Maggie Mulqueen: Covid vaccines mean the end of quarantine is in sight. For some, the view doesn't look so good.

  

Category:  Mental Health and Wellness

Via:  sandy-2021492  •  3 weeks ago  •  47 comments

By:   Maggie Mulqueen (NBC News)

Maggie Mulqueen: Covid vaccines mean the end of quarantine is in sight. For some, the view doesn't look so good.
Covid-19 vaccines means quarantine and social distancing could be coming to an end. Many introverts, social anxiety sufferers and more aren't so excited.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



March 28, 2021, 8:31 AM UTC By Maggie Mulqueen, psychologist

For all the spring break partiers in Miami and the eager grandparents boarding planes, there is a silent group — maybe not a majority, but a not-insignificant minority — who aren't happy that quarantine is most likely drawing to a close.

People with social anxiety, introverts and others who find the "normal" expectations of life stressful woke up to a world that more closely resembled the one of their dreams.

The exact size of this group will never be known because it can be shameful to admit that certain components of lockdown were not only welcome, but downright joy-filled. People with social anxiety, introverts and others who find the "normal" expectations of life stressful woke up to a world that more closely resembled the one of their dreams.

When the merry-go-round of our former lives stopped abruptly last spring, some people felt comfortable with the pace of life for the first time. As one of my patients said, "The pandemic allowed me to act on my inertia." She is happiest being a homebody and welcomed the fact that she no longer needed to keep up with an office culture that required her to have something novel to report about her weekend every Monday morning.

Social isolation even allowed some people to attack significant problems in their lives. While there's been a very real increase in substance abuse during quarantine, mostly overlooked is the fact that others took this opportunity to get sober. One of my patients found that the absence of social obligations enabled her to address her drinking problem. During quarantine she planted a garden, visited with people virtually rather than at bars and established healthy boundaries with her family of origin; recently, she celebrated her first year of sobriety.

But the looming reality of the world reopening is creating a huge amount of anxiety. "There is so much pressure to be around people and no one seems to understand that doesn't make me happy," she explained. "In fact, my anxiety gets so bad I feel worse about myself."

For different reasons, people with other mental health issues like autism spectrum disorder and social anxiety also found their anxiety decrease from minimizing social interactions, including through increased delivery services and remote work options.

Some even experienced an uptick in their self-esteem, as they saw others discover what they'd known all along about the benefits that can be derived from leading a more solitary life. For once, instead of feeling like outsiders, their lifestyle became normative. Where others struggled with the change, they were role models who demonstrated how to be content despite spending so much time alone. People asked them the secret to staying sane instead of judging them for being reclusive.

The respite from small talk, dressing for work and social obligations improved the mental health of those who don't enjoy these activities, but it also taught the rest of us that we could in fact be happy with fewer social interactions and external events than we ever would have imagined. What may have been a pre-existing condition for some is now a preferred state for many.

Nudging reluctant people who've grown accustomed to, and even prefer, living in quarantine back into society requires understanding. Respecting a wide array of lifestyles is one way to show our support. Simple changes such as asking, "How was your weekend?" rather than, "What did you do this weekend?" can elicit a broader range of responses and signal acceptance of something other than meeting pro forma societal expectations. Similarly, encouraging people to prioritize low-risk/high-yield activities — dinner out with one other person, say — as a way to resume meaningful social engagements can be helpful.

Perhaps the best advice, though, is for all of us to be prepared for the fact that the pandemic has changed us. There wasn't a one-size-fits-all response to the pandemic, nor will there be one for leaving social isolation. For some people returning to the grocery store will be a victory, while others may be comfortable planning international vacations. What people do is not nearly as important as how they feel about creating a new normal. So rather than assuming everyone feels the same as they did before quarantine, we should be listening nonjudgmentally to whatever emotions are expressed as we resume life after the pandemic.

There is much to be gained whenever we make the effort to understand people different from ourselves. For those of us who welcome the end of quarantining, let's lend a hand to those for whom this change is bound to be hard and help ease their re-entry. And for those of us who dread the end of quarantine, let us continue to remind ourselves and others to try to retain the preferred aspects of quarantine even as the world spins faster once more.

