The aim of my blog is to support people on the autistic spectrum to adapt to living in quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic and to share my experiences and to give some pointers. This blog is by an autistic writer, for autistic individuals.
My mum had been sent home from her place of work because she started coughing continuously. She was advised by the doctor over the telephone to self isolate.
A day later I started to feel muscle pains. My anxiety which is always under the surface, kicked in, and I decided to isolate at home too.
My daily News viewing had increased dramatically. I would watch the headlines every hour to catch constant updates about the coronavirus which wasn’t helping my situation, it was just making me more paranoid and anxious. It was also making me going onto the internet and self diagnose.
Lack of routine and household tension:
Being in isolation has not been easy for me to adjust to. I am not working at the moment because my workplace has temporarily closed due to the lockdown.
My regular meals of brown rice, brown pasta, canned tuna, and chicken that I eat daily are not in the house so a lot of familiarity has been lost.
This has also led to a lot of problems in my home. My mum does not understand autism, is in denial about me being on the spectrum, and doesn’t understand how a change of routine can affect people on the spectrum. It’s caused a lot of friction.
My already difficult social interactions with people was made worse. After I came out of self Isolation I needed to go to the shop to buy some food for the house.
Whenever I encountered a person on my journey I would cross to the other side of the road. If I saw somebody approaching me, frightened they would cough at me, I would run away.
Once inside the shop I would not walk down the aisle until I requested a staff member to move out of it so I could pick up my food. It was even worse at the checkout when I kept looking at the lady serving me with an anxious expression on my face. It was my over anxiety and the fear of someone coughing in my direction.
How you can adapt and clear your mind:
The first thing that I started to do was exercise at home. I have an exercise bike in my room so I did that for 45 mins every day when I woke up in the morning.
One thing that you can do to adapt is to go for a daily walk. If you have anxieties when you are out then try going for a walk around the block a few times. Alternatively, try following some workout routines online.
Less over analysing:
If you are worried about encountering every day people whilst out make sure you keep to the 2 metre rule. Alternatively you can wear a face mask while out. It’s reassuring and keeps you at ease.
In times of quarantine it’s best to keep busy so I thought I’d work on my genealogy and my family tree. But you can do other things that you find of interest to you, such as puzzles, reading your favourite books or comics.
Turn off the news:
Instead of watching the news I watched some of my favourite sci-fi films. So you can try turning on Netflix and catching up with your favourite shows, or play some of your favourite computer games to pass the time and keep you occupied
To ease tensions at home with my mum I would watch some of her favourite comedy shows with her. I’d enquire about her day, just get involved with her a little bit. What you can do is play board games together, watch some of your favourite shows together or just sit down and talk about your hobbies.
I had to adapt the daily foods that I ate. Instead of brown pasta I changed over to white pasta. As I like cheese I put lots of cheese on the pasta to make It suit more to my tastes. Instead of canned tuna I made cheese or beef sandwiches instead. Experiment with beef or cheese. Look for other alternatives. Tasting new foods can be fun.
It’s a difficult time for people on the spectrum. I hope that by reading this blog it can help you to understand that although change can be very difficult there is ways we can alleviate and adapt to our surroundings and keep our selves safe and healthy.