Autistic and confined (part 2): resting outside of the world’s busyness

[Foreword: I am merely sharing my experience, and I don’t think it invalidates the experience of others.]

I know that this confinement is for a serious and severe reason and I am aware of the negative consequences it has and will have when it ends.

I don’t have to go out and the world is calm so to me this is a welcomed, because needed, rest.
I don’t have anxiety, I live at my own rhythm, my mind is freer – even though I am not always here, as I said in my previous article.

The world before this was tiring and aggressive and I have a feeling it’s going to be the same afterwards, although it will most likely come back progressively, so I savour the calm even if I apprehend what will come after – for this but also for all difficulties that already exist and that will carry on. I am not centred on myself, occulting what others go through.

I perceived the appointments I had as black blocs in the planner I have in my mind, and I had a hard time freeing myself of this on the days I didn’t haven any, even though there were more days on which I didn’t have any.
And depending on what I had done during the week and my current state (which changes depending on internal and external causes) I had difficulties finding the energy to do things on my “free” days.

At the moment I organise my days around my energy levels. I practice yoga in the afternoon because that’s what works for me, I meditate everyday because I finally give myself that time, I try to do some housework every day, I went out once a week to get some fresh air without much anxiety (last time I didn’t have any), I’m getting back into writing, and some days I don’t do anything.

I don’t go shopping, my parents are the self-appointed family shoppers, so thanks to them I don’t have to suffer from the loud music in the supermarkets – even louder than before, apparently, as there aren’t enough people to muffle it. I could need a few hours to a day, depending on what else I’d done that day, to get over a shopping session (which I try to do rarely in big supermarkets, and I complete in my village).

When we talk about the lack of accessibility in the society, we tend to think about ramps for wheelchairs and other adaptations needed around the topic of movement of people in the public (and private) space – and we really need to make progress in that domain.
Neurodivergent people have other difficulties, amongst which some that are sensory related. Lights from neon is really tiring from me, and for others it’s unbearable.
Music short-circuits and “attacks” my brain – to the point of having had fits of crying and violence when coming home from shopping for years. Recently I cried during shopping because even with my (good) earplugs I could hear really well the music and couldn’t focus.
Smells can be difficult to bear for some (me included), textures as well (me, again).
I’m not even talking about difficulties to understand some instructions or informations.

We are “too sensitive” for the society in which we live, and yet regularly people who are not autistic, nor even neurodivergent, tell me that it is hard for them as well.
The difference is that their tolerance level is higher and that they won’t have a melt-down or a shut-down because of it. But it will show up in a more subtle way, through their bad mood for example. Maybe it’s harder to link the two because the effects are less visible, or to see it as a real problem. Yet it is one, for everyone but more specifically for us (neurodivergents), and I feel like making society accessible to everyone would benefit everyone.

We can see now that studies and work can be done remotely, yet many disabled and chronically ill people have seen any adjusting needed refused.
I know that in some cases it can be complicated, but I have the impression that in many cases it’s a refusal to adapt the situation. Disabled and chronically ill people are often seen as weighting on society, unproductive… when many have a lot to bring into the work place – and that we all bring something to society in general.

When you will come out, remember what it’s like to stay home because the outside world is inaccessible (and hostile) and think about the people of whom it’s the daily life. Remember the loneliness, the frustration… And remember that communicating and socialising online is as valid as face to face, and that we can do an “apéritif” or watching series together but remotely be it via phone, message or camera.

You will have understood that I’m quite fine with staying inside. I’m volunteering to stay confined. The only things that I’d like to add would be being allowed to walk on the beach, Sunday lunch and series with my mum, and seeing my partner, and it would be perfect.

Today we have been confined for 4 weeks and yesterday (13th of April) we have learnt that we would stay confined for another 4 weeks (until the 11th of May). I write it to know, when I’ll read those articles again, to remember. I wrote this article last week, at the same time of the previous one, and I admit that last night I had a moment of doubt. How will I go through those next 4 weeks? I don’t know, but I doubt what I said in this article will change.
I’m sending a lot of courage to all of us, whatever the situation we are in, and a lot of love.

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