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Cover image for An Autistic Programming Latina's take on COVID-19

An Autistic Programming Latina's take on COVID-19

alejandra_quetzalli profile image Alejandra Quetzalli ๐Ÿพ ใƒป6 min read

โš ๏ธWARNING: This post is likely to offend you if you don't understand self-deprecating humor or if you're unaware of your privilege.โš ๏ธ

How are all those words in the title even related? I know, it's a mouthful. But when I get passionate about something, I CAN'T HELP IT.

A lot of people are (understandably!) having major anxiety in relation to the current COVID-19 repercussions. But I am noticing a pattern here, that I do not like.

Mass hysteria.

I know, anxiety ain't something you can ever really ๐Ÿ’ฏ% control.. but you have to try, right? I mean, if you are not in charge of your mind, then who will be?

As a Latina (and all that being a woman of color means), survivor of all kinds of shit that makes my weaker brethren freak out about, programmer, and autistic human.. I am currently oddly enough not experiencing any anxiety about COVID-19.

Is this because I am an asshole? Unfeeling? Unaware of all the poor people ALL OVER THE WORLD that are losing pay due to cut hours?!

No.

I honestly have no idea WHY I am not feeling any anxiety in this current matter. Well, maybe I do. To some degree. I've trained my mind to not succumb to every stressful situation that comes up, seeing as life seems to be FULL OF THOSE FUCKERS. But seeing as I am not having this trouble that most of my peers are really suffering from, the least I can do is try to give back and help others right now on this whole COVID-19 mess.

As a human who has been diagnosed with Complex-PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and oh-so-many-more-fun-things ๐Ÿ˜›.. I wanted to write a blog post that helps peeps feel a bit better right now and share some helpful resources for managing anxiety.

This post will address the following main points:

  • (1) A Quick History Lesson
  • (2) How to Give Back to our Communities and the World right now
  • (3) How to determine what is actually worth you freaking out about now
  • (4) How to be Compassionate with yourself right now too

(1) A Quick History Lesson

I hate to offend you.. but this is not the first time in history a weird little thing blows up, and suddenly is affecting the WHOLE WORLD in all kinds of ways you didn't see coming!!

  • World World I (oh right, and then WWII was it? why stop at version 1, when you can go on to version 2 right?)

  • The Great Depression (my poor Polish grandfather barely survived this one, you have no idea the stories he shared with me before he died 2 years ago)

  • Sexual Trafficking (oh right, this still happens but let's just move on now, shall we?)

  • The Great Plague of London

  • The Holocaust

  • Mexican children being held in cages (oh dear, did I hit too close to home?)

  • Trump

Do you see where I'm going with this?

We all need to chill and accept that history does not skip generations.

Freaking out is not what we need from you right now. There are a lot of people who are being truly affected by COVID-19 today and you can re-channel your anxious energy into helping others less fortunate.


(2) How to Give Back to our Communities and the World right now

๐ŸฅžYou can give a 5-10% higher tip than you normally give to waiters.

People in the food industry are getting cut hours and will appreciate the extra cash to make ends meet!

๐ŸŒฎ Try not to whine if...

Your local taco stand served you a MINUSCULE amount of less rice/beans than they normally do. Have you asked yourself if THEY are making ends meet?

๐ŸงผDo you have a cleaning lady?

(Let's get real here... lots of us techy job people make good money and can afford one!) You do? Great! Ask her if she's been getting cancellations. (SPOILER ALERT: She has. They all have.) You can give back to her in one of two great ways!

  • Give her a HUGE tip for each cleaning until this whole COVID-19 mess clears up.
  • If you normally ask her to come twice a month, consider scheduling her for a few more times than you normally would. Your wife/husband will love you, and you will be helping out someone who is in the super lower side of the income bracket.
๐Ÿ™„Stop acting so damn privileged right now

Let me get this straight.. so apparently you DO know that hunger, lack of jobs, suffering AND mass illness strikes 3rd world countries all the damn time, since the beginning of time.. but NOW that it affected YOUR 1st world country, suddenly the world is about to end!

Right. Cool, I guess.

Well, I mean, no. That's a bunch of ๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ, and I think that deep down, we all know that.


(3) How to determine what is ACTUALLY worth you freaking out about now

Look, I get it. Some people can legit say right now that their elder relative is sick and they are terrified of what could happen. But for a lot of us right now, we are not ACTUALLY in danger of losing a loved one.
If this is the case for you too, then let's get back to what IS affecting you right now and talk about how to deal with it.

Some of us are already seeing it's harder to get some groceries and that apparently toilet paper is the new golden commodity.๐Ÿงป๐Ÿงป๐Ÿงป

But some people whose jobs just cut their hours are having LEGIT trouble right now. I wouldn't be surprised if suddenly all these folks are having daily panic attacks. The reality is that for you, COVID-19 is affecting your life, not to mention messing with your brain and anxiety levels.