Maggie Mulqueen

Maggie Mulqueen, Ph.D., is a psychologist in private practice in Brookline, Massachusetts. She is the author of "On Our Own Terms: Redefining Competence and Femininity." More of her work can be found at drmaggiemulqueen.com.


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sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
1  seeder  sandy-2021492    3 weeks ago

I'm one of those people who didn't really mind the social isolation, with the exception of missing family holidays and maybe travel.  I'm a bit of an introvert who works with the public, so some social distancing let me recharge my batteries a bit.  I don't want to remain a hermit, but weeks when I had 2 or 3 evening meetings and weekend obligations were a bit stressful at times.  A slower pace suits me fine.

 
 
 
devangelical
PhD Principal
1.1  devangelical  replied to  sandy-2021492 @1    3 weeks ago

I'm pretty much a hermit anyway, so the pandemic didn't affect me much. 

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
PhD Guide
1.1.1  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  devangelical @1.1    3 weeks ago

Same here.

 
 
 
cjcold
PhD Quiet
1.1.2  cjcold  replied to  devangelical @1.1    2 weeks ago

Seems many of us on NT are here due to being loners.

 
 
 
devangelical
PhD Principal
1.1.3  devangelical  replied to  cjcold @1.1.2    2 weeks ago

after 40+ years in sales and service, I'm done with the public.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.1.4  Tessylo  replied to  devangelical @1.1    2 weeks ago

I've mostly been someone that's kept to myself since I moved where I am now and have a small group of friends and enjoy my own company so the pandemic hasn't affected me hugely regarding my social life other than missing hugging my family and friends and getting together for Thanksgiving and Christmas like we always did.  I admit I'm anxious if I do go back into work full time.  I prefer working from home three days a week and going into the hospital twice a week.  

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
Senior Participates
1.2  igknorantzrulz  replied to  sandy-2021492 @1    3 weeks ago

i'm possibly an interior extrovert who can be happy neither way, cause though i sometimes appear happy and gay, it's just a facade i use only mirrors to observe and preserve past and current preservationional conversationals, talked up by the downtrodden covering beds, like mulch, dumped on your comforter, to make you feel , just how mulch can make you feel when bedded in linens maid droppings in the back pocket, now warm an hot, like the brown cot aged cheese down the street where it will end and meet, cause peep holes need time to re-adjust, and focus, upon the visions blurred by such absurd while observed making observations of and about what is width out a doubt, a grey area 51 X = nox ish and such wood be clutch, automatically manually shifting loads that are capable of tipping , not waitresses Christmas wrappin , a bout presence felt uncomfortable, to family and friends and the message it sends via males searching the here now and when, is it gonna be zen ith n buy

some not secure to the grounded in realities , currently against, as pushed for words of Empathy, not insincerity amid a pittance of concern, that cause insincerity and security, that can burn and stoke the signals that  carry over to those who will far better and faster adjust, to the self adjustments made automatically after manual settings are up, and upsetting the social bull ship anchored in deceit sat upon, under where it is fine , ally admitted, to be professing a preposterous opine where in all left in life, is to wine and Dine Cars, crashed, into a train of thought engineered to reintroduce ones self to others never before met, as it';s know sweat deterrent , just a rapid current of events that will hype too many too extreme, cause we've seen this one before, or so it does seem. 

.

I had smashed and thrown my phone , as sick of waiting, waiting staffs into the pool who quit floating buoyancy, cause girl, they couldn't see either  , how now a daze, won can lose a phone while killing time waiting fore the murder weapons, causing a long slow adjustment that went Mal Content right from the table, of Contents that were obscured after pandemic hit and outted how isolated one can actually become without a phone or social media, in this day of ages. Talk about bored, it was so dark and dirty, more like sord id swallowed by that spit e, now a pit E ven if none agrees , we need be in-patient and unconsciously not knowing, but in the stream, a rowing. 

 
 
 
Ozzwald
PhD Quiet
1.3  Ozzwald  replied to  sandy-2021492 @1    2 weeks ago
I'm one of those people who didn't really mind the social isolation, with the exception of missing family holidays and maybe travel.

My wife, was in some very small way, appreciative of one particular change that COVID has wrought.  She LOVES working from home.  The good news is that the company she works for is looking at keeping people at home, even after this all ends.  They have been remodeling and much of the cubicle farm areas have been revamped to manufacturing and development.

