The experience of time slipping away through our fingers is a familiar one, whether we are young, middle aged or old. It can sometimes evoke intense anxiety, often accompanied by existential guilt about wasting our lives, unfulfilled potential or longing for more. When this phenomenon becomes too much of an obsession, it can lead to intense anxiety and low mood, along with a marked decrease in sense of self-worth as perceived by self and others. It can be characterised by comparing our own lives to those we consider more successful. It can also lead to "acting out", to over-compensate for the time slipping away, with nothing apparently to show for it. This can take the form of excess alcohol drinking and drug taking, or by simply, trying to make life more interesting whatever the consequences, good or bed.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, being locked away has led to a marked increase in "Chronophobia". Some have noted that this is particularly affecting those up to their early 30s who are striving to put in place a framework to their lives. Perhaps completing education, getting married, buying first homes, planning a family etc. At the moment, all of this feels a little like its been put on hold. There is a tendency to ruminate on the past or the future and less focus on the here and now. The current "Lockdown" appears to have exacerbated this.
It is therefore more important than ever, to remind ourselves of the transient nature of all this and hold onto optimism that things will change, particularly with the development and launch of vaccines. Life will eventually go back to something akin to "normal". The challenge may be to reframe the current situation and ask ourselves how we can use this different pace of life to its fullest potential. Using here and now techniques like being mindful of the moment can help with this. This is just one of the many techniques we use at the London Psychologist Clinic.
If you are suffering from any of the issues relating to this article, please get in touch or perhaps book an appointment to see a psychologist who can talk through your difficulties in greater detail and work out a psychological treatment plan suitable for you.