Face masks, anxiety, triggers and injustice...

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Crow
Member
Posts: 1138
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2020 12:22 pm

Face masks, anxiety, triggers and injustice...

Post by Crow » Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:26 pm

I've had such a bad day, all because of an email!
Sorry, I need to get this out of my system.
Several weeks ago my wife and I took our children to the optician for eye tests. Once we they had their tests my daughter needed to see the dispenser to look at frames. (I have been going to that place for over 30 years and my children are the fourth generation of my family to go there.)
On that day the owner (who is the dispenser) came through to see us and told my wife and I to wear face masks. Now because I am a people pleaser and don't set boundaries and don't like to upset or challenge anyone (as my recent round of counselling identified - as if I wasn't aware of that) I struggled through the ten minutes with one of their supplied masks.
I decided to email him a week later to state that I was caught off guard and that I am exempt (UK guidelines state that various things give exemption) and didn't want to offend him so didn't object, but that when we come to try on the frame and get our daughter measured up I'd hope it's not a problem me not wearing a mask (respiratory health and anxiety/trauma triggers).
I finally had a reply this morning stating that the guidelines are clear and that I must wear a mask if I want to come in with my daughter, and not to embarrass us both if he has to refuse my entry!
I'm furious and still reeling from the blatant injustice and discrimination. I tried to explain that some people are seriously unable to wear a face covering but to no avail.
I feel so hurt, feel so angry, and feel like I shouldn't have to explain myself - it is so retraumatising.
He even knows that my anxiety means I have to be there and check for myself that the frame we order is okay and I'm happy (maybe it's a control thing, I don't know) - he has known this for years and we often joke about it.
I feel like it's bad enough feeling anxious every time I enter a shop in case I'm challenged or verbally abused for not wearing a face mask, but this is on another level. I'm not trying to be difficult! Why do I have to suffer this injustice?!
Anybody get how I'm feeling?

For now I will continue listening to metal (abuse themed lyrics) curled up in a corner of my sofa getting angrier to try and get this feeling out of my system...
I'm weird I know!

Crow
From pain comes a courage
The strength from injustice

Quote taken from The Rage To Overcome by Machine Head

heavenlydove
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Posts: 44
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:14 pm

Re: Face masks, anxiety, triggers and injustice...

Post by heavenlydove » Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:45 pm

Hi Crow,
I see where you are coming from on this Crow. Unfortunately, many people just have no clue what sort of triggers facemasks can bring on to people who have gone through traumatic things and have heightened anxiety, health issues etc. I know several people who have really struggled with facemasks and are not even in those strict categories. In fact just today one of my friends was saying how difficult she found it wearing her mask through mass on Sunday. She was seriously considering not going to mass at our church again till Coronavirus is eradicated. She is now trying to organise outdoor masses so we do not have to wear face coverings. I am not sure if this would work but do you think it would be worth putting something on (maybe a light one - like the single use ones) and then taking it off the nose once you are there, so you can at least breathe through the nose. I doubt they would throw you out once you were in there if you showed you were struggling with it. I think some places just want to enforce rules about having a mask. They think that if one person does not wear a mask another might say, well why should I wear one when they are not wearing any. Sometimes people are real strict about such things, they do not seem to understand quite how difficult it may be for some people to wear them. If it was me, I would have it on and if was too much, I would just pull it down, especially if you were turned away from staff. You are totally right that in law they should not be insisting you wear them, but I think they worry many people would be faking difficulties just to get away with not wearing them. Opticians seem to be getting quite paranoid about these thinks but maybe that is because if they do get a spread of COVID, it could be very problematic for their business - I notice they are really paranoid about trying on glasses and where you put them after etc. I was at the opticians recently and they were not bad with us regarding masks when we were a bit lax with our face coverings and pulled them down occasionally. The fact we had them, made us look as if we were at least trying to use them.
Last edited by Serenity on Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Changed MT to NT as no triggering detail included

Crow
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Posts: 1138
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2020 12:22 pm

Re: Face masks, anxiety, triggers and injustice...

Post by Crow » Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:07 pm

Hi heavenlydove,

I get what you are saying. I guess I have this knack of sabotaging things too. What I mean is that these days I seem to get hung up on the principle of things and the injustice. It annoys me that they will allow under 11s to not wear a mask because they are exempt under the guidance, however they won't acknowledge the adult exemptions. That is not fair. And it's that injustice and someone dictating and trying to control me despite my discomfort and explanations that hurts me. It is very much like being a child and being controlled and hurt all over again, and not having my reasoning heard and being defenseless. Sounds pathetic but there it is. So my response is to stand firm and not back down or compromise because then I'm allowing them to either control me or put me through something that I don't like.

A year or so ago before my abusive childhood began affecting me I would easily compromise, show grace and forgive - be the better person. But because of the way I'm feeling now I just struggle with that. I guess it's just where I'm at right now.
A few months ago I was close to that line where I know from the past I may not come back from. I can't go there again.
From pain comes a courage
The strength from injustice

Quote taken from The Rage To Overcome by Machine Head

heavenlydove
Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:14 pm

Re: Face masks, anxiety, triggers and injustice...

