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  • Writer's pictureMarni Little

Anti-social anxiety.

So it's been nearly two months of isolation, restrictions and sometimes even quarantine and now the rules and laws are starting to lax and things are starting to head back towards 'normal'. Cool cool cool cool cool cool cool cool.

Now, I don't want to in any way diminish the seriousness of illness or underplay the privilege I know I have of being able to 'stay home' in a safe place with warmth and food and safety. I am very aware of the gifted position I am in in regards to my physical welfare and ability to care for my children through this. But on a mental note, I don't want to leave isolation and I don't want things to return to normal and I can't help feeling that.

People who live with anxiety (social or otherwise), fear of both failure or success, and bouts of crippling depression are most comforted by one thing; bubbles. Not the clown type (although they are fun) the numbing type. The type where you can snuggle in, shut out the world and pretend your universe is this blanket (and also couch, couch is allowed). So imagine my sense of calm when the world literally became my couch. When I was told I had to shut the world out. Where we all quite universally 'snuggled in'.

Couch, my favourite event location.
Now, it's like someone told me the event was cancelled and I put on my UGG boots and I ordered Thai food and I sat on my couch and THEY RANG AND TOLD ME THE EVENT IS BACK ON.

Firstly, if you ring me on my telephone it had better be an emergency because text messages exist. Secondly, I still will not answer so please leave a message that I will not listen to. (Note: I will likely only reply to you via Facebook messenger as it has an automatic read receipt and i'm too polite to leave people on read.) My first reaction to hearing they were easing restrictions? "

How DARE they. Scott Morrison said six months! It's barely been two! I am OUTRAGED! How could he DO this to us?

Me, socialising once.

" Meanwhile, millions of people are losing money and business and work. This is my thought.

How. dare. he. make. me. socialise.

Stage one: the spiral. You know what else happens in isolation? Nothing. No one can push me to work harder, try new things or do more in my day. I am tired and I relaxed into isolation. Is this good for my future? No. Is it good for my anxiety? Nope. Is it good for my career? Maybe?? No. No it's not. But it's SAFE. And it's warm and familiar and not scary or hard. No one can judge me, there's no 'likes' - we are all equal. It's an even playing ground to just sit in for a bit. I can online shop (which I should not be doing), care for our plants (this is considered helping Davie so seems acceptable) and raise my two gorgeous balls of endless energy; my children. It's TERRIBLE (I know) to say it feels like a holiday but in Sydney Australia, in autumn, it kinda does.

Meanwhile my husband works harder than anyone I know. He has been working since the second isolation started until now and he does not have my overwhelming desire to just fall into a professional rut. If he was not here, I wouldn't even be writing this blog to be honest but I felt shamed into looking busy by his over-achievement. I was embracing being a mum, a homeschooler, a kite flyer, a bike rider for a little while. And not that that is not a HUGE accomplishment on its own, but I had plans before this happened and I haven't been fulfilling them.

Stage two: guilt for my thoughts. Now, if you're an over-thinker and people pleaser then STEP RIGHT UP and be polite but not too polite or I'll think you're making fun of me

and did you hear something about me from someone because you kinda said that a bit funny?


I felt so guilty about wanting the isolation to continue that I started getting TOO excited for it to be over. Really embracing 'normal'. Saying things like "be great to go to parties again" NO IT WILL NOT. Parties are terrible and no one enjoys them. "can't wait to go to a shopping centre" NOPE. I have never been less me than the me that tries to pretend she is a social butterfly. But I feel horrible about enjoying my time at home. My time with my family and without going out. I want to want things to open up again and spend a lot of time debating with my head about this.

Stage three: THIS IS GOOD FOR YOU. I've seen a lot of posts lately about how isolation is good for people. Good for them to switch off and be forced to engage. Good for us to take the pace down and relax. I am not a person that this is good for. I do not need help slowing down and engaging for I have social anxiety. It does it for me. I need to be outside, to be forced to interact and socialise and engage. I need to have reasons to leave my house and go to parties and events or I never will. If I am not given a life outside my routine I will be happy, but I will not grow. My son is the most social person i have ever met and every time we walk around our park we meet 65 people and he knows their names and gave someone my phone number the other day. I need that, I need him. I need to engage with people that are older than 6 and I need to be reminded that I'm smart and funny and

When we could still make film

fun outside of my main audience of three (to be honest Charlie will laugh at anything, primitive).

We all talk about 'using' our isolation wisely like it's a government handout but it was a period of time that was different for every person in every stage. "We are not in the same boat, we were in the same storm and we all have different boats" - this is exactly what it has felt like living through this with anxiety. More blessed than others but still trapped. Social media has connected us in a way we couldn't have even imagined but it is not the same as human interaction and it never will be. So, to all my anxious, depressed and home-loving friends; we may not want this isolation to end, but we NEED it to. It's going to be good for us. So I have dusted off my laptop (lol jokes my kid had it for the last six weeks pretending Minecraft was educational) and I'm going back to work. Well, not work... there is still no work atm. But back to writing for free just doesn't have the same ring somehow.

Marni xx


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