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The Times of COVID in Montreal: An ASD Perspective

Dernière mise à jour : 10 mars

By Éric Caissie

When I first heard about the corona virus it was in late January 2020. I didn’t think it would become a worldwide health crisis though. Going through all the different opinions and concerns of people online and offline was pretty worrisome and a bit scary. For a person who likes to obey the rules and tries to be part of the solution and not the problem like me, living in downtown Montreal is not that easy.

When people started to react and go crazy with shopping, like pretty much everyone else we jumped on that train and got some reserves in case of emergency. Now I feel I have enough toilet paper to last me forever, I have some in my car, at my parent’s place and in my apartment. Because I live in a 3-1/2, I don’t have that much space and our fridge is like a ¾ size one, so it’s a bit hard to keep frozen and refrigerated foods. But we did it and we stacked up on non-perishable and cleaning supplies.

With the news being not that specific when COVID was beginning to spread, saying wear a mask, don’t wear a mask, businesses are closing, etc. It is hard to have confidence in whoever is giving advice. Like anybody, I have my own belief and opinions, but I think if everyone follows the rules it would go a lot faster.

Self-containment wasn’t that hard as I lost my employment in mid-January and didn’t have to go to work. Although, since so many businesses are closed, trying to network and find a job is pretty hard right now. Especially since I’m trying to pivot my career into something I actually might enjoy. I spend most of my time looking online for opportunities, writing music, updating my website, and taking little courses on Udemy in creative arts and business to help me jump in this new tech world we’re in.

Since I’m very busy with my hobbies and projects, my days fly by. I put in around 12 hours a day without seeing the time pass, then I eat and relax with a tv show. I can repeat this for a long time without feeling the need to go out. I know it's not the best, but I’m working on it. I wish the gyms were open as I’m in need of some good exercise.

On weekends I like to go to my parent’s place on the south shore. We use their backyard to see them while respecting the mandatory distances. We relax, enjoy the sun and make my dog Joey play and run.

Living downtown Montreal, I see people walking all the time even when COVID was at its worst peak and city-wide restrictions were in place. It made me realise how many people are different from me and really have the need to get out, or maybe some people just don’t care. Parks were full, tickets and fines were handed out to people not obeying the rules. I can understand if someone doesn’t have hobbies or is not taking courses or not working, they can go a bit stir-crazy, I wouldn’t know what to do all day if I didn’t have my projects.

I find that this is a perfect time to put everything on pause and reflect and learn something new, we don’t have that many chances in life to have that much time. Of course, I’m talking as a person who doesn’t have kids, I can’t imagine what someone must go through with kids in an apartment in the city.

Now stores are opening bit by bit and measures are being taken to enforce people’s safety. The lineups in Montreal are getting very long and it’s hard to stay at 2 meters from everyone when there is so much construction. At this time, I think everyone is being careful, but only time can tell what’s going to happen.

With self-confinement, the digital world got bigger, video chat apps such as FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, Google Hangout got a lot of attention and made everyone jump on the tech train and learn a few things at the same time. Some are working from home and are still on top of their game. I think a lot will change after the corona virus is over, the way we live and work.

I go out to parks now, sit on the grass and relax with the fresh air. It’s a nice change since the beginning of social distancing where we were being discouraged to even go to parks.

I feel that people on the spectrum think more about the consequences, it gives us more stress and makes us a bit more careful. I don’t like hospitals; I try to avoid them. In my 38 years, I had one blood test and I was alone with the nurse at a private clinic. I hate needles (even if I have tattoos, it’s not the same thing). It’s the pulling out something from my body that stresses me a lot. So, there’s chances that with Covid I might have to go to a hospital, and this is what I’m trying to avoid. With all the stories out there, some people were very sick, and some were not, it brings out a defence mechanism in me that I’d rather just stay away and be in control of my environment.

I don’t particularly know what’s going on in other people’s head, or what their thoughts are, but sometimes I wish I could just care less and enjoy.

It’s time to start going back out, being inside for a long period of time makes it easier for triggers to appear. Walks, healthy food and exercise is a good way to help stay in control. Step by step everything will get back to normal and “things will get better”.

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