As some of you probably know, I’m living in Denmark. We’re under a lockdown situation but compared to some other European countries we are still allowed to go outside. We just need to keep distance from each other. Some schools and a lot of shops are actually opened again, so we’re closer to a normal everyday life than Germany for example, where a lot of my family lives. But we’re still far away from really having all of our normal everyday life back. In this blog post I want to write about how the coronavirus affects me and my diagnoses (autism spectrum disorder, anxiety and depression).
One of the only things about not being able to be together with a lot of people is, that we have to work from home. In the beginning it was really hard for me. I couldn’t ask my colleagues for help as easily as I was used to, and I needed a totally new structure for my days. But after some time, I really started to enjoy working from home. When I’m at the office, I can never focus on work a 100%. I always think about how to communicate with and behave around my colleagues as well. That takes a lot of energy. When I’m working from home instead, I can use all my energy on work tasks.
After I got a depression, I started treatment quite fast and that helped a lot. But I also think it’s good for me, that there’s not happening that much these days. I have my work and my blog, but I don’t have any other commitments right now. I can relax a lot and do whatever I want to. I think my depression was caused by stress. So now I have time to recover from that.
Connected to working from home is having a lot more time, especially with my boyfriend. I can sleep longer and after work I only have to close all programs on my computer to be done. My boyfriend usually travels quite a long time to and from work, so he tends to come home late. Now we’re both working from home so we can spend so much more time together. That’s really nice. I guess some people annoy each other after such a long time together 24/7, but it works really well for us. We’re just happy having more time together.
Meetings with my counselors
It actually sounds like I’m doing quite well with the lockdown situation, but it’s not totally like that. One of the things I have a really hard time with is for example that I can’t meet normally with my counselors. Usually my counselors (I have two of them) come home to me once a week each. After most people got sent home from work, we could only talk over the phone. That was really hard for me, because I hate talking over the phone. But now we’re at least allowed to go for a walk together. So, I do still get counseling. But it’s quite different and not as efficient as it used to be.
Something I really also have a hard time with is keeping distance all the time. It’s so stressful to me. I know that some autistic people really enjoy it, because then people can’t come close to you. But I think it’s exhausting. I have to remember it all the time and it’s not even always possible. So, when I can’t keep distance from people, I always feel like I’m doing something wrong, even though it isn’t actually my fault.
Here goes the next thing, that stresses me. At the moment everything is different and not as I’m used to. For example, when I’m going to the pharmacy or the doctors, I always have to remember to keep distance to others. And there are signs all over with messages you have to keep in mind. I find that really overwhelming. Especially the stop signs! When I see a stop sign, I think, I’m not allowed to go any further but most of the time, they just want to get your attention. That’s so confusing.
Let’s get to the thing, I hate most: meetings online! Because we’re working from home, I have to attend quite a lot of meetings online. Ok, maybe not that many, but at least once a week. And that stresses me so much. I hate talking on the phone but talking on Skype with more than one person and maybe even having to turn on the camera, is the worst for me.
Uncertainty is something I found especially difficult in the beginning. I got a bit better at not thinking about it all the time but it’s still difficult for me that there are so many things, that are uncertain. For example, when can I travel again and see my friends and family? And how are my exams going to be? If universities still keep closed, I have to go to an online exam in June. There we go again: meetings online. I hate it. In general, a lot of autistic people need structure and certainty. That doesn’t exist at all these days. Or at least not in the right way.
It might surprise some people, but yes, I’m autistic and I miss being together with others. I would love to see my friends again. Theoretically, we’re allowed to, but I don’t want to infect my friends accidentally or get infected by them.
My anxiety is doing really well with being at home. That sounds quite good, right? Well, it isn’t that good, because I got used to doing everything with my boyfriend. And that’s really bad when I think about having to do stuff on my own again. Because that’s when my anxiety comes back again. For example, our supermarket wants us to shop alone instead of going there with our partner or family. It’s not a law, but they would like it that way. So, some days ago, I tried going grocery shopping on my own again. And I hated it. I don’t know if it’s my anxiety or my autism or both. But it was really difficult for me, because I was used to something different.
Wish for normality
As you can see, there are both pros and cons about this situation. But all in all, I just really wish for getting my normal everyday life back. There’re also just a few weeks left in my internship, so it wouldn’t even be a big problem having to work at the office again. The pros of having a normal everyday life definitely overweigh the cons.