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Senior Contributor

Masks, anxiety, panic, therapy

Hi. Not sure if this is the right place for this but was wondering if anyone has a similar struggle or has any suggestions about having to wear masks. I love in Brisbane where they're now manditory in most places the next 10 days.. at least.  First off I want to say I don't have an issue with the idea of it and understand why it's in place and in no way is this me sticking it to the man. For whatever reason I have significant anxiety about wearing masks. I also often have significant anxiety and experience panic and dissociation in therapy and I'm terrified about having to wear a mask when I'm already heightened. So much so that I cancelled my appointment tomorrow. I really need to go, especially because it's been a few weeks with Christmas/new year, but I just know it won't be worth it because I'll be too anxious. 
Anyone else struggle with this too? Not sure what to do other than hope it's lifted in 10 days.

19 REPLIES 19

Re: Masks, anxiety, panic, therapy

Hi @destructive, that sounds really tough, also that it's impacting the psychology sessions you go to, which it sounds like are really needed right now. I'm wondering if there's some sort of telehealth option you might be able to access, like a video or phone call so you can access psyhcology from home? Sane has a help centre you could contact in a mode like that (phone call or webchat) for a chat if you'd like to. For me, identifying that I'm having an issue with something is a great first step, though I also find it helpful if I can narrow down why I might be having the issue as this helps me figure out how to resolve it. 

Hopefully thing will ease soon. Wishing you strength to get through in the mean time 😊

 

Re: Masks, anxiety, panic, therapy

i have similar anxieties too @destructive and when these new restrictions came into sydney i had a bit of a panic. i too also get why they are used and support it and all, but i personally just really struggle too. Ive recently recieved an email from my psychologist regarding new restrictions and am thankful that she is not making them mandatory in sessions, she has a large room which plenty of space and an hour between clients. like @TideisTurning said does your therapist give the option for telehealth appointments? or can you get a medical exemption from having to wear one? all the best.

Re: Masks, anxiety, panic, therapy

I am from VIC and I felt the same as you when they first brought in mandatory mask wearing. Now that time has passed and I have got use to wearing one, it does not bother me anymore.

Re: Masks, anxiety, panic, therapy

Thanks @TideisTurning @Bow 

I think she said back in March she was

foing some telehealth but don't think that would be right for me either. I literally freeze up with anxiety sometimes and need help getting back. If it was telehealth and I got stuck I'm worried I wouldn't be able to get unstuck. I did message her admin and ask if I have to wear a mask and if I do I'll reschedule but never hear back so I guess I'm not going but now I feel anxious that maybe she'd still be expecting me. I hope not

Re: Masks, anxiety, panic, therapy

Hi @destructive .

I can understand your concerns about wearing masks in Brisbane as I went through similar experiences and thoughts when they were introduced in Melbourne many months ago. Like you, I had panic attacks and anxiety issues, however, I was able to check our states health department rules about wearing masks and was able to apply for an exemption medical grounds. I suggest you check your health department's rules and discuss your concerns with your support staff about how to deal with this issue. Maybe there is a way around this for you.

Believe me, I fully understand the reasons behind mask wearing and I support it. It's just that I have medical reasons for why I can't wear a mask that my relevant medical supports were able to help me with.

 

I wish you all the best with this issue and I am thinking of you from Melbourne. 

Take care and stay safe.

Judi9877☺️💐

Re: Masks, anxiety, panic, therapy

@Judi9877  That's great that you were able to get an exemption. Do you feel nervous going out without one then, do people say anything? 
I don't have any support really. I just have a psychologist and changed GPs recently and she's away now until Feb. 

I never hear back from the therapist/admin. She has her own practice and got an admin recently so I think the way reminders and stuff are send changed and maybe my message didn't go through. I don't know. So now I'm super anxious about what to do in the morning. I'm not very good at phone calls, also make me anxious. Man I'm such a scaredy cat.

Re: Masks, anxiety, panic, therapy

Hello! I'm from Melbourne so I completely understand how you are feeling. Your anxiety is an absolutely valid reason to not wear a mask. It's not healthy for you to skip medical appointments and social outings. Down here you don't need proof of a medical exemption but it helps to have a letter from your doctor to show to people so that you don't have to constantly explain yourself. The exceptions exist to protect people like you. The others who are "sticking it to the man" are selfish and actually make it harder for those people, like yourself, who legitimately can't wear masks. Let those who can wear masks easily wear their masks and don't feel bad about skipping it for yourself. You need to keep yourself well. 

Take care x

 

Re: Masks, anxiety, panic, therapy

Dear @destructive 

 

I second what Judi9877 said.  You should have more than enough grounds to apply for an exemption. I know making that initial phone call to ask my psychologist or Doctors rooms

tomask for one to be written up for you may be challenging for you, but try it think of how good the outcome of the phone call will be.

My psychologist is great, and lets me remove my mask as soon as we are in her rooms. She even removed hers y'day too and she practises out of a consulting room at the private hospital.

I wouldn't feel nervous about going without one - there were zero cases of community transmission again y'day, so just make sure you sanitise your hands as much as possible - at and after every new destination you visit.

 

Wishing you all the best in this situation. Anxiety is hard enough without the added complexity of dealing with wearing a mask.

 

Good Luck

Re: Masks, anxiety, panic, therapy

Hi @destructive
I hope you find some resolution soon my friend.
I find the masks are a hindrance but I understand why we have them. I think once vaccinations are sent out then they will get rid of them. Or at least I hope they do. I find them impersonal and its also difficult to breathe. I have heard stories of people close to us that have been abused in the shops for not wearing one because of medical reasons.
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