- Take certain things I said in recent entries or comments with a grain of salt. I am
aware of the following things, even though it may seem otherwise because of how much stress I am under and how bad I am at wording things:
1) People are dying or might get sick because of the coronavirus and their safety is important right now.
2) The coronavirus situation is starting to improve a little in China.
3) The social distancing thing has been proven in some countries to be helpful in lessening the spread of the coronavirus - we're no longer just hoping
it will help. The only reason I haven't heard about it getting any better in the US is because the US only recently started doing it. Yeah, it doesn't help that at one point
this felt more like a "let's do this and hope it works but there's a good chance we're doomed anyway" sort of thing, and I still have leftover anxiety from that era. But I try to keep it under control.
Yes, I know that the fact that so many things I enjoy are being cancelled or delayed or may be cancelled is not as bad as if I couldn't find something I needed at the grocery store or if there was any chance of a loved one dying. But it still sucks. And I'd like it if it were socially acceptable to SAY that it still sucks.
I want this to be over soon for EVERYONE'S sake - for those who are afraid they may lose loved ones, for those who can't find what they need in stores because of all the shortages... AND for people with what you might call "first world problems". And everyone in between.
- As you probably know, I am autistic, and possibly obsessive-compulsive, and I have historically not coped well with sudden changes and uncertainty. When I'm faced with scenarios when anything changes or I don't know what will happen next, I tend to have meltdowns, and have more trouble wording things well than normal, and tend to overreact and catastrophize.
I've improved in this area over the years, once I started learning more and more ways to cope, but I still have meltdowns sometimes. And now I feel that most of my coping mechanisms are being taken away all at once, and the ones I have left don't work as well because they now remind me of the bad stuff that's happening.
Yes, it is true that the things that *I* have been stressed about, such as events and businesses closing down, are still far from being as bad from what others have been dealing with. But that does not change the fact that it's been very tough on me because it's the most stress I've
faced all at once in a long time.
It's hard for me to reassure myself that I've survived something this stressful in the past when I don't actually remember if I've ever felt THIS stressed out before, or how I handled it if I did. In every other situation when I remember being under a lot of stress and feeling like the world's coming to an end, there was always SOMETHING I could do to cope.
- I'm trying as hard as I can to avoid being irrational and overreacting to everything, but that has been very difficult. Especially because a part of me feels like I need
to overreact to things as a way to vent my feelings; to me, venting in this manner IS a coping mechanism for some reason, and one of the only few I have left.
I wish I didn't feel like I have to act like "THE WORLD IS ENDING, THINGS ARE NEVER GOING TO GET BETTER!" all the time, with no concern as to how insensitive it may sound, just to let enough steam out of my system to be calm enough for the rational part of my brain to get to say what it wants (e.g. "I know the world is going to get better eventually and social distancing is in fact going to help and will not last forever"). But, again, I'm running out of other coping mechanisms.
- Yes, it stresses me out that social distancing is now mandatory and things are getting cancelled. That doesn't mean I don't think social distancing will help (rationally, I know it will; when I say otherwise, that is just leftover anxiety from the couple of days when many people genuinely weren't sure). That doesn't mean I prioritize uncancelling everything over people's safety or over people being able to buy what they need. I just wish I knew if and when this would be over because the sooner we get to where we don't have to be stressed out constantly for multiple reasons at once, the better. For that reason, I don't think we should blame people for not wanting things to be cancelled.
- Rule of thumb: if you see me pointing to a news item or a tweet or something that might not be true and being like "This is definitely happening and this is bad!!", at least 80% of the time (95% if it's about the coronavirus), what happened was that the rational part of me WANTED to say "hey, I saw this news article, I know it could be false but I'm worried about what it'd imply if it were true, I want to know if it's true or false" but my anxiety wouldn't let me calm down long enough to phrase it that way. This is a subconscious habit that I've had since years before the coronavirus.
- When I say that I'm tired of hearing things like "coronavirus" or "social distancing" or "wash your hands" or anything of that manner and that these words and phrases are triggers for me, that does not mean that I think it is unimportant to talk about such things or take preventative actions. It does not mean I don't wash my hands. It does not mean that I want to censor anyone. It does not mean that I'm not glad that others are able to mention the coronavirus without getting depressed.
It just means that I would feel better if I didn't see these words and phrases all
the time, or at least didn't see them so much in places where I go to escape the news. And I'm sure I'm not the only one. That is why people to say to limit our exposure to the news (and why, in order to make this possible, I'm compiling a list of links to anything and everything I can think of on the Internet that does not reference the coronavirus
Yes, I do talk a lot in here about what will make me, specifically, feel better or worse. That's because I know that if I
felt better, I would be more able to stay calm in a crisis such as the one we're in right now. That would in turn make me a bit better at putting things into words without overreacting, which would make it easier for me to express my thoughts and feelings without being insensitive or offending anyone, which would make it easier to help calm others down. So, if I felt better, it'd become easier for me to help others feel better.
Does this entry make sense? I hope I'm not a bad person for what I said in this or any other entry or comment. :(
If you need someone to talk to, I'm here. It helps me feel better to have someone to talk to (as difficult as it sometimes is for me to express it), and it helps me feel better when I can comfort others. :)
I hope everything goes well for all of you. :)
EDIT: I'm gonna add one more:
Yes, I often say that the few indicators we have that things are getting better (the death rates decreasing in certain areas, etc.) don't count as proof that things are getting better, and that the only way I can be happy again is when it's finally safe to loosen the social distancing restrictions or things that have been cancelled or postponed (even ones that I don't normally care about anyway, like sports) finally end up happening.
That is because the news has been VERY contradictory about the coronavirus itself and whether it's getting better or worse. Is the death rate increasing? Is it decreasing? Is the recovery rate increasing or decreasing? Are these things getting better in one country but not another? Am I going to have to hear the term "social distancing" constantly for two months? Six months? A year? No two news articles can make up their minds in this regard. Also, I didn't follow the news about any other pandemic closely enough to have any reference point to compare this one to.
By contrast, things like sports, E3, movie/TV/video game releases, etc. either HAVE or HAVE NOT been postponed at any given moment - there's uncertainty about what'll happen to them in the future, sure, but at least we know what status they're in now
. With the possible exception of April Fools' Day, you're most likely not going to see a trustworthy non-satire news site claim that the NBA or NFL or something has already
resumed until it has indeed resumed.
So, THAT is why I am fixating on "are they saying yet that it's safe to uncancel these things?" as a measure of the state of the world. I'm autistic - I NEED for there to be certainty, and this is the most certainty I can get.