Post by heavenlydove » Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:51 am

Hi Crow,

I do get where you are coming from on this. You have every right to be upset about that given they are not conforming to regulations and not being in any way sympathetic to your issues. The trouble is that there is not much you can do to change their minds unless you go there with a mask and then stage a major freakout panic attack in front of them to scare the shit out of them! But then, you probably would not want to do that in front of your child. That would however concentrate their mind very quickly and give them an experience they would not quickly forget!! In fact, you could write them back and say that you will be wearing your mask but if you freak out, it will be on them, given they are ignoring guidelines. Just say you are likely to have a bad freakout - unfortunately, which be rather off putting to other customers. You would want to make it a very polite letter and make sure it does not sound accusatory, so it does not make you look like you are wanting to do anything against them on purpose. Just state what could happen ie. I could have a serious panic attack in there which could be unpleasant to experience for all. Once they have an idea of what could happen, they are likely to let you off. They just probably haven't quite understood how freaky it can be for some people to wear them.

I do understand why you feel the need to defend yourself so you feel you have true control over you life. You are right to state that some battles are definitely worth fighting, while others can be more trouble than they are worth. My dad and brother have got upset over everything in life - everything was a principle for them, but then they couldn't enjoy life. One of my teachers in the US tried to teach his class the following - "not to attribute malice to a case of simple ignorance", which is where I think most annoyances come from - ignorance. Most things are not done on purpose, although people may think that they are being done out of ill will. Some people will do things out of malice, but most, not, so it is usually best not to attribute malice to things. Otherwise one may not find peace of mind. But yes, I can see that you may be going through an important stage trying to assert yourself when you could not previously, which could be a step up for you in terms of discovering a new sense of confidence which you feel the need to assert at present. After a while, you may settle into a more median position, when your confidence becomes better established and secure.

coconuts
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Posts: 4997
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:34 am

Re: Face masks, anxiety, triggers and injustice...

Post by coconuts » Thu Aug 20, 2020 1:06 pm

I understand your frustrations. I too cannot wear a mask as it sends me into flashbacks and a panic attack. I was working on it, thinking maybe i could force the issue, but after ending up in the backpack isle in walmart on my hands and knees, i realized i just cant. Im torturing myself. I just got my official letter of exemption yesterday so I can give it to work. ( Im a teacher and start back today)
I also get the push to take more control. I say i was a doormat for most of my life. It took 2 years of being a total bitch I say for me to calm down and just be a decent person. It was like i had to find that healthier median. I needed that though, i really did.
Coconuts
Be the Light 🌟 in someone's night.

Crow
Member
Posts: 1138
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2020 12:22 pm

Re: Face masks, anxiety, triggers and injustice...

Post by Crow » Fri Aug 21, 2020 8:06 pm

Thank you for the replies heavenlydove and coconuts. It's good to read different views.

Anyway, update... this morning was the appointment.
I woke feeling very, very low and very depressed. As the morning went on I was feeling physically sick and so anxious. (I think this was because I didn't want a confrontation, I hated feeling like I was being told what do do against my wishes and didn't want to face them, and in general felt like I always do when there has been some sort of disagreement.)
I drove from work to meet my wife and children at the optician and opted to sit in my car in the car park at the back of the building. I didn't want to see the guy who I'd been emailing. I was so nervous I was shaking from the adrenaline - and this wasn't even in anticipation of attempting to wear a mask... I chose not to and chose to wait outside!
All was well, my daughter came out to show me the frame and I had a good look and was happy with them (had frames in the past that have been slightly damaged and not been noticed until we had them glazed). I then left them to it and went back to work.
So all in all for something so simple I was an absolute depressed, anxious adrenaline filled wreck for several hours. Trouble is the depressed state lingered for the rest of the day.

I don't like being like this at the moment, but I understand that I am really only scratching the surface in my healing journey.

Crow
From pain comes a courage
The strength from injustice

Quote taken from The Rage To Overcome by Machine Head

Harmony
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 6133
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:10 pm

Re: Face masks, anxiety, triggers and injustice...

Post by Harmony » Fri Aug 21, 2020 8:23 pm

Just a thought,

Could you guys wear clear plastic face shields instead? It would let you not wear a mask and protect those vulnerable to Covid.


with care,
Harmony

coconuts
Member
Posts: 4997
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:34 am

Re: Face masks, anxiety, triggers and injustice...

Post by coconuts » Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:09 pm

I do wear the face shield, but have been turned away with those as well which is super awesome for self worth. I walk away in near tears. :roll: I had the get the letter of exemption because our governor mandated all school personal to wear "cloth face coverings". ....sigh.... I got it but its kind of embarrassing being the person who has to publicly let people know now something is wrong with me so I cant wear a face covering.

Crow, funny how we let ourselves get all hyped up over these things... ugh. Wish it wouldn't. I'm glad you found and alternative and made it through and hope that the depression lifts soon. That's a lot of emotion coursing through you. I too hate confrontation.

Coconuts
Be the Light 🌟 in someone's night.

Harmony
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 6133
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:10 pm

Re: Face masks, anxiety, triggers and injustice...

Post by Harmony » Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:26 pm

Sorry to hear that coconuts.

Life is quite difficult right now.

Sending you my care,

Harmony

Genesis
Member
Posts: 459
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2018 7:31 am

Re: Face masks, anxiety, triggers and injustice...

Post by Genesis » Sun Aug 23, 2020 2:41 pm

I’m in the medical field. I’m going to work on a face shield inspired solution to the face mask for those with anxiety and PTSD. I love being creative. Stay tuned. I will see if Mod’s can post my solution in the art submissions.
Last edited by Jonesy on Sun Aug 23, 2020 6:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Changed MT to NT, as no triggering content
~ Genesis 🥀

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