One of my biggest concerns right now – speaking as a socially anxious person still reeling from the very high levels of Covid in the community here in the UK – is that I might never feel ready to play face-to-face.
A couple of months back, I held my first (and so far only) face-to-face session since Covid officially hit the shores of Blighty. Since that time several factors have led to me not continuing:
- I couldn’t get all the players back in the same room at the same time.
- I lost one of the players due to work pressures.
- The GM has lost confidence.
And of course, I am the GM.
Every day I am in a classroom with children who are the statistically most-likely people to carry and transmit Covid (and other common diseases). I didn’t realise pre-pandemic how vulnerable we teachers are to disease, but I certainly do now.
The effect has been that while I have managed to learn to accept this reality, it does leave me considerably less inclined to go into other public situations. Partly I don’t want to risk passing on Covid unwittingly. Mostly I am just tired from all the stress of work. But most of all… I am still afraid of Covid.
Vaccinated, but still…
Covid continues to take a toll on me psychologically every day. I am exhausted – far beyond the levels of tiredness I experienced pre-pandemic – and I feel like there is this underlying, ongoing, never-ceasing hum of concern about Covid. It drains me of mental energy. It leaves my body constantly aching from the stress. It often triggers worry in the night and ruins my sleep. Even after almost two years.
So the idea of travelling to a public venue across in another county is a bit much. Last time we played, there were a lot of people in the room – most of them strangers – and very little mitigation for the disease. I was engrossed and enjoying the game but afterwards… well, my anxiety zoomed until my next three lateral-flow tests had passed as negative. Clearly, Covid still takes a toll.
And I rather suspect I am not the only one feeling this way.
Therefore, I am not sure I am ready for face-to-face, long-term gaming. Certainly not in public venues. Not when there are strangers all around. Much as I feel the limitations of online play, it’s better than no play. It feels safer.
Perhaps it’s just a product of a particular moment that will pass. It probably will pass. But I can’t help wonder what it’ll take to overcome my fears.