My job does not allow me to work from home, but we had planned an amazing vacation last year to the River Walk at San Antonio.  We were both very disappointed to miss that, and suspect it will be at least 2 - 3 years of normalcy before the River Walk area has recovered.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
1.3.1  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Ozzwald @1.3    2 weeks ago

A woman I know who works for our local telecom cooperative is the same as your wife.  She said there's not a thing she does at the office that she can't do at home.  Working from home saves her a commute and the expense of work clothes.  She also said her husband is retired, is a good cook, and fixed her a really good lunch every day.  What's  not to love?

I loved San Antonio's River Walk.  So pretty.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2  Kavika     3 weeks ago

Interesting article, sandy,

Since my family is scattered and always has been the past year hasn't brought on any problems and some of my kids and all of my grandkids and great grandkids are all in Australia. 

Being retired also probably helped during this pandemic time since I long forget what it was to get up and head to work and the interchange there. 

But, since now having had the vaccine (both shots) has certainly opened up everything for us and we are out to some extent but still careful about it.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Kavika @2    3 weeks ago
But, since now having had the vaccine (both shots) has certainly opened up everything for us and we are out to some extent but still careful about it.

Same - I've had both vaccines.  My son hasn't yet, but he's in school 4 days per week.  So I figured we're probably fine eating out now and then, so long as the restaurant isn't crowded.  We're not any more likely to be exposed there than he is in school.  Most local restaurants are still observing social distancing rules by seating parties 6 feet apart, but some aren't, and I only get takeout at those.

But most evenings and weekends, I'm pretty happy to be home puttering around the house or in the garden, or taking the dog for walks on a country road.  The dog is pretty happy about it, too.

 
 
 
Ender
PhD Principal
2.1.1  Ender  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.1    3 weeks ago

You mean he will go out and be seen with Mom?

Heh Heh

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.1.2  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Ender @2.1.1    3 weeks ago

When there's food involved, yes.

 
 
 
321steve - realistically thinkin or Duu
Sophomore Principal
2.1.3  321steve - realistically thinkin or Duu   replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.1.2    3 weeks ago
When there's food involved, yes

LOL, funny stuff. I have nephews like that. 

 
 
 
shona1
Freshman Participates
2.2  shona1  replied to  Kavika @2    2 weeks ago

Anoon Kavika. And a great country it is to where your grand and great grand kids live. 🐨🐨🐨 Can highly recommend it. 😀😀

Life is nearly normal here now. Went to the supermarket this arvo and felt odd not wearing a mask. Almost felt guilty..after 12 months of wearing one.

Head to Melbourne tomorrow on the train, first time I have been on it for 12 months. Still have to wear a mask on all public transport and that is fine by me.

Vaccinations are being rolled out here so things are on the move. Not had any deaths for months now Australia wide, so we are going ok.

But as I write Brisbane has just gone into a 3 day lock down. Had a small out break in the city, 5 new community cases with the UK strain, so we stamp on it straight away. Stay safe and stay well all of you..

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.2.1  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  shona1 @2.2    2 weeks ago
so we stamp on it straight away.

Excellent.

Meanwhile, a couple I know of who have repeatedly refused the vaccine, who go to church and large family gatherings without wearing a mask, are sick with flu-like symptoms - cough, congestion, fever, fatigue.  They refuse to be tested, and refuse to isolate.  The wife is going to the hospital this week to finally get her vaccine, even though she should be staying home away from people.  I can only hope she doesn't have Covid, and doesn't spread it to others.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.2.2  Kavika   replied to  shona1 @2.2    2 weeks ago

Good news for Oz. A quick stamp on it in Brisbane is the way to go. We are still losing a thousand people a day to the virus, it's devastating. 

 
 
 
bccrane
Freshman Silent
2.2.3  bccrane  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.2.1    2 weeks ago
Meanwhile, a couple I know of who have repeatedly refused the vaccine, who go to church and large family gatherings without wearing a mask, are sick with flu-like symptoms - cough, congestion, fever, fatigue.  They refuse to be tested, and refuse to isolate.

