1. It helped me realize I’m almost certainly autistic. When I finally got the chance to sit with myself I realized how long I’d been masking without even realizing it- I’d go to school (which was/ is very difficult for me) and then come home and shutdown/ meltdown every night. When I wasn’t being forced to cater to my peers/ society for the big chunk of time that was quarantine, I could actually figure out who I was!

  2. seeing people, even self-described introverts, have emotional breakdowns after less than a month of not being surrounded by other humans. big warning sign that maybe something is different about me. two months, three months, just sitting there waiting for isolation to become a problem

  3. this. I learned so much about myself with all the extra time we had (still kinda have in some ways). I also found out I was asexual during quarantine so that was quite a trip lol

  4. I could’ve written this exact thing about myself! And you know what really suck and I’m struggling not to give into? Bitterness and anger. I’ve always had this. It’s been obvious, but I’ve been dismissed or ignored. It’s been a long road to get here. I’ve sought help with professionals but they viewed me only through a mood disorder lens. I was finally diagnosed with ADHD a few years ago. It took really advocating for myself and being alone with my husband and kids and being away from the office that I could finally see myself clearly, and my doctor really saw that, yes, I do have the issues I claim to have. I need quiet to work but I’m also terrified to go back to work.

  5. I will never wear uncomfortable work clothes again. I didn’t realize how uncomfortable I had always felt. I had uniforms as a kid, so couldn’t be demanding about what I wore. So, I just kept dealing with it. I also am not trying particularly hard to be fashionable. Simple, comfortable, repetitive.

  6. The struggle is real: spend more time and energy and money shopping trying to find clothing that fits OR give in and wear the first thing that zips/buttons and isn’t offensive, but will take 5% of your life away every time you wear it?

  7. I never put this into words but one of my MAIN workplace fears when I graduate is actually having to wear uncomfortable clothes, every day, for 9+ hours. In my previous office jobs, I remember wearing more comfortable dresses that happened to be more revealing… I also remember supervisors chewing me out for being “inappropriate” and “unprofessional.” They thought I wanted attention but I was really just trying to get away from the dang itch of fabric.

  8. I'm being promoted and getting an office to myself when we go back this summer, so I stupidly thought I'd "reward" myself by looking for new work clothes. I'd forgotten how much I hate shopping, and why. This is going to be terrible. My last job didn't really care if I wore leggings and tops that (mostly) covered my butt (that work environment was terrible in almost every other way possible for me, though), but my boss is firmly in the leggings aren't appropriate work attire camp, so finding something relatively comfortable that fits and doesn't offend my eyes is proving difficult. Every store I used to rely on for work clothes is full of the most ridiculous crap right now, and that's before we even get to whether I could tolerate wearing it for 10 hours in one go.

  9. I lost my ability to mask or tolerate bullshit. I have become much more scatterbrained, maybe ADD. I also have less of a filter and say even more weird things. Who knew that was possible?

  10. Hiya! 45 here and I’m seriously wondering the same about myself. I was diagnosed ADD only 6 year ago and know that it’s likely part of the spectrum too. Question. What led you to getting diagnosed? The comments like OPs and others are just way too spot on for me. Edit: I love your user name! Signed - another kid with grey hair

  11. I agree with you. I also realized I was autistic and was diagnosed in 2021, after realizing I masked almost full time in 2020. It was an illuminating quarantine, lol.

  12. I bought a new car in early 2020. I put the 600th mile on it to see my therapist yesterday for the 3rd time in as many weeks. That's a hint of how it's gone for me so far.

  13. It’s like trying to affix a necklace clasp in the mirror. Everything is backwards, and you know everything is backwards, and before you move you’re like “ok it looks left so I should go right” and then when you finally try to move it’s STILL wrong.

  14. It made me more okay with how different I am and less okay with how much I need to squish myself to fit in. To the point where I vehemently refuse to continue to squish myself. I think I'm okay with just not fitting in now. I don't want to fit in. Everything is gross lol

  15. I think the stress has made my adhd symptoms a thousand times worse. Truly feel like I’ve had a brain injury some days and I swear it wasn’t always like this.

