​David Burns MBE - Reflections on expectations during times of social distance

David Burns (MBE) a key speaker for Autism Hampshire shares his thoughts on expectations during times of social distance with us

What if the world had no specific social expectations? What would that be like?

It's a question I've been thinking about given the current social distancing rules. Is the current situation worse for everyone or just different? Are the people finding a lack of opportunity to socialise coping less well than those people whose brains are perhaps wired for a different type of social connection?

Take, for example, the need for physical touch. There are many people right now who are struggling to cope with not being able to hug another person. It's upsetting and a source of anxiety. Yet for others, physical touch is often unwanted and the current situation is ideal for them. They like to connect from a distance. The distance doesn't mean they don't care or love others any less - it's just different.

Perhaps the challenges we all face are around 'expectations'? Right now we're expected not to get to close to others but once the lock-down ends expectations may gradually change towards something that we had before. And that might be a relief for some and stressful for others.

Are there things you feel have been of benefit to you during this social distancing time? Here's a few thoughts:

  • I have an environment that's more helpful for working;
  • I feel safer at home where expectations are more realistic;
  • There are less people I have to interact with;
  • There's more time to reflect and be creative;
  • There are opportunities to reassess life and discover what really matters;
  • It's a time to feel useful by helping those more vulnerable;
  • My children no longer have any school avoidance issues!

If things have been helpful perhaps these could become the basis for strategies we can explore and implement at a later date when we feel anxious or stressed. Recognising what helps us can be just as important as knowing the things which cause us discomfort.

Perhaps now is a time for discovery?

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