December Reflections 14: Mask Selfie

No! Really? Must I?

I do not have a happy relationship with face masks. One of the several reasons that I gave up my work in the NHS was because I had much trouble with mask-wearing and more than once had to fight off an overwhelming urge to tear a mask from my face whilst mid-procedure. Leaving the room or theatre to do so was never an option. I suffered. Several times I all but passed out.

You can tell me until you are blue in the face that face masks are “breathable” but it doesn’t help my claustrophobia one little bit. For me, the perceived sensation of suffocation is simply dreadful and it causes anxiety and panic attacks.

Earlier this year we spent a large amount of money on these face masks, advertised as breathable. It was worth a shot, In fact we were robbed blind. They do appear breathable but only by virtue of the fact that they do not form a seal around the nose. (Try to fit the mask to the nose and the whole thing becomes suffocating, with no air passing through the fabric layers at all. It just gets sucked in to the face.)

Yes, breathing is easy but the masks serve no real purpose, other than to satisfy a passing gendarme that we are wearing a face covering.

They look pretty smart though! I like it that mine is in-your-face-red (toned down in these images, I used the Sin City preset in Lightroom). Mr L chose a more sober dark blue one.

If I were symptomatic, I would never go out wearing this mask, as sneezes would just force their way out around the top edge; I would use a paper one instead. Only, when I go shopping in those, I can’t read shopping list or labels as my glasses fog up. Thankfully, I rarely catch anything viral as we are not prone to mixing with other Humans very much.

Whatever mask I wear, I find myself tearing it from my face the moment that I leave the shop’s threshold and just gasping lungfuls of good fresh air. I can at least leave the trolley in the shop and go outside when I feel the need, without anybody suffering for that action. That much is a relief.

Overall, I’d far rather stay home and not wear the mask at all, thank you. May I take it off again now, please?

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