In the midst a pandemic, incredible measures are necessary.  Regardless of our personal struggles, these measures are imperative to support the health and well-being of everyone.  I am forever grateful to our front-line workers; their courage and strength will help us through this.   I truly cannot imagine the devastation of those affected by the virus.  To watch a loved one suffer, or succumb to this virus, far outweighs any complaints I many have during this time.  My complaints seem relatively insignificant in comparison to those who have been profoundly affected by this virus. 

One day, this trying time will be a monumental memory of history, a learning curve, a time to recognize and celebrate front line workers, and it will be a time to mourn all those that we lost due to the virus.  Having this understanding gives me strength, and puts my life in perspective.    Like many others, this family is struggling mentally with our current situation.

The one thing I know for sure is that isolation can cause or heighten anxiety, stress, and loneliness.  I am sure many people are searching for mental strategies on how to get through this challenging time.  Isolation has been a test for us, and I am not convinced the family would survive it, if isolation became the way forever.  It will not, I am hopeful of that!

Today I woke extremely early, perhaps it’s the ongoing anxiety of our current situation.  I am feeling exhausted.  I want my mom.  Yes, at 44, I still want a hug, some help, and a confidence boost from my mom.  Distanced by Provinces and circumstance, I miss her.  She usually comes for a visit every spring. My family is living in chaos.  Our order, structure and daily routines have been thrown out the window.  Everything we have worked towards in creating a balanced life, is up in smoke.  Trying to maintain some level of sanity with a new schedule of daily activities, on-line school, walks, and TV shows just is not cutting it mentally. We all can go through the motions physically, however, there is an apparent change in everyone’s mental status.  Everyone is nuts, particularly me, the challenges of autism are some to be reckoned with.

I am a pleaser, who just wants happy. Happy has become a tremendous challenge.  Particularly, with accommodating everyone’s needs.   Everyone is aggravated endlessly with their sensory irritants and I am finding they are irritating the shit out of me.  The house is a vibrating, verbal mess of irritability and sensory overload. 

How do I keep it together when everyone else seems to be falling apart?  Keeping it cool and having the ability to calm and moderate moods is a strength that is dwindling.  Today I am failing at motherhood.  I cannot keep up. 
One more online ‘History’ assignment that requires my help, and I am done!  I did not pay attention in history class 30 years ago, so is this pay back?   Not being able to go to school has really impacted all our lives.  School helps to provide us with a constant, safe, reliable routine, at least for a portion of the day, and majority of the week. My son, who is home from college, which going to, was his hardest transition to date, is now getting way too comfortable back at home.  We will be starting back at square one again when it is time for him to return.  Hopefully, we will be successful.  I must express my appreciation and gratitude for teachers. 

When one is irritated, they are all irritated.  There is war in my home, and no escape!  Well, that is not entirely true, I often lock myself in the bathroom or hang out in the garage for a little reprieve.  From the moment they wake, till the time they go to bed, they are fighting for their own sense of peace. There is desperation, we need to get back to the life we once knew. My, husband, a workaholic is feeling captive and in dire need of multiple tasks at one time.  He needs to be busy, mentally challenged and leave the house, even for a little bit. 

Our house has an open concept floor plan.  Noise is unavoidable, but it is the noise that is driving them crazy.  Any control left to contain their thoughts is gone.  My daughter is full of never-ending energy. Keeping her mind busy is a priority, but it also means that I get to listen to every bloody annoyance of hers.  Smells, words, moves, voices, the way I breathe, the way her brother blows his nose, food chewing, the volume of one’s phone or the TV, dogs barking, construction outside, lawn mowers, the lighting, breezes of fresh air, too hot, too cold, the unorganized fridge, ‘Betty’, the beloved vacuum,.. at every minute of the day she tells me it all.  Usually, I can block out some of the constant chatter (for survival) but with the walls closing in, it is getting harder.

My daughter has decided she is nocturnal, a child of the night.  My husband and I’s beloved intimate time is a memory of the past.  I cannot wait for school to start again just so we all can regain a solid routine, a regular bedtime, and some normalcy to our dysfunctional lives.  In hopes of disgusting her into going to bed earlier I told her that her newly preferred bedtime was interfering with our ‘naked time’.  She just about barfed and pleaded that I was kidding.  Laughing too hard, because I am immature, I was not able to keep a straight face.  My attempt was unsuccessful, she did not feel threatened and trust me, the thought of us walking around naked would usually be enough to keep her from coming out of her room ever again.  Chatting at our bedside about her love for our dogs at 12:30 am is not something we are up for.  We know they are cute.  Every night has become a weekend night for her.  Party on!  We are now planning to put a lock on our bedroom door. 

Recognized as the only one not on the spectrum in the household, ‘the minority,’ I too, am struggling with isolation, in my own quiet way.  Sometimes I feel that my feelings and needs go unnoticed.  I am the only one who craves affection and touch.  Since my family does not have the same emotional needs, I must verbally state how I feel, and what it is that I need to receive it.  With everything going on, I just haven’t had the energy. 

A final thought.  This home will survive the isolation and we will continue to do our part in curbing the spread of Covid.  It is my prayer that the number of patients fighting Covid have the strength to beat it, and for those who have lost someone, I hope they find the strength to carry on.  I look forward to a time when life as we knew it can resume.  Reach out to a friend, a family member, a professional, or even me if your mental health needs it.  You are not alone; we are in this together.