A LETTER IN REPSONSE TO COVID-19
Ok a harsh opening line, but I feel better now that I’ve gotten that off my chest.
I’m not usually that direct or aggressive when I write a letter to someone, usually I’ll start it with the obligatory dear (insert name) how are you?
But I feel that COVID-19 isn’t the type of virus who cares how it’s addressed.
In reality it came to do one job (wreak havoc) and it did.
Business began to close, people started to lose their jobs, the economy was hit hard, and the virus gave zero fucks.
It did because it doesn’t care how governments responded, it only had one job to disrupt people’s lives and ensure a wealth of misery and pain.
For me, it sent me over the edge when it first began to spread itself around Australia.
My anxiety and stress levels were raised I believe beyond the norm whatever the norm levels are with situations like this.
I felt like I was on the edge of a cliff, inside a car, the front of it was tilting forward and all I could hear was the laughter coming from COVID-19.
I wasn’t sleeping from the over saturated news content bombarding my tv screen, which instead of informing me did in fact escalate my stress, anxiety and mental health levels.
I couldn’t make sense of any of it, I was overwhelmed and heading for a meltdown.
And it didn’t stop, the pouring in of information on a minute-to-minute basis, news readers in studios would cross to reporters wearing face masks and ask them what the latest death toll numbers were or what medical experts were now saying.
But COVID-19 didn’t care, it had one mission and that was to come into people lives, disrupt them and then sit back and watch as the effects of its actions were revealed.
I had to come up with some answers to aid me in getting through this, I took to finding workout video’s on YouTube, I tried to restore some balance into my life, but COVID-19 didn’t want that to be the case and pushed me to the brink because COVID-19 wanted us to be afraid of it.
And we did, we became fearful and angry and, in some cases, violent in our response.
For me it pushed me into a corner, it made me feel afraid, it made me have panic attacks when I would go to the supermarkets, I made me feel on edge when there was a knock at my front door, it made me withdraw from the world, I began to sleep more, eat less, worrying took over my every thought that I had.
I didn’t have a plan in place for how to deal with this, I didn’t want one. I was too overcome with emotions and rage to care.
But this is what a pandemic like COVID-19 wants. We’re afraid of something that we can’t see. Which drives us into this uncertainty.
Self-isolation worked initially for me, as an Autistic person I’m quite happy to sit in my room and read a book, watch content on my computer but the real test for me was to break out of that and begin to structure my day.
I did initially reach out to people via texts and emails but there’s only I believe so many times that you can say the same things to them over and over again. I’m feeling anxious, I’m feeling overwhelmed.
Because believe you me, there feeling the same things as you are. In fact, everyone in Australia is feeling exactly what I was feeling.
I had lows, I had some minor highs, and I allowed myself to be consumed by all this. I allowed myself to become an anxious, anxiety ridden, Autistic man, who was frightened of going for a walk, who had panic attacks in the Aldi car park, who cried when he couldn’t get toilet paper and came home and had a meltdown.
I didn’t want to be that person, but that’s what happens when a viral pandemic swept across the country that you live in and everyone is at a total loss as to what to do and how to react and COVID-19 gives zero fucks.
So, my message to COVID-19 is this, yes you caused devastation when you killed people by infecting them, yes you placed the country I live in on edge, yes you did all that.
But what you didn’t realise was that we Australians and in particular Autistic people we are resilient, we reached out and got the support that we needed, we had Autism organisations be there for us, we came together to support one another. We worked out what the issue was, and we found a solution.
So COVID-19 I say to you this, you haven’t broken me as I remain calm, strong and in control of my life.
I have some structure back in my life, it’s not at the level that it was but its working for me. I have family and friends who I can reach out to and that’s more than you have.
Sincerely Autistic Nick