There is much we, as individuals, cannot control. I am sure you can come up with your own long list of things that are out of your control. During times when you feel out of control, like now during the COVID-19 pandemic when there are so many unknowns and all of the rules of engagement have been turned upside down, I have found it helpful to switch mental gears and focus on the things I do have control over. I hope this idea is inspiring for your own thought process, not only now, but as a life practice. I emphasize that it is a practice and will not come easily at first. I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist or therapist; just a person trying to figure out how to get through difficult times, like many of you.
Several months ago, when we all first learned of the onset of the mysterious and tyrannical COVID-19, many of us were in a state of confusion, shock and fear as our Federal government, State and local governments and all of our societal, financial and religious institutions and businesses began to strategize. In each of our homes, we had to strategize and adjust nearly every aspect of our daily lives. For many these changes were and have remained overwhelming, and rightfully so.
Not only do we have to cope with all of the “normal” stressors and challenges but now even our routines and way of life have changed. For individuals diagnosed with Autism and their families these changes can be even more unsettling.
When I started thinking about these stressors and challenges, I felt myself becoming even more anxious. Then I took a step away from the anxiety, a big giant step away, and I saw that my anxiety was largely based on a feeling of being out of control. True, I could not control many things, but I could control my response to feelings of loss, loneliness and uncertainty in the present. I decided then and there to regain some of the power that this crisis and life events were trying to steal from me; that decision was the first thing I could control.
I began a daily practice named “You Are in Control” and began to post once per day on our Instagram page @fiddleautism. My hope is to inspire you to look at your life and focus on the things that you can control and in doing so, take back your power from anxiety, fear and defeatism. I will share a few of my own here with you, and I gratefully welcome your sharing your ideas on @fiddleautism too.
Here are a few of my daily entries:
- You Are in Control: You have the power to become more self-sufficient and increase your skill set.
- You Are in Control: Isn’t it fantastic to admire others for their talents, selflessness, creativity…and more? Tell them!!
- You are In Control: Pamper yourself, take care of yourself, take the time…it’s your time to take.
- You Are in Control: There is beauty blooming right in front of you and have the power to see it and enjoy it.
- You Are in Control: You decide how to play the hand that is dealt to you.
Perhaps the ways we live are changing, and will be changed forever, but you can determine how those changes impact you for better or worse. Remember, you are not alone, your friends, colleagues and family are here for you during this pandemic and beyond.
Linda J. Walder is the Founder and Executive Director of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation established nearly 20 years ago as an all-volunteer run organization focused on adult Autism. The vision of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation is for a world of acceptance that values each individual diagnosed with Autism with the hope that each person feels joy and support in attaining meaningful accomplishments throughout their life.