David O’Connell: One Year Since Covid

one year covidDavid O’Connell is an autistic adult and self-advocate living in Mayo. He wrote the following blog reflecting on the year that’s passed since the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions nationwide. 

It’s been tough at times, not being able to meet up with friends and hug them lots.  I had a few weeks of bad anxiety, where I would feel anger building up inside and bouts of crying.   When I go through the worst periods of anxiety at any one time, it lasts for up to a week. I’d also ring up a few friends, which isn’t the same as physically meeting up with them, along with a few mental health helplines.

Lockdown seems like it’s been going on forever, but the best things about it is that I’m working half days in my families business in Ballina, which pre-covid, I used to work 5 full days there.  It’s less stressful working half days, instead of full days.  I also get out walking close by my house. During the worst times, I’d go out walking nearby for up to 2 hours and I kick any debris in my way on the footpaths and at the side of the road.  I’d also bang my hand off signposts, which isn’t the best. 

Foxford St Patrick's Day
The annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Foxford, one of the highlights of David’s year, has unfortunately been cancelled for the second year running due to public health guidelines

One year since covid, I’m thinking about St. Patrick’s Day. Normally, on St. Patrick’s Day, I get to take part in a local parade in Foxford, a 10 minute drive from my hometown of Ballina.  This is with a walking group based in Foxford, who go out every Sunday to different places within the County.  However, this didn’t happen on this day last year.  I also usually watch the Dublin parade on RTE 1 and I really missed it last year. I was surfing the Internet late that night, wondering the streets of Cork City on Google Maps.  Unsure of how long the 1st lockdown would be…

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