The "downtown" area of my small town
COVID-19 Series

Concentrating On COVID: Sign of Brightness

Recently, some warmer and much more enjoyable weather has been brought upon us in Western Pennsylvania. I am setting a personal goal that in 2022, I am going to make a better attempt to leave my home more and come off the regression that COVID has brought on me because of instilled fear of the virus.

While COVID has not indeed been kind to autistics and those with similar challenges I too have been the casualty or regression from not wanting to go and do the things that I once did . As we enter the third year with this thing, during my last time I was in the local hospital for a support group where I saw a sign to NOT panic. Then the next week, the world crashed and I was already crashing beneath me but COVID really made me hit rock bottom with minimal outside support and the support that was needed. Even once my day program ensued back up, it resulted in being at home, and due to the location of where I was living the opportunity to get out of the house was very limited.

I closed the chapter of my first home and eventually got myself back on my feet and almost 15 months ago got into my present home. I have done some things to get back into the community, but not to the scale that I once did. I, having an anxiety diagnosis, continually lived in fear of something terrible happening. In fact I still do to some degree. In fact, gaining about forty pounds in that course of the multiple transitions didn’t help either. While I have lost some weight in that process, it still presents a challenge in ensuring that I am fully comfortable being out of my home. 

As my schedule permitted this past weekend, I had to fight the fears and internal dialogue of getting out of the house and going to the grocery store. To get there is not really far, but it is further than some of the closest shops to my house. One of the greatest accomplishments was getting there, getting what I needed and returning without the need to stop at one of the available benches to rest. Although I needed to rest once I arrived at my home, it was indeed an accomplishment that I hadn’t accomplished in some time.

The feelings I experienced by getting out of the house this past weekend has shown me that I indeed need to integrate myself back into the community that I so love. COVID or not, the show must move on.There are many defensive tools under the belt to combat the virus. I am fully vaccinated and boosted and use traditional precautions when necessary, so I can not continue to be the overprotective minority when it comes to getting myself back into some sense of normalcy. I already do many things such as work, day programs and weight loss support groups in the forms that I did before COVID, so why am I being so reluctant to get back to doing the things before I hit crisis two years ago that filled up my heart with joy, pleasure and excitement?

I must accept that others, regardless of whether or not I have similar beliefs than I am going to be who they are going to be. I cannot change the way that they are going to behave. I have to do what is necessary to protect myself against the virus with the tools that I have under my belt and do what I know is best. As much as I want others to fall in line with what I think they should do, I must understand that encouraging them to do so will only cause strife and ensue in conflict. 

Because we are fear mongered continually of the dangers of COVID rather than the fact that while we need to make this something that we just have to live with and move about our daily lives is something that has made me and so many others regress from being back to a true new normal that everyone thinks we are at. I have had so much of a fear that something so bad is going to happen if I get near someone that presents themselves as they have COVID or that I show symptoms.

I must learn that I have all the necessary defenses under my belt and whatever is going to happen is going to happen. I cannot live in fear for the rest of my life when I am progressing in so many other areas. Just because we are presented with facts and other things that seem fearful doesn’t mean that it applies to the world I live in. I must learn to live with the ebbs and flows of COVID and not in fear of it. 

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