We’ve all been living through difficult times for the past month, but times of stress and uncertainty can be particularly tough for those with autism. So we wanted to get the thoughts of someone on the autism spectrum, on how they’re coping through this crisis.
Thanks so much to writer, speaker, presenter and autism champion, Alex Manners, for sharing his thoughts on coronavirus, the lockdown, and tips on getting through it all…
My Covid-19 story so far!
By Alex Manners
Just when my life seemed to be moving in the right direction and my Asperger’s Talks were being booked well in advance, Covid-19 came along and turned my world upside down.
Over the past few weeks I feel like I’ve been living inside a snow globe that has been shaken violently and my world, which was once calm, is now full of uncertainty and chaos. All my ‘Talks’ were postponed and my income vanished in a few days! I have battled daily to try and keep myself positive by keeping myself busy. I started a blog, created new remote services for my business e.g. Video Talk and Webinar.
I have also tried to market my book, “That’s not right! My life living with Asperger’s” in order to try and generate a bit of income. Indeed, I have started writing additional chapters for a revised version, which I hope will be published in the future. However, I really struggle not seeing all my family and friends, as well as not playing golf, tennis and squash. Then there are all the live football games I am used to going to multiple times each week. I think being such an active person has made the government ‘Lockdown’ so much more difficult for me to accept and cope with.
I am fortunate to have so many people I can turn to for support but ultimately I know that I have to deal with this situation. My dad tells me this experience will make me stronger and more able to deal with adversity in the future. He sent me a great quote; “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” Vivian Greene. I know he’s right but it’s so difficult when the only news we seem to get is more bad news, such as more deaths and extending the ‘Lockdown’.
My motto is “never give up” and I won’t but nor can I pretend that this isn’t extraordinarily difficult. My positive outlook is really being put to the test and I am sure that everyone, whether they have Autism or not, is struggling, especially because there’s no certainty, of almost anything, in sight.
This experience has made me think deeply about ways to overcome this adverse period in my life. So I have created the following tips to help people cope better. Some are great ideas I have picked up on this journey from others. I hope they will help you too!
Have a daily routine or structure so that you can plan your day.
Keep as many of the things from your normal routine the same in your new routine.
Create projects that you can focus on and look forward to.
Phone as many of your friends and family as you can for a chat. Speak to them face to face via Face-time or Skype.
Plan the things you want to do in the future so that you have something to look forward to.
Don’t think about next week or the week after. Only focus on the next 3 days.
Look out for all the positive videos and articles that people are posting on social media.
“Pursue your passions” and delve into your hobbies and the things that make you happy.
Do some form of exercise each day to keep on top of your mental health.
Don’t worry if you feel like you have not achieved that much. The most important thing is to make sure that you are happy.
When I look back on this period of my life, in years to come, I will be able to think that if I was able to get through that then I can get through anything.