We need to talk about Coronavirus

In a perfect world, this would be my first and last post on coronavirus, yet unsurprisingly, I don’t think this will be the case.

Normally, I love the news. I watch RTÉ News 6:01 nearly everyday. If it is summer, and I am staying up late, I will watch BBC Newsnight and Question Time. I also love reading newspapers such as the Guardian and the Irish Times. I watch American late-night and satirical shows such as The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Yet recently, I have stopped watching any sort of news media, I miss it, yet this constant talk of COVID, has an awful affect on my mental health.

Being Autistic, I live with emotional dysregulation, this means regulating my emotions is very difficult and I can have more severe emotional responses to something that might not trigger another person at all. The lack of certainty with this current crisis, makes managing my anxiety a herculean task. When my anxiety is triggered to certain level, I feel upset, this leads to a meltdown. Meltdowns for me are a common emotional response, nothing really out of the ordinary, they usually involve a lot of crying and general ‘letting it all out’. However if I experience too many meltdowns, they can take a toll on my mental health.

Although I still suffer from regular frustration and anger and worry during this crisis, the thing that has been the biggest help to me has been avoiding watching news and reading articles about it. At the moment, the best thing for me has been to follow the rules, get my school work done and live in the day to day. This has not been easy, as I like a sense of certainty yet one of the best distractions has been movies and TV. I have Netflix, and I recently got into Queer Eye. It is a brilliant show to watch, as it displays normal life in such an uplifting manner. After much convincing, my mum got me Disney+. I have found myself watching loads of Marvel movies. I never used to like Superhero films, yet now I love them, they are entertaining and fun.

In the media, there has been so much focus on how the elderly are coping in this crisis, yet in some ways I think this virus has been particularly cruel to young people. We are at a stage when are bodies are at the strongest they will ever be and we need to make the most of that time to experience the world and to live our lives to the fullest. Being forced to stay inside and to avoid meeting people is in direct opposition to these ideals, and feels like a precious waste of our time. On top of that, people who are Autistic and/ or have mental health issues, have to cope with either a different routine or a total lack of one; reduced services, that can be particularly hard for people who struggle to communicate over social media, and a massive load of uncertainty.

If I had a magic wand, I would wish the coronavirus away and take us all back in time to January so we can live out the past few months the way we had intended to. Whilst sadly I feel this scientifically impossible, I can do part to not make the problem worse. As a new blogger, I am commited to making sure that any information in posts I write about the virus is accurate. I am also commited to keeping posts about the virus limited to one a month, we all have a vague idea of what is going on, we don’t need an extremely under-qualified teenager blabbering about it every week. Instead of doing this, I intend to keep my posts focused on pop culture, books, informative pieces on Autism and general things about me.

In the comments, feel free to let me know how you’re coping with all the shenanigans.

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