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  • Gaby Pinewood

Confronting New Fears & Anxiety During Quarantine

I have been more time in my little city than I have ever wanted to. In these six months, I have stayed in my home feeling the adverse effects of solitude. So much of my life, I spent away from home, keeping myself busy and distract- ed. Now, even after all these months, I still cannot get used to this current state. Don’t get me wrong, stay inside, wear masks and social distance. I want this virus to end more than anything. However, this new life has changed me in ways so disheartening. It takes so little to create a long-lasting fear.

I’ve kept myself in denial of my anxiety because it is something that still feels new to me. Because life is so fast, I’ve never had a chance to tackle the effects of my trauma. I thought I could handle it on my own for so long. Now in sol- itude and in the one place I’ve avoided, fear swallowed me in a great horrifying wave. Home was always too much of a quiet, dark, and lonely place perfect for reliving anything. In the first two months, there were times I was paralyzed as I relived memories. It was if all the shadows of my past came back to consume me. That illusory feeling was horrible. It was all so strange because throughout my college career, I have, for the most part, internalized these thoughts. I walked around thinking I was ok and that things were better when now I re- alized that my troubles never went away.

As my mind was in disarray, my body slowly atrophied. The muscles that I built up throughout the years became weak-er and my legs were just failing me. I tried as much to break away from this sedentary new lifestyle, but I just couldn’t. All I could do was sleep for there was nothing. I did nothing that I had planned to do back in March. There was no drive in me anymore, only to do assignments. From being inside for so long, I became sensitive to light and sound. Everything felt so much more amplified; it hurt in a strange way. Every little unusual feeling that came across my being made me anxious. Was there something wrong? Was I dying? I was turning into a hypochondriac. So many normal tasks were difficult to do now. Never did I think that fear would take over my life in a way in which I couldn’t move without panicking. I went from loving to scare myself and putting myself in stressful situa- tions to trembling at leaving the house.

Towards the end of last semester, I made all of my final film projects while suppressing panic attacks. It took so long to film anything because I would be trembling uncontrollably and trying to calm myself down. The quiet tears that slipped out and my expressions of terror were all real. And while that disparate semester came to a close, I stayed for the summer semester to keep me busy. All I had felt to that point was like an agony, but I had yet to feel something worse. I took two classes, a science and a literature course. The science made me more conscious of those little feelings that terrified me, and the readings of the latter course were full of dysphoria and pain. My body manifested those terrifying thoughts and I still feel the physical effects to this day. There was a new pain in my body that was so unusual and terrified me so much that I had a CT scan in June. The results showed nothing wrong, but I still felt so trapped. I still felt that there was something wrong. I have felt like a shell of my former self. After I received the date for my CT scan, I was at my limit, hopelessly crying. It was then I knew I couldn’t fight my struggles alone. My entire life I was told to hide my emotions and to be strong in front of others, but I couldn’t as I called my friend still crying endless-disparate semester came to a close, I stayed for the summer semester to keep me busy. All I had felt to that point was like an agony, but I had yet to feel something worse. I took two classes, a science and a literature course. The science made me more conscious of those little feelings that terrified me, and the readings of the latter course were full of dysphoria and pain. My body manifested those terrifying thoughts and I still feel the physical effects to this day. There was a new pain in my body that was so unusual and terrified me so much that I had a CT scan in June. The results showed nothing wrong, but I still felt so trapped. I still felt that there was something wrong. I have felt like a shell of my former self. After I received the date for my CT scan, I was at my limit, hopelessly crying. It was then I knew I couldn’t fight my struggles alone. My entire life I was told to hide my emotions and to be strong in front of others, but I couldn’t as I called my friend still crying endless-ly. What she told me was not much, but it was enough to give me comfort. After that conversation along with the activities we do together till now, I have felt a lot better.

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