Avoiding People And Outdoor Spaces

Avoiding Outdoor Spaces and People

For some time, I’ve noticed growing avoidance of people and outdoor spaces. I thought it was my surroundings, but that’s not it. I’ve seen the same in others I ‘hang with.’


Is it a new phenomenon?


Or is it age-related fatigue?


About a decade ago, I imagined me hanging till at least midnight way into old age. Now I can’t make it past 8 pm. It’s not that I go to sleep. It’s just that I feel drained then lack energy. This feeling persists when I wake up and throughout the day, despite, power naps.


Life changed after my head trauma was missed. There was me before and me after. At first, I didn’t know what was going on. I felt like I was living inside my head, lived in oblivion for years. My words and actions were mostly involuntary. There were no thoughts in my mind. Only feelings that triggered deep emotions associated with strong visceral responses.


This is not to say my thoughts were always pure, but I exercised control over them, something I had to relearn.


I loved the outdoors. It’s one reason I loved where I lived. I was very active. I juggled being a single Mom working full time with two boys actively involved in sports. Still, I managed a social life and regular exercise too.


So why does it take an emergency of sorts to get me out the door? I can spend days indoors without the desire to see or interact with people. According to the Myer-Briggs, I’m an extravert. The desire for isolation has only gotten worse the more I leave my house.


The other day I was out and had a weird moment. I felt uncomfortable around white people. It was at an establishment I frequented. I was out with a long-time friend who is white. For some reason, I became conscious of the difference in our skin color. With that realization, I half-listened to him and thought about how different our cultures were.
“I am tired of being surrounded by people who don’t look like me and who harbor resentment or stereotypes,” occupied my thoughts.


I imagine many will mutter why don’t you go back to your country. That country is the USA. Why do I suddenly feel unwelcomed in my country? Why do I feel more vulnerable than ever in a country I grew up?


I believe many people of color are asking similar questions. Are many avoiding people or outdoor spaces?



Author: Angela Grant

Angela Grant is a medical doctor. For 22 years, she practiced emergency medicine and internal medicine. She studied for one year at Harvard T. H Chan School Of Public Health. She writes about culture, race, and health.

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