As we are in a year and a half into the pandemic, we are seeing with the return to school for many, a spike in the COVID Cases and the various variants. As such, because of the labor shortage and other protocols, autistics are experiencing a massive amount of regression of their progress mostly due to the fear’s restrictions and limited capability of the state of the world.
There are several factors that show their validity on the anxiety Homefront, a well-known co-morbidity of autistics. With the new Delta and Wu variants, it has been known for those who have been fully vaccinated to become infected with COVID. Additionally, heightened fears and the need to keep distance and mask with actions of others not respecting one’s space and likewise the need of extra space should one be unable to mask in public is compromising and can be traumatic.
With all that trauma is the inability for autistics, myself included to be able to go out and do the things that we once did pre-pandemic. There are several reasons for this. One is because many events in 2020 were cancelled and many people had remained homebound for over a year that when opportunities presented themselves as a result of restrictions being relaxed. People came out in full force.
With that occurring and both additional procedural safeguards in place along with the heightened sensory elements and fears autistics experience being around unknown people, many have made the decision to retreat to their home. There are many things I would like to do, however the continual fear of contracting COVID from being in a crowd makes me fearful. There are places and things I like to do, however, because of the effects of the pandemic, it becomes more difficult for me to enjoy them in the manner because they are uncomfortable for me to enjoy.
As a result, I am fearful to do many things and other than work and day program, I remain at my home, only going out when necessary to retrieve items. There are things I like to do, but with the fear of them becoming overcrowded as has been the issue since government restrictions were lifted, it makes it harder for me to enjoy them I want to. For example, I enjoy my photography. However, this hobby has become very stagnant because of me not being able to wholeheartedly enjoy going anywhere to photograph. Yes, lacking a vehicle can be difficult and hopefully one day I can break my anxiety and work on having one as it can open up so many doors to freedom, but now I struggle.
I know it isn’t healthy to be this way as it is a deterrent on my mental health as are many other factors of being autistic. Being isolated or being isolated and totally focusing on activities that are work-related can be burdensome and never give one the opportunity to connect with those in the outside world. Yes, there are virtual platforms, however I am “zoomed out” as many calls it from doing that the last year and a half. I know I need to experience that personal connection, but then again, the fear arises of being sick and the colder weather is looming so there comes the cough and cold season as we know it.
While I do know we have vaccines in place, there is a mixed bag of chatter as to whether people will follow through and get their boosters whenever they become available to them or they will forgo the boosters. There can also be the looming possibility of having to revolving around the cycle again to where we were last November, December and January. I know that things won’t get as bad as they were at the beginning of the pandemic, however there will be some degree of precautions, this I can guarantee.
Life is what you make it! I know I have to fight the battlefield of anxiety and cicatrizing thoughts in my head and fight the regression and continue towards progress, even if it done at a snail’s pace. I, like many autistics can learn and grow from my experiences and I can not forgo my hobbies because of a virus. I just need to take more precautions and even if they are a slight pain, I know overall they are in my best interest,