I decided to post the French and English versions of this article separately to facilitate reading but I will carry on doing double posts for shorter, or lighter, reads.
[Foreword: I am merely sharing my experience, and I don’t think it invalidates the experience of others.]
We have been officially confined (in France) for three weeks now. I know some people count differently, following schools closure for example, but the general confinement was decreed as starting on Tuesday 17th of march.
The previous weekend I was watching the various announces and suppositions worriedly.
On one hand because I hadn’t done any “big shopping” – i.e. that last me for a long time so that I don’t have to go out – in quite a while since I was planning on going away, and I hadn’t been to do some “small” shopping (in the village) in a while because I was a bit sick and thought it was better to wait.
On the other hand because my parents were abroad – not far – and were supposed to come home on the 17th. They crossed the border without any problems.
All the messages I saw were calling for people to stay home so the idea of going shopping was stressing me out. I didn’t think I was really at risk but the idea that I could somehow carry the virus and spread it, contaminating other people, is worrying me.
My mother and I went shopping on the Wednesday, in shops empty of people but where we could still find what we were looking for, which helped me relax partly.
The second step has been to stop reading everything I could on the topic at the point of spending my days on the phone, which wasn’t really nice nor good for my mood.
I started by switching to a game on my phone, then I re read a series (I’ll talk about it later), and I would like to talk to you about the consequence of this today.
The series in itself isn’t important as it is a process I have observed quite a few times before.
I read a series of books, I dive into its world… and I end up writing in my head or on paper / the computer spin-off stories in which I’m the heroin. So far, it’s quite classical : how many are we to have done that with Harry Potter, for example?
It becomes potentially overwhelming (intrusive?) because I live a double life in parallel. I am here doing the everyday things – feeding the cats, loading up the washing machine, cooking … – and at the same time I am in that other world.
I can end up looking into space for a while because I am simply not here.
The thing I appreciate, however, is that I see myself capable of doing things. Even when seeing me autistic, anxious, and with all my brain’s specificities, in those stories I manage to do things. I don’t necessarily save the world – I am not the main character of the main story – but I lend a useful hand to the good guys.
I’m still as socially awkward as usual but I manage to have repartee and talk back to people (only sometimes, let’s not get carried away).
My strange outlook on life becomes an advantage, and even my special interest – spirituality in a broad sense – enables me to have important skills.
I have the theory that in any world where there is magic or similar the capacity to perceive beyond what is seen, to meditate etc. can be transposable or transformable. Meaning that if I was to land in Harry Potter’s world, I would be able to do certain things because I have developed a certain perception of things (understand: energy).
What makes me strange in this world becomes what helps me find my place in that world.
I also think that this helps me work on my creativity: I rewrite multiple times scenes, try out different dialogues, think about the context etc. In fact, what I need to do to write fiction (on hold). But it’s also something that can help me in my life in this world.
Autistic people often need scripts to be able to handle social situations and I wonder if what I do in my head could be similar to it.