I’m feeling much more hopeful as of late, ever since I got fully vaccinated! But I think back to when this whole COVID challenge started, and the biggest thing that sticks out to me is the fear of potentially regressing in regards to my sensory accommodation build-up. I was so accustomed to my “get-up-and-go” lifestyle that I had worked so hard to achieve. It took me years of therapy to help me be comfortable in social situations. To have it snatched away from me for a year left me with lingering doubts as to how I would react when it would eventually start back up again.
That fear sort of became a reality when I found myself going through a panic attack in my apartment after a socially-hectic day (which evolved into a socially-hectic week). I also like to think it was the build-up of everything the year 2020 threw at me that I never fully allowed myself to emotionally let out. But what I found after I got through that week was a confidence and assurance that the worst was behind me, and that it was all up-hill from there…and it has been! Going through that experience allowed for a clean slate to leave the year’s missed opportunities behind, and to look forward to a brighter future of greater social growth.
Yes, I missed the friendly sentiment behind hugs, but with my autism, I also missed the physical compression that alleviated the tension that my anxiety inflicts upon me. I mentally and physically NEED hugs! Besides the reopening of all social opportunities, including theatre, my greatest excitement in being fully-vaccinated now lies in being able to hug my equally-vaccinated family members and friends. This past year has changed me, and for the first time, I’m starting to see how it changed me for the better.