Covid-19 and my Autistic Shutdown

I wrote this last month. Then, it was just me. Now, it’s the human condition.

By Lynne Rhys

I’m in the middle of a major autistic shutdown.

It’s the first I’ve had since being diagnosed. I’ve had them before but for the first time I know what it is.

I stand at the bathroom sink. What do I need to do? Brush? Floss? Wash my hands? Put on deodorant? Take my meds?

Am I even going to work? It may as well be advanced calculus for all I can do with it. And so I just stand there because I’m stuck. Frozen.

I stand there for a good long while, and still nothing. So I go back to bed until I can figure it out. And after an hour or so, I’m able to decide on something and move forward, at least for a while.

COVID-19. It’s been utter chaos at work. My boss has been desperately trying to get permission to close the library so the staff can work from home. She and I did our best to minimize risk in the meantime, under constantly roiling circumstances.

My main job was to remain calm and reassuring, and I did that. In fact, I did it pretty well until we finally got permission to close.

But I held it together a day too long, and some other life stuff screwed up my routine even more.

One day too long, one thing too many, and here I am, stuck in neutral with the engine racing. This car isn’t going anywhere.

This is me, shutting down in place. But this, too, shall pass, if I’ll just lean into it for a while.

Lynne Rhys

Lynne is a librarian and nerd who was recently diagnosed as autistic at the ripe old age of 62.

Lynne’s blog: The Subversive Librarian

Header Image: WenofZen “Girl Hidden”

To see more blogs from autistic people and parents about Covid-19 click here.

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