I will pose this question again, when we hit the "no more volunteers" limit in vaccinations, then what?  There could be upwards of 100 million non-volunteers, how do you handle them?  Biden could order enough vaccines to handle 600 million US citizens but still never break the 200 million threshold, those that refuse the vaccines, do you use the gov't to punish them by limiting their movement by asking for credentials, fine them, and/or find some other means to punish them for their refusal to volunteer?

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.2.4  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  bccrane @2.2.3    2 weeks ago

I wouldn't fine them.  I do think it should be legal for employers to refuse to hire them, and many are planning that.  I also think it should be legal to force them to isolate if they're known to be sick, and refuse to isolate voluntarily. 

But really, we need to adjust our attitudes here in the US and stop being so damned selfish and cavalier regarding the danger we may be posing to others.  Our rights without responsibilities attitude is keeping this thing going.

 
 
 
MrFrost
Masters Principal
2.2.5  MrFrost  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.2.4    2 weeks ago
I wouldn't fine them.  I do think it should be legal for employers to refuse to hire them, and many are planning that.

Agreed. I think those that refuse to get vaccinated will likely, in the long run, be weeded out by Mother Nature. 

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.2.6  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  MrFrost @2.2.5    2 weeks ago

That, or they'll get sick of being excluded and get vaccinated.  Airlines and cruise lines are already talking about requiring either a vaccine or a negative test for Covid before allowing people to board.  I think those are good ideas - airplanes, especially, with recycled air and very close quarters.

This particular couple make me mad not just because they won't get vaccinated.  It's also because they're sick, they don't know what they're sick with, and they insist on exposing others.  That's not right.

 
 
 
MrFrost
Masters Principal
2.2.7  MrFrost  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.2.6    2 weeks ago

This particular couple make me mad not just because they won't get vaccinate.  It's also because they're sick, they don't know what they're sick with, and they insist on exposing others.  That's not right.

Agreed. I wish people that refuse to wear masks or get vaccinated would use the, "curbside pickup", where possible. They could at least commit to doing that much. As far as airplane travel...I REALLY hate to fly no matter what, but most airlines make masks mandatory and from what I have read, the recycled are is sanitized in some planes. 

I'll just walk, need the exercise anyway. 

 
 
 
Ender
PhD Principal
3  Ender    3 weeks ago

I could go to a party just as easily as I could stay at home and do something.

I guess it doesn't really bother me either way.

 
 
 
Kathleen
PhD Principal
4  Kathleen    3 weeks ago

I have to be honest. I thought about this and I did not mind being away from people many times. Also, I got out of going to things I did not want to go to... 

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
4.1  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Kathleen @4    3 weeks ago

I've been working since May, and my job involves a lot of public interaction.  Pandemic or no, I need some quiet time after working all day to be content.  The pandemic assured that I got it, when I couldn't always find the time pre-pandemic.

 
 
 
Ender
PhD Principal
5  Ender    3 weeks ago

I read something a long time ago so I am going by memory. It went something like, for people with anxiety about going out, the longer they stay in isolation, the harder it is to go back out into the world.

It sort of compounds.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
5.1  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Ender @5    3 weeks ago

I can see how that would be.  They get too comfortable not having to address their anxieties.

 
 
 
cjcold
PhD Quiet
5.2  cjcold  replied to  Ender @5    2 weeks ago

Even more so for agoraphobics.

 
 
 
cjcold
PhD Quiet
5.2.1  cjcold  replied to  cjcold @5.2    2 weeks ago

Used to be a paramedic and became seriously tired of exposing myself to death.

Knew a few paramedics who didn't survive the job. 

Glad to be a stay-at-home loner these days.

Sad to be a covid long hauler. It's been a year and am starting to wonder if I'll survive it.

At least covid was a good excuse to quit smoking.

 
 
 
MrFrost
Masters Principal
6  MrFrost    3 weeks ago

I tend to be a homebody most of the time anyway and when I do venture out, I try to do all my errands in one day. Went to the dentist the other day, didn't like it. 

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
6.1  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  MrFrost @6    3 weeks ago
Went to the dentist the other day, didn't like it. 

Aw, c'mon!

 
 
 
cjcold
PhD Quiet
6.1.1  cjcold  replied to  sandy-2021492 @6.1    2 weeks ago

Can't remember ever enjoying going to the dentist

 
 
 
MrFrost
Masters Principal
6.1.2  MrFrost  replied to  sandy-2021492 @6.1    2 weeks ago

Aw, c'mon!

jrSmiley_13_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
6.1.3  Trout Giggles  replied to  sandy-2021492 @6.1    2 weeks ago

I went last week for my 6 month cleaning and exam.