  16. It’s what made me recognize I was autistic and seek a diagnosis. I didn’t mind quarantine. I have a husband and child but no close friends so mostly just saw others at work where I mask all day. I don’t think I realized just how much I was masking until I didn’t have to do it for a year and then I went back in person and that’s where the trouble began. I am so much more drained from masking now because it’s like I had to relearn to do it and realized how much I don’t like it. However, I do love my job, which is extremely well paying and secure, so I’m working with a therapist, trying to book an assessment, and find ways to have more energy and down time in my life.

  17. I’m definitely a lot more introverted than I thought I was, and I’ve definitely become more selective of who I spend my time with because some of my friends have not taken the pandemic seriously and I don’t want to put myself and the ones I love at risk. One thing hasn’t changed I HATE crowds and since the height of the pandemic to now I still hate them. I’ve most definitely become more hyper-aware of my traits and how I present myself in public at work and with people I’m not very close with, and I have improved on masking (which I know isn’t a good thing). I, like you, OP also need a lot more downtime than I realized and time to recharge my social battery.

  18. It did. Quarantine made me take a good look at myself. The fact that I didn't like open office life and if I went back, I'd lose myself. I'd have to mask constantly again. After coming back from quarantine, and a month of giving it chance again, I went to work to change jobs. I am so much happier where I am now. I have my own office space and an understanding boss now.

  19. Before pandemic, I'd have entire "bed days" a few times a month. Now I just realize I was burnt the hell out and those days were the only way to relax my overworked nervous system and feel safe. And not mask for once.

  20. Lot of soul searching and literal searching which pushed me to get an assessment in Jan this year. Actually a friend of mine brought it to my attention, because they and their husband got assessed. Both were dead on, 100% ASD.

  21. I cried today when I read a tweet thread about autism in the workplace and one of the tweets mention how autism can cause so exhaustion. I felt that so hard, how exhausting it is to mask and to just try to deal with all the sensory input and social dysfunction in the workplace, the politics and expectations which we can never meet because they are an undercurrent we cannot read unless someone informs us of what is going on. Working at home helps, but not being able to get a job in the first place is even more stressful, but all the downtime to rest has helped...except for all the stress caused by the financial fall out from the Great Recession, the Pandemic, and the last administration's bully tactics. Guaranteed employment would be lovely, if I could just work at home and not have to worry about interacting with others...the rough part about working at home. I don't want people to see my face on zoom, I don't want to deal with personal interactions...and I definitely wish I could just bypass the interview in the first place because I suck at marketing myself and trying to sell myself from the perspective of the company. I can't put myself in another person's head, unless I read a book.

  22. I feel this right now. I'm on the verge of quitting my toxic job. It's starting to feel just like it did a little before I had what I thought was a nervous breakdown 6 years ago, from a different crazy job. Ugh.

  23. Lockdowns were one of the best things that ever happened to me. Turns out, I was so burnt out and depressed from life that I really needed lockdown to recover. Now we are going back in office next month and I'm so upset about it. I used to come home and stare at a wall for an hour just to... Process?

  24. I realised how much I love being alone & having quiet time to myself. I really didn’t mind quarantine at all. I have also realised how much I dislike my profession since it involves so much talking, going around and around in circles…it’s so tiring. I am now looking at changing careers, even at 41…

  25. I discovered that people understand my friendliness and get my jokes a lot better when I am wearing a surgical mask on my face. Not being able to see my face below my eyes somehow makes strangers (and acquaintances) perceive me as friendlier, nicer. I have no idea why or how, other than maybe the mask covers my resting bitch face? It's disheartening.

  26. Me too. I realized that I don't enjoy 90% of the human interactions I have. Most people are annoying, whiney, insane, liars, manipulators... none of those seem like opportunities to me. :)

  27. I like masks because then I’m not constantly having to remind myself to smile or have normal facial expressions in order to not look “angry”.

  28. I don’t think the quarantine was the part that changed me because I was pretty much a home body before besides enjoying going out to eat occasionally or going shopping but living through a giant pandemic where so many people are literally insane and all the political stuff has definitely given me a type of PTSD

  29. I'm not diagnosed, but my lasting effects are def there. I can't tell what my real personality is. I don't know what I want in life anymore. I'm seeing ppl in a different light, which is very confusing to me. I've lost friends, my ambition went down. I've realized how much I relied on perfectionism in different aspects of my life to the point where the life I thought I could live is impossible.

