January 29, 2022

How Will You Define “Normality” in a Post-Lockdown World?

Eilidh Morris | Johnny Threshold, 33

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FilmVessels, 2021

After the public lockdowns of an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the public was asked to return to normal and continue with their lives. Many were profoundly affected by the social isolation and anxieties brought by the spread of the virus and, especially for those with mental illness, the psychological duress didn’t subside when restrictions eased. The expectation to “go back to normal” presented extreme stress and introspection, and watching those around me return to employment and socialising, I was left questioning my life voyage so far.

What does it mean to feel like you don’t have a normality to return to? In existential uncertainty, it became increasingly clear that it was unsustainable to try and fit into any other definition of normality than my own. Soon after those strange times of re-openings, I was diagnosed as autistic. All my distress and confusion made even more sense, both now and in my many years undiagnosed. Vessels is a message in a bottle from a place of poor mental health and catharsis, encouraging anyone listening to move at their own pace in turbulent oceans, even if it seems everyone else is sailing straight through the storm. There’s no single way to be normal.