Robert is 22 years old and generally happy, but watching him change over the past ten months I worry about the long term impact of Covid-19 and lockdowns.
How anxiety has affected us
The first few weeks of the first lockdown were some of the most painful of our lives. Robert just sat with his eyes closed, making the most horrible noises.
He couldn’t understand why everything had changed and why he couldn’t do all his normal daily activities and see friends, all of which normally keep his anxiety in check and give him purpose and pleasure.
His anxiety was so bad his sleep patterns were severely disrupted, he often said “tummy hurts” and he got shingles - of which stress can be a risk factor.
We have tried our best to explain and have managed to create a new routine and he’s slowly adapted, but his anxiety is still high.
At times he seems overwhelmed and stuck, unwilling to leave his comfort zones, and has expressed desire for greater need for repetition in an attempt to feel some control and calm.
As we enter a period of transition I continue to worry, but I am so glad Autistica is focusing so much of its research on anxiety and mental health, providing practical and long-term solutions for Robert and families like ours.
Why we support Autistica
That’s why for many years we have supported Autistica’s research with an annual donation. I have seen the charity achieve so much for autistic people over the past few years. They have drawn the world’s attention to issues that nobody has ever addressed before, and through research they are finding solutions. Autistic people like Robert deserve the same rights in life as anyone else, and I can see that Autistica truly believe and act on that.