This is a First Person column by Crystal MacCormac, a medical secretary in Charlottetown. For more information about CBC’s First Person stories, please see the FAQ.
Before the pandemic hit, I was somewhat antisocial. I planned my shopping and chores in one day so I could avoid crowds multiple times a week. To-do lists were my life and I compiled them throughout the week so nothing would be missed on errand day. Large crowds frustrated me, so I tried to avoid them and the guaranteed annoyance that would remain with me for hours afterward.
I did not visit friends or family often. I didn’t have gatherings in my home. I mostly stayed to myself.
Don’t get me wrong — it’s not that I don’t love my family and friends or people in general. I am actually a compassionate and empathetic person who typically puts everyone else first. However my social anxiety was triggered by both large groups and in smaller groups where I felt pressure to keep conversation flowing. I also dislike the uncertainty of not knowing who might be at a certain function or what the plans might be.
The pandemic has made running errands much less stressful, Crystal MacCormac writes. (Tzido Sun/Shutterstock)
So when the pandemic hit, I finally had a legitimate excuse to reduce social contact.
Running errands became easier, too. With fewer people out, the option of curbside pick-up, contactless payments and more delivery options, I was in my comfort zone — even outside the house.
There was no frustration from the crowds, no road rage while zipping around town, very little need to interact with people in general.
That old anxiety is rushing back
But now, as the P.E.I. opens up, mask mandates are ending, and tourists are returning (possibly in droves), my anxiety is reaching all new levels.
For someone like me, who had social anxiety before the pandemic, it’s like I am going through it for the first time all over again. It has been such a peaceful two years anxiety-wise, and now it’s washing over me again — all at once instead of it building up over time like it did before the pandemic.
Crystal MacCormac wonders if she learn to navigate daily activities again, such as dining out with friends and family. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)
I am once again struggling with going shopping, getting gas, doing laundry in a laundromat, going to sporting events — even just going for a walk around my neighbourhood has all that anxiety flooding back stronger than before. Or maybe it’s just that my tolerance and coping mechanisms aren’t as strong as they used to be.
Sure, some things like grocery pick-up will still …….