Anxiety and masks

On a recent trip to Hunstanton, I was waiting in a queue to order some coffees at a lovely little café on the beach at Old Hunstanton. It was a socially distanced queue and it was quite a long one. As a people watcher (also known as nosey) I was keeping an eye on all my fellow customers and maybe doing a little bit of earwigging. There were two girls in front of me who were in their early twenties who I was trying not to listen to but I honestly couldn’t help it! Their conversation was quite interesting as they got nearer the front of the queue, became much more animated. One of the girls was really struggling with the thought of having to wear a mask to order her coffee. She mentioned feeling anxious and it triggering her claustrophobia. At the time I dismissed this as an over reaction but as I thought about it more it did get me thinking. None of us know what other people are going through, what their Covid-19 experience has been or what triggers or issues it has brought up. For some people wearing a mask brings a whole heap of other issues from feeling breathless to feeling trapped.

There are so many different issues around masks. I see people wearing them all the time, some using them to make them look intimidating, some people wearing them on their chins, some people sporting football team ones (I saw a very stylish Newcastle United one recently) through to the delightful home made masks (are they washed after every wash? I know mine isn’t).

If a mask is going to help people get out and about, give people the confidence to go back on a train to get to work then surely it’s a good thing but we cannot underestimate the additional worries it also brings.

If you are feeling apprehensive about wearing a mask, this information from MIND may be useful – Mask anxiety, face coverings and mental health.