In Harmony with Social Anxiety
In a Post-COVID Scenario Developing Cold Feet and Having a Fear Psychosis While Being Surrounded by a Lot of People Makes One Thing Certain: Things Will Never Be the Same Again
Going to watch a football match is not the same any more. Taking your family to the movie theatre or a concert is no more an impromptu affair. Heading to the annual carnival or festival markets is no longer an absolute priority. Travelling to overcrowded cities or top tourist destinations is a strict no-no.
A certain doubt, if not total trepidation, accompanies when traveling by air, or for that matter by train — unless of course they are first class compartments. Even going to the grocery store or the weekend farmer’s market is a matter of concern, and caution.
The scenarios explained above is something everyone must have experienced in the recent times. It is something everyone must have done their best to avoid. It is something that is always at the back of an individual’s mind these days. And it is anything but difficult to understand.
It is the fear of the crowd, rather the fear of being in crowded places. It is social anxiety.
It is of course a Post-Covid phenomenon. One thing a certain virus (and its many variants) has ensured is that any person with an iota of common sense will henceforth remain apprehensive before heading into a crowded area, when being there and even afterwards. In fact many will refrain from doing so, whenever it is possible. A frequent change of plans is no longer a surprise and over a period of time one is eventually going to get used to postponements and cancellations.
These are times when having cold feet and developing a fear psychosis while being surrounded by a lot of people has become the norm. These are times when the desire to move away from the maddening crowd has reached its peak. These are times when stepping out of the house incites anxiety, if not a certain fear factor.
Worse still is the realization that this social anxiety will remain an uninvited guest, for the foreseeable future. Things remain uncertain. Brief periods of relative drop in cases is being followed by a sharp increase in the numbers, and from the looks of it this merry go round is going to continue in the foreseeable future.
It is obvious things are never going to be the same again, even if this virus becomes a bit benevolent and its mutations stays at a minimum. It doesn’t matter how many boosters are suggested (and taken), the efficacy of the vaccines rather the lack of it as also the reason for vaccine hesitancy among many is all the more obvious with every passing day.
Lockdown fatigue had become a reality a long time back. Now governments across the world are starting to realize these restrictions serve no purpose, and they cannot be continued for eternity. No wonder relaxation of rules is becoming the norm the world over. That said, even when normalcy gets restored and the world gradually opens up there will remain a certain hesitation.
The aftermath of the pandemic has among other things led to the realization that things are never going to be the same again. Social distancing is here to stay. Social anxiety is the new malaise. And living in harmony with this anxiety is the new challenge.