Saturday, 15 August 2020

Masks & Hidden Disability

Masks scare me, yet it seems many in shops are wearing them, some even when walking outside or driving alone in their car... 🙄 

It annoys me for many a reason as I have explained here. 

But it also stresses me massively. I have barely been to the shops since Corona started (and almost every time was a disaster) and not at all until today since masks are supposed to be worn in shops.

I had decided to get a Hidden Disability card several weeks back, after one of my shopping trips that ended in tears. Realising they also had exemption cards to masks, I got one of those as well while there. Once the masks guidelines came into force I was glad I had it, but didn't want to go out and get abuse from people or shop staff as I have seen has happened to others, so I still hadn't gone anywhere... 

I cannot explain when I'm stressed at the best of times and it invariably ends in what looks like me having a good angry swear up, when in fact I am just unable to cope and my brain seems to have forgotten how to say anything other than swearing. 😬😓

Today I wanted to get a card - my son and his girlfriend got engaged 💕 - and I had been stressing as to where to go that would be most likely to accept I am not wearing a mask. I felt so awful that I decided to wait until my husband got home and go with him as I couldn't do it alone... 

Then in the middle of trying to make pancakes for breakfast, my youngest son discovered we'd run out of milk. I was the only person here who could drive and I realised I am going to have to go to the shop... and now!

As I got in the car, I was trying to work out what was stressing me. I know I am exempt from wearing them for many reasons (severe distress being the main one - I cannot even cover my mouth and nose at the same time with a blanket, but I knew it was triggering some kind of PTSD from my brain surgery too 🤔) and while I know my ability to speak easily shuts down when I am stressed I knew all I needed to say is 'I am exempt' and if I needed show my exemption card, and legally they cannot do anything ... so what else was it that was stressing me? (rather than just making me angry as I don't agree with them at all)

Then suddenly I just had a feeling that I wasn't driving the car to the shop, but walking down the corridor in hospital to theatre. To be met by doctors and nurses IN MASKS. Not knowing what would happen next ...😨😰

I still managed to drive to the shop OK, even though my body was pounding loudly, and managed to walk in and even choose a card whilst still being able to think. (I know when I have hit this limit and it feels my 'brain has overloaded' and I need to rest while it reboots!) Thankfully I went to the local shop where my husband has spoken to the owner about not wearing masks and he didn't say a word about it and even called me 'my dear' or something else deemed polite. 

I was still shaking though, and I couldn't look at him as he had a more surgical looking mask on. I cannot look at them without fear... and now I understood why.

I drove home with milk and a card. 😊 Sat down for a minute then decided I needed to take the dog for a walk to burn off the excess adrenaline. I then went in the gym and although was particularly useless (as stressed) it felt I had calmed my nervous system down a bit. 

After, I then sat on my normal tree seat at the park and wondered...


Will this whole farce of masks would actually help people with hidden disabilities be seen in future? 


Has it forced those of us with anxiety or PTSD to let others know? 


Will people realise that someone can have a hidden health issue while looking healthy and 'normal' on the outside? 


 Maybe, just maybe, people will try and understand? 



I don't want to wear a badge round my neck labeling me like a lesser classed citizen - I reminds me of the Yellow Badge labeling Jews (I hate the lanyards schools, offices etc wear too!) but I am happy to have the lanyard on my bag or show it when I need to as a compromise. Or have my wrist band on as its more discreet.

You can also download or print a (rather hidden!) exemption card on the government website here.

And just in case you haven't been told - these are the legal exemptions for most Hidden Disabilities... 


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