Ziggy is a Certified Peer Specialist in PA and currently resides in Pittsburgh. He is a member of the Let’s Act committee, a group of peers devoted to raising awareness about mental health care. In his downtime, he enjoys reading novels and watching nature documentaries.View all posts
Pandemic Reflection - Adapting to Things Outside of Your Control
Planning is part and parcel of success. You create a gameplan, execute it, and then reap the rewards. In my last blog, I talked about my higher education plans, but dealing with the pandemic hasn’t been an experience that I would like to repeat. Last year was a challenging year for everyone. Covid-19 impacted my own family, and my mental health did take a small downward turn. This month I would like to talk about strategies that I utilized to get through the bulk of this world-changing event.
When Covid-19 first hit the world, there was a surreal feeling of things being completely out of control. A virus outbreak that had nothing to do with the majority of everyday citizens were suddenly coming to grips with the new reality. In this distant past, I watched a horror film called “Contagion.” This movie, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, detailed a pandemic hitting the world and how society dealt with it, including conspiracy theorists. I watched that movie again when the outbreak first started, and honestly, it helped me prepare for the lockdowns. A work of fiction that took individual liberties gave me a jolt to the reality that I would be facing. It’s an ironic feeling that a horror film would give me a sense of preparedness. Would I recommend watching this movie now? No. But it did help me a bit.
Another aspect of the pandemic that I had to come to terms with was a disruption in routine. For others with ASD, I’m sure we all can relate to having a set course and schedule that brings balance to our lives. Covid-19 said no, things are going to change, and you have no choice but to adapt. I struggled when the lockdown first took place, life took a tailspin, and it was a lot of work to right the ship. I had to remember that feeling bad or upset isn’t something to chastise yourself about. Taking note of those emotions and laying out a plan of what you can do and what you will have to wait on helped me immensely. You can only do what you can and wait for the government to get a handle on it.
Friends and family got the virus and suffered which hurt my heart immensely. I couldn’t visit them, and phone calls and facetime can only do so much. However, it is essential to keep the line of communication open. Your words can mean a lot to someone who is sick. Time and life can be shorter than one would think, so it’s vital to have specific conversations with someone before you can’t.
Finally, please give yourself credit for making it through the (hopefully!) worst of the pandemic. It’s okay to feel tired; we’ve all been through a lot. I can be very hard on myself if I don’t think I’m doing everything correctly. Still, that type of thinking doesn’t help me in the end, and catching myself before I go down that dreadful spiral has been the most critical lesson of handling this pandemic. Helping family members that have been impacted by the virus was the least that I could do. I’m doing my best, and I can’t fault myself for that.
Last year was challenging, and I can only hope this one leads to a brighter and more robust one.