I didn't bitch one time!

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
6.1.4  Tessylo  replied to  cjcold @6.1.1    2 weeks ago

ME EITHER!

 
 
 
charger 383
PhD Quiet
6.1.5  charger 383  replied to  sandy-2021492 @6.1    2 weeks ago

I hope my next visit is as good as the last one

 
 
 
devangelical
PhD Principal
6.1.6  devangelical  replied to  Trout Giggles @6.1.3    2 weeks ago

I make my dentist give me gas for cleanings. 9 liters please, thank you.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
6.1.7  Trout Giggles  replied to  devangelical @6.1.6    2 weeks ago

I need to find a dentist like that

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
7  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)    2 weeks ago
The exact size of this group will never be known because it can be shameful to admit that certain components of lockdown were not only welcome, but downright joy-filled.

I'm NOT ashamed to say that this has been a very welcome "change" for me! The ways that it's affected me are all positive. I get to work from home, making the same amount of money, I don't have to deal with getting up at 4:30 am for a shit commute through Detroit or come home in gridlock, and I get to stay in my pjs all day. 

I was still able to see the little bit of family that I've always been close to, because they're all retirees and as long as I wasn't going anywhere, there was no reason to worry about it. Hell, they all went INTO grocery stores when I wasn't. My parents were ordering food to go LONG before I was comfortable with it [before we really knew anything about how this virus was spread]. The past several years we hadn't been gathering the entire family together [30+ people], because while my house is big enough, it's really stressful for one person to handle. So, I wanted a break from that for a few years and no one has minded.

My husband and I generally only go out to eat once a year [right around our anniversary / my birthday, they're 4 days apart and just a few weeks after Christmas]... this year, we just had dinner delivered and sent the kids other places [daughter at her dad's, son at his grandma's and the adopted one visiting his dad] rather than go out to a restaurant. We were both fine with that... we could keep drinking and not worry about having to drive home [because that's where we were already] and we could be in our comfy clothes the whole time while stuffing our faces. 

 
 
 
cjcold
PhD Quiet
7.1  cjcold  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @7    2 weeks ago

The local library now lets me check out as many books and DVD's as I want.

Been eating lots of Omaha steaks.

There actually is an upside to a pandemic.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
8  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

People can take whatever they want from the forced isolation. Some people hated it , some people liked it. Neither viewpoint is wrong. 

I have family members that constantly complained about mask requirements and bragged about which restaurants and bars in the area were defying the restrictions. Most of my family members who had those complaints ended up catching the virus. Thankfully none of the cases was serious although one of my nephews wife was pretty sick with covid for about three weeks. 

 
 
 
cjcold
PhD Quiet
8.1  cjcold  replied to  JohnRussell @8    2 weeks ago

Have been wearing KN95s and haven't shaved in months (who could tell?).

Lots of shooting, archery, knife throwing, sword practice and drinking out here on the ranch. 

 
 
 
MonsterMash
Sophomore Participates
9  MonsterMash    2 weeks ago

Now that I'm fully vaccinated I'm looking forward to taking a few road trips not having to worry about staying in motels

 
 
 
cjcold
PhD Quiet
9.1  cjcold  replied to  MonsterMash @9    2 weeks ago

A bit too optimistic. We have more strains coming/here.

 
 
 
MonsterMash
Sophomore Participates
9.1.1  MonsterMash  replied to  cjcold @9.1    2 weeks ago
A bit too optimistic. We have more strains coming/here.

So continue to be a pessimistic, stay home

 
 
 
cjcold
PhD Quiet
10  cjcold    2 weeks ago

Used to be a paramedic and became seriously tired of exposing myself to death.

Knew a few paramedics who didn't survive the job.

 
 
 
Freefaller
PhD Guide
11  Freefaller    2 weeks ago

Not really concerned about local trips once restrictions are lifted and vaccinations complete but will probably get out and about a bit more.  I do want to get to travel further to see family, I haven't seen my daughter, brother and father in two years and it's been over a year since I've seen my son

 
 
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