Writing this on Easter Sunday because I am bored really puts things into perspective how fortunate I am. We are over a year into the pandemic, when work and my day program shut their doors for almost three months. While some of the activity during that initial time was completed virtually and I along with the majority of the world was introduced to virtual platforms like Zoom and it has given us the opportunity to interact with others and connect with things we would not otherwise be able to. Nothing replaces the old-fashioned way of meeting person to person in methods such as day programs and part-time employment like I do.
Today is a day like Easter, when most places have ceased operation by encouraging time for self-care or spending it with our family, if possible. We have been in a bubble for over a year, of which many autistics that require more care or have more serious health issues are not able to do things in the community. For those in the school system, if they do attend, it is the polar opposite of what it was over a year ago and for those who do not have the opportunity or chose to do so, it can present some challenges, especially if learning virtually doesn’t work for them. Ironically, some autistics excel at online learning, however as in adults they are missing out on the in-person social element that was once had before the pandemic. As such, many children with mental health challenges are suffering from the lack of what was considered “normal” pre-pandemic. Things for some time will not bounce back completely to the way they were.
More so as the pandemic proceeds as time too goes by, it becomes increasingly taxing on those that are in the essential services, especially the caring and medical professions. Their goal as they provide care to those, they serve is to give hope that there is a future in sight. While there is a goal to reach herd immunity by the vaccine, it won’t take away the trying times that those in the caring profession go through. I as one who not only has a part-time position in the field of getting satisfaction in services along with receiving a host of services can see how taxing it is becoming for them to the point, they reach burnout that they sometimes have to change careers or take a sabbatical from employment, like teachers are doing for example. These professional’s energy can sometimes rub off onto those they serve and some individuals, including many autistics can feel that energy at times.
I can feed off this energy to the point I want to give it all up and just lay in bed all day. But what would that do for my mental health? It would make it worse. 15 years ago, I graduated technical school in a residential setting and had no choice but to move back in with my parents as I was 20 at the time. Being there day in and day out was a challenge. My parents live in a location that is a long walk from anywhere interesting and while my grandparents were alive at the time and I did spend some time with them, it did not fulfill my need to be entertained. The personalities of my parents and me didn’t mix too well. It was later determined that I needed to return to the day program that I entered out of High School and am still at today.
Why do I still stick with it and my part-time job? Well, as I experienced today, I was bored out of my mind and all I did was move back and forth between the bedroom, living room and kitchen. Thankfully, I didn’t eat over my calorie limit. I did go with my mom to the supercenter and to my parent’s grave. But, if I didn’t have something to do all the time, it would quickly tear away my mental health recovery gradually. I know this isn’t the end of the road for me, but it is where I am right now, and that’s ok. It’s what I need to have a fulfilling life and be well, along with other elements of my mental health recovery.