just how wonderfully caring our government is (they're totally not putting profit before people, they would never do that!) I'm seeing celebrities jet off on holiday to beautiful countries, people going down the pubs with their mates. All I can think is, why aren't I there yet? Is it because I fear going out? Or is it because I can't get my arse off the sofa?

Truth be told, it's a bit of both. There's no way you'll catch me going to the pub, as much as I miss it, for quite some time yet. We're still in the middle of a pandemic, I don't want to be surrounded by hundreds of drunk people. But also... I literally haven't moved from the sofa in a week.

Throughout lockdown, I've tried to stay as positive as possible. However, after how many weeks, it's just taken its toll. I have no motivation, no concentration and very little will to live. You see, I fear that this is how life will always be from now on. That being stuck inside is the new norm. The virus is always going to come back, especially with how the government deals with it. (Can't have a second wave if we haven't left the first one, am I right?) Do we just accept this new way of life?

And I keep thinking, "I can't wait until 2021," but what if it's just as bad? More of the same? Hell, what if it's even worse? Before the pandemic, I saw a bright future that both scared and excited me. Now... I see nothing.

I'm in a brand-new situation, not just because of the pandemic, but because I've graduated from university. Now, I've got to try and find a job in the middle of all this before I run out of money completely. I'm trying to figure out what normal is now, because it's not the same as it was before March 2020.

Can the light at the end of the tunnel be turned back on? Can we return to whatever normal means? And will I ever figure out what normal is? Despite everything, I've been through a lot worse than having to stay indoors. If I can get through that, I can get through this. I've just got to keep fighting.

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