A Gen Z Autistic College Student's Message of Hope on Conquering Fear of COVID-19
Updated: Apr 20, 2020
by Melissa Lushington
Verge of Independence Project Blogger
Message from Verge of Independence Project Blogger
Since the beginning of its outbreak, many Americans have scrambled around frantically due to the immediate spread of COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus. You can hear it from the media the many ways that people can protect themselves physically such as washing your hands, wearing masks, staying at home, and social distancing, which means physically distancing yourself from other human beings. What you don’t hear enough of, is anyone giving advice on how they can protect themselves mentally during this pandemic crisis. I guess it just goes to show how people value the human body more than the human mind. With the shutting down of sports, entertainment, restaurants, and anything that would involve public social gatherings could really mess with an individual’s mentality, in which it could cause them to have panic attacks and nervous breakdowns. Aside from the obvious advice of not watching too much negative news about the virus, the most important advice I would want to give, is to give yourself confidence in knowing that it will all be over soon.
As someone who’s on the lower end of the autism spectrum, my experience of going through this outbreak has been very overwhelming, wherein I do worry a lot about how long this coronavirus will continue to last. I’ve been worried about the well-being of my parents and loved ones because I obviously want them to be safe and alright, but I’ve also been extremely worried about myself. With all the isolations and demands for social distancing, I’ve been worried a lot how this could affect me mentally, emotionally, and physically. I worry that social distancing could cause me to convert back to my old habits of being physically, mentally, and emotionally isolated from everyone. Especially since I worked so hard and came a long way to break those isolated habits in the first place. Do any of you have those fears too? I understand if those thoughts and fears make you feel scared, but the one thing that I recommend you should do is give yourself some self-confidence in knowing that our current situation with the Coronavirus is only temporary. Tell yourself that this global health crisis is not going to last forever.
I want you to also remind yourself that you are strong, tough, brave, and you’re an incredible individual. Think back and remember everything you’ve been through in your life as an autistic individual. Think about everything that you have experienced since the day you were diagnosed with autism. You had your good days, your bad days, your better days, your worse days, even your many scary days, but through it all, you’re still here and you survived. Our journey through this Coronavirus pandemic will be the same way. We’ll have some good days, some bad days, some better days, worse days, and so many days that will feel very scary and terrifying. In the end, even though many people will die, other people will still be here, you will still be here, you will survive, we will survive. So be safe, be healthy, be encouraged, stay connected, and remember that you’re strong.