It's ok! You are not alone. ๐Ÿ’• Which brings me to my last point..


(4) How to be Compassionate with yourself right now too

Like my therapist always reminds me ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚, I have to use the tools learnt in therapy to help me navigate the daily fuckery that life is. (Well, she makes it sound SO MUCH MORE POSITIVE than I do, but you get the idea.)

๐Ÿ› Here are a couple tools she's given me:
  • Think about what part of your body you are feeling the anxiety in. What does that anxiety feel like, in your body? Depending where it is felt the strongest, you can now focus on finding a solution to loosen you up in that area. (Example: Have you tried a Weighted Hot/Cold Neck Shoulder Wrap yet? You can get one here.)
  • Breath in and out deeply, 40 times. Count each one and do not let your mind wander. This long exercise is what therapists have discovered to be a long enough way to "reset" you, so to speak. Remember that when anxious, your breathing tends to accelerate. When this happens, you are losing oxygen to your brain!! So not good, my dear, beautiful human ๐Ÿ˜ข. Breathing exercises are key in moments like these.

And last, but not least...

๐Ÿ’กSurvival Tip #1:

Don't forget to be frugal and save your ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฐ, at least for a bit.

๐Ÿ’กSurvival Tip #2:

Are you a parent? Do you have some family members that unexpectedly you are hosting to help out in some way during this virus ๐Ÿฆ ๐Ÿฆ ๐Ÿฆ  mess? Take advantage of the quarantine to do something close and fun you've always "talked about doing" on when you all have "free time." You will be making memories during a unique time in history, that you can now all cherish in years to come. And I mean, get creative my dudes, dudettes, etc!! This is not the time to be lame.. TIME FOR PILLOW FORTS IN THE LIVING ROOM! SCAVENGER HUNT! GHOST STORIES! MAKE A BUNCH OF LOVE LETTERS FOR YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER (IF YOU LIVE TOGETHER..LOL) AND HIDE THEM THROUGHOUT THE HOUSE FOR THEM TO FIND!!

๐Ÿ’กSurvival Tip #3:

Are you stuck in a remote situation from your loved ones, due to the travel bans? I have no idea what that would be like, dear, beautiful human ๐Ÿ˜ข but you're not alone! You can use the internet to stay in close touch via video calls, pictures and texts to show them how much you care.


Hang in there, fellow humans,
~Alejandra๐Ÿ’๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ y Canela๐Ÿพ

Posted on Mar 14 by:

alejandra_quetzalli profile

Alejandra Quetzalli ๐Ÿพ

@alejandra_quetzalli

Alejandra is an AWS Developer Advocate. Her favorite topic is Cloud Robotics ๐Ÿค–, but she loves helping newer audiences get started on their cloud journey. (Her Service Dog is named Canela.)

Discussion

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I'm not diagnosed with any acronyms, but I would be surprised if I don't have a few myself (psychiatrist are not cheap), after about a month without human contact besides me shopping for food twice a month, I found out that: Social Distancing and Avoid crowds and standing near others is now recommended; has that made anxious? hell no. After all I've never been to fond of humans, I don't hate them or anything is like with fish. I don't dislike them, I just don't need to be surrounded by them.

And also, I'm from Chile, when generalized stupidity is a national sport. We have been for months being attacked by that stupidity to the point that people are asking for a communist government, you know, like Venezuela, Cuba or North Korea; I think people see those countries and say, I want that too. People burning the streets, banging pans on their windows, protests, tear gas everywhere. You know, dumb people doing their best. So a little pandemic is no biggie when you could be without any food in a year, making long lines just to get some food. Then people will blame the US, the fact that the earth is flat or vaccines for mind control. Fun fact 50 years ago we had a communist gov and everything went to hell, but no, we want the sequel, also those who where present back then are the ones that teach the younger batch of stupid people, so it requires a lot of effort to feel sympathy for old people in my country nowadays.

So yeah, anxiety for COVID-19? not much, not much at all.

 

ohh, and I just found out that I'm one of the minority that can't form mental images nor "see" memories, I spend my whole life so far thinking that "visualize this" or "imagine that" was figurative speech!, ok, that's it, I'm fine now...

 
 

As a human who has been diagnosed with Complex-PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and oh-so-many-more-fun-things

In a similar vein, I like to think of myself as an alphabet soup (ADHD/ADD, HF ASD, etc.).

 

haha! welcome to the FUN that these alphabet soups can be! ๐Ÿ˜‚

 

I dont like boxes and I think the last thing we need to do right now is start using them en mass in a crisis situation. We should identify ourselves by what we can do and how we can help each other and not be concerned with which of the "privileged" or "unprivileged" boxes we fit in.