Life Over Lockdown: Kevin Hanly

Kevin Hanly – Being autistic and living through a pandemic!!

COVID-19 has affected everyone’s life hugely everything we used do. It turned everything on its head and just gave us a right good shake! And yet, still months down the line we’re still unsure what the future will bring.

Going back to the middle of lockdown, I found it very tough going. Somehow I got through it day by day with the support of my family and a few friends. The Youth Work Tipperary Ability program encouraged my blogging. I did social media pieces around on my experiences of the lockdown. It wasn’t easy for me talking about my experience live on air but I was glad to have the opportunity to highlighted how it affected me living through this uncertain time being autistic.

Here is my interview on Tipp FM- 

I do think now we are going through a new sort of challenge with COVID-19.  We’re building our lives back together so we can live alongside this virus in a safe way. I ‘m it hard to keep positive just because there is not much certainty out there. I get comfort from routine and planning ahead,which is impossible to do at the moment. Some days I wake up and I feel okay and do my best to put a structure in place for my week. It sometimes that goes to plan and sometimes it doesn’t which can cause stress and worry.

My mental health has also taken a bit of a battering, Everything that I did to keep me happy and keep my mind in a good place has been put on pause. The social aspect has disappeared from my life as a big part of that is going to GAA games and meeting up with friends that has been one of the hardest things to get my head around. One worry is about all my social skills that I have learned before this pandemic. Will I still be confident to be out socialising again when ever the day comes?

Every day is tough. Sometimes I get a anxious if I’m out and about with all these new restrictions but I try my best. When it’s all a bit too much I just try and tell myself “just take it bit by bit.” I managed it to this point by taking it day by day so that’s what I do to keep my head above the water. I’m good with the social distancing and hand washing. I wouldn’t love wearing a mask, but I found a way to cope with it. I won’t lie I’ve had ups and downs like us all. This whole situation hasn’t been fair for anyone. I have no doubt the day will come when we can travel to different countries and be able to go to big matches in Croke Park or Semple Stadium again. I know for me I’ve only so much patience I just hope will get clarity on our lives again sooner rather than later.

When I sit back and think about it, I think of moments like this one over a year ago. We won the U20 hurling all Ireland final and I was allowed into the dressing room to get a photo with the cup and the lads. It was a proud moment but it just puts it in context how one year can change everything. I have really surprised myself in the ways I’ve adapted. It’s not easy for sure, but I have just try my best in these uncertain times. That’s all any of us can do.

Hopefully I’ll be back helping out with Tipperary football, supporting the hurlers and following my local club Solohead. I’d love to be back with a smile on my face and all this time to be a distant memory. I’m sure this time will come and I know I’ll certainly not take any small things for granted again!!

 

As the quote goes “hope is like the Sun which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us”

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