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By Charlotte

 

I live with my father, who is 81, whom I believe suffers with anxiety. Prior to the Covid pandemic, I would not have associated my father with anxiety; he was fit, active, healthy, a high functioning and successful medical professional with a good quality of life.

When Covid struck, things changed. Although initially reluctant, he then complied with the lockdowns and restrictions. He appeared to resign himself to life at home and seemed content. When the restrictions eased and the outside world opened up, he re-engaged with life to some extent though an anxiety has become apparent in him.

He now seems to find comfort in withdrawal from society. He used to enjoy daily walks, though now he will find reasons as to why he cannot walk. He used to be such a gregarious individual and a people person and now he will actively avoid people so that he does not have to engage in conversation. He used to be a confident driver though now he rarely drives.

I can see a sense of trepidation with any activity that involves the outside world; this trepidation did not exist for him pre-Covid. He reports feeling overwhelmed, disorientated and anxious. He appears nervous, uncomfortable and agitated. I recognise many of these symptoms as I suffer with anxiety myself. The anxiety does not seem to be due to the risk of getting Covid, it seems to be more of a fear of having to immerse himself in life; people, places, activities, everything that he was once so at ease with.

I somehow feel reassured knowing that my father is not alone. His experience seems to reflect the experience of other older adults. A study by Paola Zaninotto et al (2021) indicated that levels of depression, loneliness, poor quality of life and anxiety increased in 2020, compared to pre-pandemic levels. I hope that, given time and support, my father and countless others can enjoy life again without the heavy burden of anxiety.

For information on accessing support through Anxiety UK, please see here.

The views expressed by the contributor are not necessarily those of Anxiety UK, nor can we guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. If you would like to write a blog for AUK please email [email protected] for more information.

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