When I do talk about it, I only agree with what everyone else is saying due to my masking, which is a typical autism trait. We want to blend in to seem more typical. I much rather be having conversations about movies and TV shows. Those are the thoughts I have on my mind that help me get through my day even before this outbreak. They're what I connect with. They're what makes me who I am as a human being.
The only upsetting thing for me right now isn't the virus itself, it's the reactions that other people are having. I'm not at all worried about getting sick and having to stay indoors for two weeks. Everyone else has been acting like it's the end of the world, which I understand how they feel because I have felt that way through other experiences. Except I don't get why this specific event is so stressful to cause reactions such as hogging hand sanitizer from innocent people.
Along with my autism, I also have generalized anxiety disorder. Autism typically comes with anxiety anyway making mine on the more severe side (I think). Ever since I got my diagnosis's back in 2011 (about eight years ago) I've been going to all sorts of appointments to help me manage it. Currently, I use a countless amount of coping techniques throughout every day, some without even realizing I'm doing them. If the majority of the population was autistic, no one's stress about COVID-19 wouldn't be as noticeable. We would all be using the anxiety management skills we've been practicing our entire lives.
Before I learned how to manage my anxiety I had some atypical responses to it. I would pace back-in-forth for hours lost in a daydream, run away from home, and throw tantrums as if I were a toddler. Sometimes on rare occasions, I still do those things to this day because it's nearly impossible to stop them completely. They're basically natural instincts to me. All the stories that have been on the news lately about how people have been spending hundreds of dollars on toilet paper are the same kind of thing, only different reactions.
What I have found to be very irritating is when people who aren't treating this like a war, make fun of those who are. I've been seeing cartoons and memes all over the internet that may just be offensive to some. I know the feeling. There have been neurotypicals who have been making cruel jokes about autism for decades and tend to be hurtful even if they aren't aimed specifically at me.
At times those kinds of comments make me regret the uncontrollable actions that I have to things that I find to be frustrating. For some reason, everyone assumes I do them on purpose. Maybe people who have been acting oddly during this time are having the same thoughts, and maybe they aren't meaning to do them either, but I'm not exactly sure because I'm not a part of that group. One thing I do know for sure is that those guys were never attending to cause any sort of problem. Similar to how I had no idea my habits were going to lead to my family spending a bunch of money on therapy sessions.
The people who've been talking about my condition in a disrespectful way have not helped me with any of my "problems" even at the slightest bit. In fact, they make them more extreme. What has gotten me to control them have been educators, doctors, counselors, and anyone willing to put their time into teaching me appropriate responses. So instead of making fun of people for reacting in a silly way, educate them on how they could do better. It will take time, it took me nearly my whole life to improve.
As I stated at the beginning, autistic individuals are the ones who are reacting the best out of everybody. Throughout my life, I have been told that the things I am doing are "wrong" and I should change my ways. It's a great feeling to finally be told that I am the person who is actually doing things "right". The reason why we are calm about this is that we are used to this kind of stress. So in years from now, when your loved one on the spectrum is having a meltdown of some sort, think back to how you felt during the COVID-19 outbreak. It's the same kind of feeling.
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