Bumped in a (British) colleague after work, we walked together to the train station and caught the same train to New Street. She was suffering post-referendum stress disorder, she said. I nodded. We listed the symptoms and our fears for the uncertain future in front of us. Many of them were shared; some specific to our positions as British citizen and newly othered EU national, respectively.
We crossed to the university campus and reached the train station. We sat on a bench, she spoke increasingly passionately about what pro-EU supporters should do now and the need to find ways to channel the dismay so many are experiencing since last Friday. I replied with my dismay at the disastrous situation in the Labour party and the sense of abandonment and betrayal I felt from a leadership that officially endorsed the ‘remain’ side, but probably celebrated the referendum result on Friday morning.
The train came. The conversation continued along the same lines, but I observed myself becoming quieter and quieter.
My voice dried in my mouth.
The talk became more like a monologue, I nodded but was watchful (paranoia is one of the symptoms we discussed). I felt increasingly uncomfortable: worried my voice could make me a target of abuses and angry with myself for letting a bunch of racists terrorising me and many others into silence, anxious for the future that lies ahead for this country and those of us who don’t know if they are still allowed to belong as equal to the UK.