  30. I can relate. I have a lot of tag-along relationships where I was always there to "suck a social dick" or else I had no value. I dumped all those relationships in quarantine unless I need them for some other purpose like work.

  31. It has lowered my tolerance for demands made on my time, my willingness to mask, my willingness to work on-site when there's no need to, and my willingness to put up with people who add no value to my day.

  32. Found out I don't need nearly as much social interaction to feel content as I thought I did. I can find plenty of things to keep busy with right on my own property. I love staying home.

  33. I've lost all my tolerance for anything remotely complicated. This manifests in ways like: ordering everything from Amazon to avoid malls, wearing yoga/stretchy pants 24 hours a day (and thus giving up on pajamas), fewer weekly showers, switching my therapy practice to 100% telehealth (doing counseling online or by phone), no longer wearing any jewelry and probably other stuff I can't think of right now.

  34. Oh. Yes. Same. And online, my patience for web interfaces with unstoppable slideshows and swoopy video players and stylish fonts so spindly you can't read them and in-your-face WANT 15% OFF? popups is through the floor. You're going to make it difficult for me to read your content by making stuff move around the edges so I feel sick? Or by triggering my startle reflex and covering the thing I'm reading? Or by making the text literally unreadable? Got it, you don't want my attention or my money. Bye.

  35. It made me realize how tired I am, too. Everything being sort of heightened made me realize what kinds of jobs I can no longer do while I'm still in the end stages of a horrible burnout. I realized how much time I need for simple rest, quiet, relaxation, and unmasking. I realized my life has to change in some significant ways if I want to be safe, housed, and working for the rest of my life. I'm trying now to relearn and practice how to mask enough that I can interview well and get a job that will support me, but just enough so I don't end up in burnout again.

  36. In my case, it turned my mental health so bad that I went into the hospital, where I met a person who is friends with several others on the spectrum, and we talked and it opened my eyes. So, without quarantine and this, I would still be heavily masking and push through everything, while now I understand myself better and have a partner who even helps me a lot - I recently got noise cancelling headphones because I have a lot of auditory sensory issues.

  37. I was saying the same thing to one of my friends the other day. On the one hand, a whole year of more or less complete isolation made me realise that I need more social contact than I thought, but at the same time it's really lowered my social stamina. Or my stamina for pretty much anything, to be honest.

  38. Lost my ability to focus on my job due to feeling very disconnected from it once I started working from home. Executive function issues increased dramatically.

  39. Yes, I actually really enjoyed quarantine as I’m sure a lot of us here did! I had 6 months plus off work at like 70% pay and it was amazing. I read tons of books and actually made time for ‘self care,. Home schooling with my son was slightly stressful but man, I wish we could go back! It’s made me realise the futility of the 9-5, getting back into my work routine has been so hard. I’m overeating & drinking in the evenings to cope and I’m just exhausted. The cost of living crisis in the UK means that we are working just as hard for less. It’s fucking depressing.

  40. Yes. I started realizing how autistic I actually am. Going back out and trying to be somewhat normal is hard. I feel like before covid when I had to interact with the public I had a certain degree of normalcy about me and how I came off to people. Now I feel overwhelmed, jumpy and like I've lost some of my social skills that took YEARS of practice.

  41. I realized how nice it is to be alone and have quality alone time. i got diagnosed summer 2021 so its been a wild ride. But im actually kind of thankful for quarantine but at the same time scared to when everything goes back to normal. im studying at uni atm and have been studying via zoom. i cant even imagine being in school every single day in the future... i dont know how i will cope with it

  42. i agree completely about the rest and downtime thing, it made me aware of how much more in control i felt when i had multiple days in a row to myself to do whatever i wanted. my mental health was the best it has ever been when i was in quarantine, not working, got to practice my hobbies, and had my days to myself. unfortunately i can't afford to not work, so i think back at those times when i was free and felt in control with a lot of fondness and deep sadness that i don't have it back.

  43. Yep! It helped me stop blaming myself for "being crazy". At the end of the day, I'm just not made for the world we're forced to live in, but that's not a fault of mine.

