As we are nearing the third year of the pandemic, I am beginning to understand the need to let my fears diminish and find wellness via my own dimensions, whatever that may be. As always, getting out of the door can be the hardest part of doing something that is uncomfortable for me and many other autistic individuals, but once we know we are OK, we excel at what we are doing.
When pinpointing my struggles with the need to have daily activity in my life outside of my home can be hard to digest for some and while having an routine knowing what you are doing each day is equally as important, having irrational fears of what could go wrong is also an issue that continually appears in the running motif of my headspace. Having these thoughts can cause me to think of all the things that can go wrong with a given situation, the barriers that can be presented and the issues that I could face in the path of my day.
Although most of the things I think of will not occur or are simply irrational, it keeps me from heading out and doing things that I know are beneficial for me, albeit having sensory struggles from various sensory pollutants that may arise in the course fo the day or event and to the fact that they may bring me down to the point when the event is over and I head into my safe space that all I can do is just chill out and unwind and have no distractions for an undetermined period of time. Along with autistic burnout, there can be no set time of how much time is needed to recover after each day of experiencing a world that is not made for the neurodivergent population.
When one finishes recovering, they (like me) can feel discouraged that they had to take time for themselves to recover and that they have “wasted” time just resting. But accepting your personal make up is the fact that you cannot do everything that neurotypicals do and that if there are accommodations that can be made for your personal needs, then if you feel you need them, you should take advantage of them because it is what they are for. But anyone with a disability can know of the struggles they face with going out into the outside world and that element of their world has been further compounded as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Therefore, even after things get more and more back to normal, there will be a need to have more periods to rest and recharge and as such needs to be a part of one’s makeup of their day and to have more of a flexible schedule to allow for these needs. It would be further challenging if you do not allow yourself to leave your personal confines to allow yourself to be exposed to the real world and things getting back to normal. Even with all the pandemic-related precautions it is possible to contract COVID-19, it is not to scare you, but a truth, but you have a responsibility first and foremost to do what you need to do to protect yourself as you see fit.
As the world continues to blossom back into normal with COVID-19, we must grow and learn that we cannot remain in our homes continually and we need to fight the fears and anxiety that we face continually and just do what we need to do in order to keep ourselves well, physically, mentally, and spiritually.