Being queer and neurodivergent in quarantine


Illustration courtesy "L"

The writer, who asked to be referred to as “L,” is a fifth-year student and student employee at SRJC.

"L", Special to The Oak Leaf

The quarantine has been a whirlwind of emotions for me: outside of medication juggling with my psychiatrist (due to feeling like I wanted to die even before the quarantine had started); I have experienced many fast-paced mood swings, late-night mental spiraling, bouts of immense paranoia, anxiety from worrying about friends and family, occasional hallucinations from stress and lack of sleep, and a fluctuating inability to both eat and maintain consistent contact with people due to dissociation.

A part of me feels even more afraid and uncomfortable to leave my house than I did before the pandemic, as a non-binary lesbian with PTSD, autism and a variety of other mental health junk, so I have resorted to just staring at my computer screen mindlessly some days. Luckily, my house is safe and I have places to go if I get overstimulated, or I feel far too fearful, and I am so very lucky in that regard, since so many people I know don’t have safe homes and cannot hide and, God, I wish I could hide them. I wish I could save everybody.

I used to be scared to walk down the street for fear of being assaulted, or killed, and now I’m just scared that I’ll never have the chance to walk down the street again with a woman. I’m trying so hard to feel the sun where I can; even if it means taking baby steps by just standing on my deck with my arms outstretched for 20 minutes.

Sometimes that’s the only thing you can do.