Finding out about the COVID-19 lockdown scared me terribly because I knew I’d have to deal with it by myself. With my Asperger's I'm more capable and independent than a lot of others but I think everyone with any kind of special needs should have access to community support whenever they need it. Especially during a national state of emergency.
I had no options of having anyone to share my ‘bubble’ - unless you count my cat.
I just started a new job as a teacher aide at a primary school in the special needs unit. I miss getting up and going to work and feeling like I’m accomplishing something. I also do a hip hop dance class that I’ve been attending for quite a few years. Since the schools closed so has the dance studio, and it has broken my heart not being able to go.
I also usually go to the library every day to use the Wi-Fi. It’s been really hard not being able to do that. I’ve had to fork out quite a bit of money to get unlimited data on my phone.
I was supposed to go to Napier for Easter. I had to cancel my trip and stay home. Celebrating Easter alone was awful.
One of the hardest things about this whole thing is being alone. I haven’t been able to have any visitors at all. I miss hugs SO much. I am a very ‘touchy-feely’ kind of person. I need physical contact to feel right. I’ve felt some kind of hole inside. Until I’m allowed to hug my friends again I don’t think that hole will be filled. And I think that’s really sad.
I have REALLY missed being around my family. I know that being around the same people all the time, with no ‘escape’, would be extremely frustrating and challenging. Honestly though, I would give what those people have in a heartbeat. At least you can go for a walk or bike ride every day to get the break you need. In my case though, any interaction I have with anyone else has to be from a distance – which really sucks.
Emotionally, I haven’t been that great. I’ve had to distract myself to keep me from crying all the time. I’ve had some days where I can’t stop crying. Where ... the more I’ve tried not to cry the more I’ve cried.
I can have a relatively good day. Feel OK ... and be doing something enjoyable. But then, I’ll get a strong reminder of what’s going on. Whether it’s a media article, or something someone says ... and my heart breaks again. It’s been a super difficult process. It’s not anything I ever want to go through again.
I would like to see the introduction of Accessibility Legislation so that people with access needs are not isolated, even more than they are already, when there is a national state of emergency.
This is my access story, it is one of many. I'm sharing it because I want a law that puts accessibility at the heart of an inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand.