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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.

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Running on Empty

By Out-of-Sync Woman
I was lucky enough to vacation with friends this year. I had a lot of fun and enjoyed spending time together. However, for me, there is a cost in terms of emotional energy. This year I’m incredibly exhausted and I just don’t have anything more to give. I find myself excessively ruminating on negative thoughts and I find myself becoming angry and cranky. I was so angry that I decided to take the weekend for myself and I took my cat out of my bedroom and shut the door, leaving the cat outside of my room. My cat gets needy after my vacations and I really need to get some sleep.
Even though I’m not doing anything destructive, I feel emotionally out of control. I’m so tired and utterly exhausted. It takes so much energy to appear normal, happy, and in control that after a week of being with friends, I feel like I’m drowning in negative emotions and thoughts. Instead of having an explosion, I’m having an implosion.
In a lot of ways, I feel like a car with an almost empty tank of gas. The E for low gas is blinking and I need to refill my tank before I run out of gas. I think it’s important to learn your own personal low energy signs before you run out of energy. It took me time to learn my own signs and I’m not always able to catch myself before I hit empty.
How do I recharge myself now? Self-care, including getting more sleep for a short time. Making sure I eat healthy food on a regular basis. Doing easy things I find fun. The important thing is getting back to normal as soon as possible. The longer it takes to get back to routine, the more difficult it is to get back to normal.
If I’m having trouble with this, I talk to the people who support me. I try to pick a good time for me and the other person. I try to be clear, concise, and to the point, but most importantly, honest about what’s going on. Others can’t help you if they don’t know what’s going on. I found that people don’t know how to read minds and that expecting other people to know what’s going on with me usually doesn’t end well. Sometimes you need to even ask more than one person for help for many reasons. I’ve occasionally had a situation when the person was too tired or had too many things going on to be able to support me. In those cases, I do the best I can for myself and I just focus on keeping it together until I can get help. I try to stay positive and stay in the moment which means not thinking about the past or the future.
Keep in mind that learning how to take care of yourself is a lifelong process that takes time. Knowing that you won’t always catch yourself in time or even know what’s going on is okay. Nobody’s perfect so learning to be flexible is a good and healthy part of life. I know that learning about myself and what works for me has been highly rewarding and important to my mental and physical health. I would highly recommend this to anyone whether you’re on the autism spectrum or not. As always, I hope you find this helpful and useful. Best wishes to my readers.

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