Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide
ASERT has put together some resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current Coronavirus outbreak.
I hadn’t realized how much I would miss seeing my support system, the people who make my life better. We talk on the phone but that’s not the same as seeing them in person. I know I’m struggling because my apartment is a disorganized mess. I find myself crafting, reading, and sleeping more to pass the time. I’m spending a lot more time alone as it’s harder to seek out other people. I keep saying that I’m okay but I don’t think I am completely.
My depression and social anxiety are getting worse and I’m unsure how to decrease it on my own. Wait a minute, I don’t have to do this on my own. I have social connections and people who care about me. My pride and the fact that I don’t want to cause an inconvenience to others make speaking up about my problems harder. However, I start thinking about those times that I didn’t think about speaking up and have gotten in much worse situations. I know the people who care about me would rather hear about it when it’s something small and simple rather than wait until it becomes an ugly mess.
So how do I communicate that I’m not doing okay effectively? How do I successfully communicate my feelings? Know what you want to say; I often practice ahead of time and try to keep it clean, simple, and short. I tried to use a lot of “I“ statements when I’m talking about myself. I try not to use curse words since I find it distracts from what I’m trying to say. I stay focused on my problems and try not to talk about things that aren’t relevant. I only have so much time to talk before somebody becomes distracted or needs to move on. I try to use simple, easy to understand language when explaining my issues.
Being selective who I talk to is important too. Are they part of my support team and can I trust them? I find it incredibly important to be careful who I tell that I’m struggling. I’ve occasionally trusted somebody who wasn’t trustworthy. I found that talking to that person caused more confusion than it solved. Does the person need to know? Do I want them to know? I find thinking about my history with the person is helpful in deciding if I trust them now. Past behavior can help predict future behavior.
Okay, so now I have thought about who I want to talk about what’s going on. When and where are incredibly important things to keep in mind as well. Is this a private place and do we have enough time to talk? I’m in a good mental place as I picked my place to talk and it’s private which is a good thing. So is the person I’m talking to in the right mental frame and is this a good time to talk to them? What I mean is, are they rushing and trying to get things done, busy/preoccupied, or in a bad mood? I would suggest that talking to somebody when they’re in a bad mood is unproductive. People who are overwhelmed or busy tend to be less empathetic or understanding in my experience. Waiting until it’s a better time for the person you’re talking to can be an incredibly useful starting point for any conversation.
I’ve gone through all the things that I think about before having a conversation about something that’s important to me. I’m thinking about all my past conversations and how I’ve occasionally found them helpful but sometimes not helpful.
What decided whether they were helpful or not for me was my willingness to listen and change my behavior. If I’m asking for and looking for advice and assistance, I need to be willing to put the hard work into making changes in my life.
I have found putting this blog together helpful so I need to put my words into action. I need to take a hard look at what’s going on in my life right now. Questions you can ask yourself: does this work for me, does this make sense in my life? As always, my blogs are a great starting point but it needs to work for you. I encourage you to ask questions about yourself and the people who support you. Best wishes in your endeavors.