I’ve struggled with social anxiety since childhood. It has worsened since I’ve become an adult. Meeting people makes me nervous. I didn’t have many friends in school. Cerebral Palsy made it difficult to fit in at school. In high school, I didn’t go to prom or play sports.
It is challenging to meet new people when I can’t drive or get into their houses. Family events are also difficult when they are hosted at my family member’s homes that are inaccessible.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I was more social than ever before. I went to the arcade and out to eat with my friends. We went to MASS MoCA and a Boston Bruins game together as well. I had fun with my friends nearly every weekend.
Since the pandemic began, I’ve felt isolated and lonely. Leaving my apartment makes me anxious. The thought of getting COVID-19 makes me nervous. The CDC has loosened guidelines which makes me more nervous than before. People aren’t wearing masks much anymore. I don’t like going to restaurants or the movie theater anymore. I enjoy being by myself. I am delighted to watch TV or read a book by myself. I don’t enjoy going to concerts, bars, or clubs.
I begin college classes on Wednesday. I don’t want to go back to school. I’ve never felt this way before. I am having difficulty understanding why I don’t want to go to college. I’m nervous and don’t think I’m going to do well. My greatest fear is that I won’t be engaged in my classes. When I started college in 2018, I wanted to make new friends. I wrote for the newspaper, but I had trouble overcoming my social anxiety.
Having a disability can be lonely sometimes. Events should be accessible to everyone. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual events made attractions more accessible. I was able to visit The Louvre and The Shedd Aquarium. Disabled people want to go to concerts, museums, and restaurants. We should be able to go anywhere we want.
Anthes, Emily. “C.D.C. Eases COVID Guidelines, Noting Virus Is ‘Here to Stay’.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 11 Aug. 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/11/health/virus-cdc-guidelines.html.
Zahn, Max. “New COVID Guidelines Ease in-Person Work but Won’t Spur Return to Office, Experts Say.” ABC News, ABC News Network, 18 Aug. 2022, https://abcnews.go.com/Business/covid-guidelines-ease-person-work-spur-return-office/story?id=88441400.