  44. My anxiety is worse now than it was. I used to love going to clubs to drink with my friends, but since quarantine I can't do that without having an anxiety attack. I tried it a few months ago and freaked out because I thought my group was being followed. (We weren't, it was just two other people who happened to be walking the same direction) I feel like since quarantine I've let my friends down because I can't go out anymore

  45. The last 2,5 years permanently altered my life forever in so many ways. I got pregnant with my rainbowbaby in 2020 and took it as a reason to take myselfe out of the world for the duration of this pandemic. Had my Baby. Got married. Figured I am autistic and got diagnosed. Lost my faith that was taught to me and realized I was raised very cultlike.

  46. Quarantine was life changing for me, I had turned 22 years old, started a new job when lockdown happened. I realised I was just keeping myself busy, masking, having meltdowns. I realised I was autistic and questioned a lot of things in my life, I'm still figuring stuff out but I do feel a bit more at peace with who I am. I am not so confused or angry anymore, before I used to feel frustrated at myself and didn't understand why I'd gave "meltdowns" or struggle to understand people or friends. It all makes sense now. Also what makes sens eis my sexuality. I realised why the idea of a boyfriend never appealed to me whilst my friends were all in relationships, I thought I was weird, then I realised I'm gay and it made sense. I'm still trying to learn and understand myself, and me too, I realised I needed a lot more down time than I thought I did. Thankfully my job is flexible and can rest on certain days. And the #actuallyautistic community online and here has been amazing.

  47. I loved it. things just doing online. Not so many visits. No crowded birhtday parties. I never went without any contact, just way less. Instead of 3 things a week to 1 time in the week. And i always stayed in touch with family.

  48. Outside of all of the good stuff that people have already mentioned here, the thing that has changed most drastically... is my ability to trust.

  49. It's tough when you're in a job where the job is to follow the rules, legally; but if you do follow the rules, you'll be socially penalized. That's a very American way to live: rules for thee but not for me.

  50. I lost most of my social filter. I will now just call people on BS or be very blunt about how I’m feeling etc. 🤷🏼‍♀️ so yeah I can’t socially mask well anymore.

  51. I'm still functionally in lockdown, in complete social isolation. I've been working from home this whole time, I get my groceries delivered, and the more the country (UK, specifically England) opens up and drops mitigations and testing and case tracking, the more reluctant I become to enter any enclosed space with other humans in it, because Covid really scares me.

  52. I wouldn't even consider I could be autistic if it wasn't for the pandemic (I was diagnosed in January this year). The first lockdown made me forget how to mask and suddenly, when I had to participate in video calls at work, I didn't know what to do with my face. I also made me notice how much I stim when I had to stop myself from stimming during a video call. Every social interaction became painful - before, it was definitely tiring, but I some how got used to being tired/depressed/overwhelmed all the time and coped by taking occasional breaks at work. Now, when my default state is being alone/with my bf (we work from home), every social gathering is a big event and I never know how long I will be able to last before I reach the point of physical pain from overstimulation. It made me realize how overwhelmed and overstimulated I was before the pandemic, but felt I need to carry on to be perceived as a normal, functioning adult. I am not sure if I will ever be able to mask as hard as I did before the pandemic, and that's definitely the most long lasting effect of it for me.

  53. I hear ya. I realized how much I actually hate family gatherings. I also realized that if I didn't want to support my family in social ways, I probably should learn to expect that they probably wouldn't support me in social ways. Fair is fair, I guess. It's hard to live without the idea of "family" but in truth it was never really available to me in a healthy way anyway.

  54. Went from slightly tired but otherwise abled body "neurotypical" cisgender bisexual to autistic semi verbal trans non binary lesbian... There's no going back now

  55. I do wanna note i also was off the antipsychotics i took for years in 2020, and i started therapy in end of 2020, and started a different kind in 2022 this year. Conclusion? I'm so much healthier. I moved to guidance living, i can now be a lot more accepting of my autism, which is incredibly healthy for me as my parents shall never completely understand. I'm currently on vacation with them, i believe this might be my last to go by myself with just them. As it's healthier for me and them to tag someone along. Enough to think about, enough to work on, and i can't wait to tackle it all. The virus brought a lot of hell. But i'm glad that we can somewhat see the peace in it too.

  56. I didn’t know I was autistic at the time, but we are very involved in church as a family and I kept hearing from church people how much they missed being together and seeing everyone. I couldn’t work out what was wrong with me that I didn’t miss that at all. Now I make a point to block out some recovery time after church because it’s so socially draining.

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