HOW THE CORONAVIRUS IS AFFECTING MY AUTISM, MY STRESS LEVELS AND MY ANXIETY
I am currently self-isolating as my fear, anger and incomprehension flicker rapidly across my face as my anxiety and stress heighten because of the current coronavirus pandemic sweeping the nation.
Now with the current confinement measures being in place too this has now abruptly disrupted my normal everyday routine.
Every time I switch on the TV, I am bombarded with a breaking news banner flashing across my screen, state premiers are wheeled out to deliver more doom and gloom news to the awaiting press packs gathered around them all the while maintaining the social distancing rule of 1.5 meters.
If it’s not the states premiers it is the prime minster of Australia standing behind a podium reading out a prepared statement full to the brim of information either from the chief medical officer or a team of virus specialists.
It’s now come to the point where you cannot literally turn on the TV, radio, or the web without seeing COVID-19 hints and tips flashing before our eyes.
It’s too much it really is, I understand that the news makers especially those who run those 24-hour rolling news channels where they have to have content to produce and inform those currently self-isolating on what the latest up-to-the-minute piece of advice is but I generally want it to stop or at the very least slow down.
As someone with Autism it’s too much information for me to process at once it really is.
I’ve just digested one piece of information when 5-minutes later there’s another piece and another and so it keeps coming, and if that’s not enough there’s now 7pm coronavirus specials where news readers present more of the latest information sending
Autistic people like myself into a spiralling mess.
It’s then that the fearmongering begins, and the panic buying gets out of hand and I am unable to buy the essential items that I need.
For example I can only shave with an aloe Vera gel as my skin is very sensitive, but when I went to buy some, no-where had it as people during the panic buying frenzy had been snapping it up as they’d been told that they could make their own home-made hand sanitiser with it. All they had to do was to follow a YouTube step by step video online.
Which left me out in the cold.
Luckily mum had some so for the time being I should be ok.
Thursday was a particularly bad day for me. I broke with my routine and went shopping a day early (a mistake I’ll never be making again). Before I left, I checked the list as I always do before I head to Aldi. Mum had written and had verbally said to me if you can grab some toilet paper can you get some if not don’t worry.
Now I interpreted that as can you buy some toilet paper. So once inside Aldi, and once I got past the security guard, my first stop was to head to the toilet paper isle. Nothing!
I pay for my groceries and then headed into Farmer Jacks (WA’S own locally owned and operated supermarket) I then tried Woolworths again nothing. I drove like a mad man and head to my local IGA nothing. I’m getting very angry and very overwhelmed at this point.
I don’t know what to do.
I get a text message from my sister asking me if I’m ok.
I don’t respond, all that I can think about is a 24 pack of toilet paper
I’m getting extremely anxious, and I can feel a panic attack coming on.
I head home empty handed.
I get inside, I cry.
I’m over it.
I go and jump into my swimming pool in an attempt to calm me down.
It works eventually.
I am also stressed as well as being anxious.
Because currently I am having to manage not only my Autism, but also my anxiety and my stress all at the same time,
It’s like having 3 full times jobs.
I have to check in on each of them making sure that they’re all ok and if not figuring out what I can do to ease what I’m going through.
I wish the information that was being provided was delivered in small more manageable bit size pieces so that it was easier to process.
Currently that’s not the case and
I feel that’s why my stress and anxiety levels along with my Autism are currently on edge.
So this afternoon I went online to the Woolworths Online Ordering Priority Assistance Portal.
The aim of this is to ensure vulnerable customers in the community have access to delivery services at this time, we will be providing a Priority Assistance service with dedicated delivery windows.
Eligible customers include seniors, people with a disability and those with compromised immunity or who are required to self isolate.
To register for Priority Assistance please log in, complete the form and include any supporting documentation to help our teams assess your request.
Our team will review your request and contact you within 48 hours to confirm your request status.
To create an account click here https://www.woolworths.com.au/shop/signup
I won’t be going to Aldi as I don’t want to be that overwhelmed again.
Because right now I need to focus on reducing my anxiety and stress levels and keeping in touch with my support systems that I have in place.
Where To Go For Support (Australia Only)
It is extremely important to seek out help if you feel you need it.
- 13 11 14 will continue to be operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Lifeline Text 0477 13 11 14 will continue to operate 6pm – midnight (AEDT), 7 nights a week
- Lifeline webchat will continue to operate 7pm – midnight (AEDT), 7 nights a week
- Kids Helpline – for children that may need support 1800 55 1800 https://kidshelpline.com.au
- Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636 https://beyondblue.org.au
Carry On The Conversation
How are you coping during the coronavirus?
Are you self-isolating?
Let me know in the comments below.
Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.