~ 4 minute read
Like the all of Canada, I was affected when COVID-19 officially arrived and started wreaking havoc. And while I didn’t really notice during the first few months, I really had my eyes opened to the situation we were in when the government gave the order to shut down the majority of businesses to help contain the virus. That was when it really sank in that it was a serious issue.
When the realization hit, I was stricken with fear. What was going to happen? Will life be over as we know it? Will I ever do the things I loved ever again? And I’ll admit, when I had that thought, I truly believed that I would never get to do those things again. Never go to the mall, never eat a big plate of nachos at Turtle Jacks, never spend some quiet time at Indigo with lemonade and a brownie, all of that, never again. And the thought of it devastated me. The worst was when I knew my trip to Vancouver was going to get cancelled due to what was going on, and I had to cancel my days off. It was devastating as I hadn’t gone on a trip in years and I had wanted to go out west after hearing about it from a family friend.
What should also be of note is that I also have OCD and anxiety. And those certainly weren’t helping me either with what was going on, as they made me feel worse about myself.
I spent the first few days angry, but not saying anything about it.
As a result, I spent the first few days angry, but not saying anything about it. Luckily, since I work in retail for an essential service, I was still allowed to leave the house and go to work. And I fully believe that was a big help to me, as I could still get out for something, and I was dealing with all those bad feelings of what the lockdown has cost me. But at the start, I admit working in retail during this time was a nightmare. People were asking for things that were never in stock such as hand sanitizer, customers were unhappy in general about the shortage, and the managers were stressed out, trying to keep everything under control.
Eventually, the stress got to me, and I ended up having an argument with my mom on how I was supposed to ‘suck it up’ and how I had been feeling the last few days. When I calmed down, apologized and spoke to her and dad again, we were all able to understand that I was feeling stressed out about the whole thing and we needed to figure out how we were going to get through this hard time.
The next day, I went to work. My mom and dad immediately started trying to get in touch and book an online appointment with the doctor who had been helping me learn how to deal with my OCD and anxiety. I also started to write down my thoughts and feelings in a journal to help me get my angry feelings out every day. A few days after, I started to feel better as I was starting to get my feelings out, and my parents were often encouraging me, saying that there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
Soon after, I was having online appointments with my doctor every few weeks. She listened in a non-judgmental fashion that allowed me to express what I was going through and made me feel better and understand I shouldn’t be ashamed of myself as I was a good person. She also encouraged me to keep on writing as it was helping me feel better. I’ve kept it up until now, where I now write every three days.
As for work, it did get better for me there as well. I tried my best to understand that the business was going through a hard time, and kept doing my part of the job, whether it was coming in at night or telling customers that we don’t have hand sanitizer. As the weeks went by, things got better as we were able to stock the things people needed and I started working days again since more people were coming in. We did make sure to practice caution as well, such as hand-washing every 30 minutes, providing facial masks and taking temperatures before going out onto the floor.
Slowly, but surely, things started to reopen. I was able to go out to a local comic shop at first, then to Indigo as the world slowly started to reopen itself to the people. Then after a few months, I was finally able to do what I loved again, with a mask on, practicing social distancing and using hand sanitizer first, of course!
But best of all, if things go alright, I will be able to go out west after all in the coming weeks.
I know things are going to be alright.
Mom and Dad were right about the light of the end of the tunnel, because I feel like I’ve reached it and I know things are going to be alright. We just need to stay smart and stay safe so we don’t end up back where we started. And I do admit, there is concern about that since everything is reopened and everyone thinks the whole thing is over. They think they can just run out and go crazy, that nothing will happen.
Reality is, things have changed. We have new laws put down to make sure we stay safe, and the issue won’t go away until we have a vaccine.
But hope is there. And I understand that. Even in the darkest of times, life finds a way to continue. That’s the biggest lesson I can take away from everything that has happened.
About Amanda Strapp
Amanda Strapp is an aspiring journalist and autistic self-advocate who attended Sheridan College’s Print Journalism program. She currently works as a cashier and shares her experiences on the job as well as other interests and musings on her blog, Amanda’s Tales. Amanda has written a number of articles covering events for different community agencies, including Autism Ontario, and more of her work will be featured here.
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