“It’s Okay to Be Afraid” Notes to Self in the Year of COVID-19

March 31, 2020, Day 22 of ‘shelter in place.’

During these times of the COVID-19 global pandemic, it is reasonable to assume that most individuals will experience some level of fear. Whether the fear is a result of self- or family-preservation, woes of the world, concerns over medical conditions or supplies, a neurological condition, mood disorder, or the way in which the powers that be are handling the health crisis, makes no difference. Fear is a natural response to the emergency of our nations. What we do with that fear makes a difference. And how we respond to others’ fear does matter.  It’s okay to be afraid, to have emotions, to be confused, and to feel out of control. It’s also okay to self-advocate for one’s needs and sense of safety.


  1. In times of crisis I am my best advocate.
  2. Although boundaries are hard for me, it is okay to set them and to state my needs.
  3. My emotions are okay, in whatever way I experience them.
  4. It is okay for me to be afraid.
  5. It is okay to process my fear in the way I process fear.
  6. I do not need to feel a certain way or follow someone’s guidebook on how I should feel.
  7. It is not another person’s place to tell me how to feel.
  8. Fear is not my enemy but a tool I can utilize.
  9. How I utilize fear is up to me.
  10. It is okay to feel waves of fear and become overwhelmed.
  11. It is okay to feel numb.
  12. It is okay to project my fear.
  13. It is okay to experience my feelings in the way I am experiencing my feelings.
  14. My emotional state is not stagnant, nor permanent.
  15. Facing my fear is brave.
  16. I am facing my fear.
  17. I do not have to pretend to rise above fear to impress or please another.
  18. I do not expect myself to be ‘perfect’ in my response to fear.
  19. I allow myself to make mistakes.
  20. If needed, I will apologize to others for my behavior, without self-shaming.
  21. I recognize I have physical and psychological conditions that exaggerate my feelings of fear.
  22. It is okay if my fear is exaggerated at times.
  23. I am doing the best that I can do.
  24. I am using the tools and resources I have.
  25. Doing my best is all I can do.
  26. Those that expect me to be different, to be more like them, or to change, are being unreasonable.
  27. I can only do my best.
  28. Given the current state of the world, I am managing the best that I can.
  29. I have good days and bad days.
  30. If I am having a good day, it doesn’t discount the bad.
  31. If I am having a bad day, it doesn’t discount the good.
  32. Being frightened doesn’t mean I am not thinking straight or rational.
  33. Being frightened doesn’t mean I don’t have valid reasons to be cautious.
  34. My fear doesn’t discount my logic.
  35. I don’t welcome anyone who shames my fear.
  36. I don’t welcome anyone who claims my fear is a weakness.
  37. My emotions are my emotions.
  38. I don’t have to live up to another person’s standards.
  39. I don’t need to match another person’s emotions.
  40. I don’t have to people-please or figure out what another person needs.
  41. Right now I need to take care of me.
  42. I need to feel a sense of control.
  43. The unknown and unexpected scare me.
  44. And that’s okay.
  45. The need to feel in control during an out-of-control time is reasonable.
  46. I can utilize my fear to drive me to make choices that alleviate my anxiety.
  47. When I have energy and reserves, I am rational and make smart choices.
  48. Me reacting out of fear does not mean I don’t have the ability to rationalize and reason.
  49. Me reacting is my way of coping and the way I cope is okay.
  50. I was made the way I am for a reason.
  51. I am doing my best to be the best human I can be.
  52. There is a time to step back and there is a time to step forward.
  53. When I am upset and able, I can step back.
  54. When I am calm and centered, I can step forward and state my needs.
  55. It is okay for me to state what makes me feel safe.
  56. It is okay for me to state what I need in order to have less fear.
  57. It is okay to continue to have fear, despite my logical brain telling me to calm down.
  58. Fear is a biological response to danger.
  59. The world is a dangerous place right now.
  60. This is my perception based on fact, not emotions.
  61. Fear is a result of an unknown threat and an unknowing if I will be able to handle the threat.
  62. My fear is okay.
  63. I can probably handle the threat, but it’s okay at times to doubt that I can.
  64. The act of applying cautionary measure, based on my biological response to an out of control virus, is understandable.
  65.  I recognize that because I am a fast thinker and able to hyperlink facts quickly, I reach conclusions at such a high speed that it becomes overwhelming.
  66. I recognize that I am good at collecting data and formulating theories and hypothesis, and that it is okay to be frightened by what I am seeing; even if others don’t see the same.
  67. I am good at reading between the lines, when it comes to what is not being said, and it is okay to be frightened by what is not being said.
  68. My higher power made me this way for a reason and I am thankful for my ability to reach conclusions others might not reach, even if they are frightening conclusions.
  69. Even as I want others to understand what seems urgent and important to me, others might not get that, and that is okay.
  70. I can focus on advocating for myself without having to convince others of my reason and purpose.
  71. I don’t need to prove or convince someone of my needs.
  72. My needs alone are enough, without evidence or proof.
  73. Someone else might act against me when I state my need to feel safe, but that is okay.
  74. If someone shames me that is on them, not me.
  75. I choose to not take others’ behaviors personally and to continue to advocate for my needs.
  76. If my need is to protect myself from a pandemic, that is okay.
  77. I will protect myself based on fact and instinct.
  78. My instincts and gut feelings are valid.
  79. It is okay to follow my gut and have no other reason.
  80. When it comes to a pandemic, the choices others make do affect me.
  81. Others’ actions and choices can have a direct affect on my exposure and risk.
  82. When needed, I can draw firmer boundaries with others.
  83. When needed, I can restate my needs.
  84. When needed, I can write down my needs.
  85. When needed, I can post my needs for others to read.
  86. As long as my needs aren’t hurting others or stepping over boundaries, they are okay.
  87. If someone does not respect my needs, I can self-isolate in a safe place in my home.
  88. If someone does not respect my needs, I can state my upset or disappointment.
  89. If someone does not respect my needs, I can make a choice in how I behave and how I draw a line.
  90. We all have different things that frighten us.
  91. It is okay if the current situation of the world frightens me.
  92. We all have different responses to our own personal safety and the safety for those we love.
  93. My response is okay.
  94. It’s difficult to process emotions as an autistic individual, particularly in times of uncertainty and the unexpected.
  95. I need be gentle with myself.
  96. This is not a time to work on self-issues, nor an ideal time for self-analysis.
  97. There is a season: a time and place for everything.
  98. Right now, in this season of my life, I need to focus on self-care and self-advocacy.
  99. And that’s okay.
  100. Having something to hold onto, where the outcome is semi-predictable, is important to me, and needed for my well being.

One thought on ““It’s Okay to Be Afraid” Notes to Self in the Year of COVID-19

  1. Thanks again! Just loved this article. Very helpful and self-empowering. I just had a conversation with a non-judgemental neurodivergent friend who listened to my fears of dying without telling me to just be happy and all the other nonsense many of my other friends offer as advice. Which doesn’t help. But after having my friend just listen I found myself less afraid in the days after. It is so important to express and realise our fears, without judgement and to acknowledge our own needs.

    Liked by 1 person

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