Mental Wallaby, Uncategorized

Trapped, Anxiety, Anti-Masking

Today is a rough day, in a rough month. I’m distracted and anxious, struggling with pretty much everything. I hit a wall, had a day where I felt like my circumstances are outside of my control, and nothing I say or do affects the outcome. I don’t have any other options at the moment, so I need to figure out how to make this work.

Since my RRMS diagnosis, I’ve felt a profound sense of gratitude toward my physicians. We figured out what was going on with me, and I had options to manage the condition. I might question specific points or switch providers when it really isn’t working for me, but even if I leave them I still respect their opinions and think that generally, they want to do right by their patients. They definitely exercise an abundance of caution, whether that is for care or malpractice prevention, it doesn’t matter. I feel like ignoring doctors isn’t a luxury I get.

IRL I’m passive. I’ve always had a lot of anxiety and avoid confrontation. While I’m working on this, where I am at now doesn’t permit me much energy to argue with others. I know when it comes to moral-political stances, I have about as much chance controlling the weather as I have to change people’s minds. Living in California it should be no big deal, distancing and masks are enforced, we’re in another round of sheltering, everything should be great.

Except…

  • I’ve had bronchitis since I started Ocrevus.
  • My doctor doesn’t want me to go to any medical centers for any testing so we’re waiting for the pandemic to let up before I can go see a pulmonologist.
  • My roommate believes masks help prevent the spread of C-19 and that my immune situation is serious.
  • The same roommate doesn’t wear a mask, apparently does the below-the-nose thing in public. He likes going out as much as possible (when not-in-lockdown), has friends over almost every day who also don’t wear masks, and I’ve heard them speaking at length about how masks are pointless because they don’t protect the wearer.

I was agoraphobic in my early 20s. It was unpleasant and I hoped to never revisit that again. This time is different because rather than being afraid of leaving my home, I’m afraid to leave my bedroom. Before I was afraid of some intangible danger, now there is actually something to be concerned about. Knowing someone can be contagious 48-72 hours before symptoms appear (if they do), and that the virus can remain airborne for some hours in a room with poor ventilation, say, for instance, the bathroom I share with anyone visiting, means my functional (being able to leave my room and do things like eat, shower, laundry, play with the cats) hours of operation right now are roughly 12AM-8AM.

Masks don’t help you so it’s not worth your time, even though from that stance, masks won’t help me if I wear them but you don’t.

Everyone is entitled to be an asshole, I just wish it weren’t at my expense.

Sometimes, I actually do need to leave the house, whether to pick up a prescription or I have a dire need for something. I do my best to avoid peak times and just get in and out. Brief mask-peeve PSA: It’s hard to tell you’re not actually wearing a mask until I’m close enough that you could infect me.

(Does this need to be explained?)

The point of the timestamp in the featured video: Here I’m in the “my rights don’t end where your feelings begin” argument territory though, and in these circumstances, it’s mind-numbing and cyclical. The challenge I have is that I generally see both sides of these arguments. I grew up in a conservative town in California, and I have a huge amount of patience, but it’s wearing thin.

An idea that has been bothering me is one could argue that by not wearing a mask, people could be risking my life. While this is dramatized, by the reasoning of “it’s my right to not wear a mask”, it’s also my right to defend myself, with reasonable, including deadly force, if I’m afraid my life is at risk. How does the idea of “Stand Your Ground” work with C-19?

I feel like most states have been pretty forgiving with the mask orders. It’s really not a big deal for most folks, and if you have respiratory problems that make wearing a mask a challenge, I would think that puts you in one of the high-risk groups for the disease you’re trying to protect against, and NOT wearing a mask is even less desirable. Eschewing a mask you might be fined, in others turned away from businesses, all super reasonable especially given the circumstances.

If we were to treat COVID like a lethal weapon, where we could prosecute for murder for knowingly spreading COVID (being aware you have been exposed/testing positive not wearing a mask), and manslaughter for accidentally spreading C-19, attempted murder/reckless endangerment, etc. Maybe then I would understand the pushback.

From my right-leaning family I understand a narrative is businesses should be permitted to operate as they see fit. Unions bad, employees can just find another job if they don’t like it. Private property, they have the right to refuse service (especially if it involves gay cakes), but if you don’t feel like wearing a mask? Now they’re violating your constitutional rights? Fucking hell.

Generally, I feel like this shouldn’t be a political concern at all.

Mind you, I fully expect at a point to catch COVID. I don’t think I’m lucky enough to avoid it. My relative paranoia is a combination of bronchitis, being on Ocrevus, and remembering how hard H1N1 hit me. Toward the end of that infection, I thought I was going to die. My fever had spiked, I couldn’t move from my bed. I was alone, I couldn’t reach my phone, I knew I needed to go to the ER, and then I passed out. I woke up later drenched in sweat, feeling not-dead and super grateful, but C-19 sounds worse than H1N1, and my circumstances are significantly less ideal. My hope now is that when I catch it, there will be room for me in the hospital if I need it.

You know, then there are things like this:

No matter what I tell people about my circumstances or wishes, what they hear is framed by their experience and actions informed by their own values. My anti-mask friends and family either take the stance I covered before, or, it’s not their problem I’m sick and I should stay home and isolate if I “can’t handle it”.

Back in April, then-commission Chairman Ken Turnage II of Antioch, spouted off on Facebook:

“We would have significant loss of life, we would lose many elderly, that would reduce burdens in our defunct Social Security System, health care cost (once the wave subsided), make jobs available for others and it would also free up housing in which we are in dire need of. We would lose a large portion of the people with immune and other health complications. I know it would be loved ones as well. But that would once again reduce our impact on medical, jobs, and housing.”

Yeah, Ken there is pretty much a dick.

I realize I can handle COVID. I will (most likely) survive the pandemic. The cleanup is probably going to be a lot of work, but I’ll get there. What I can’t see surviving the pandemic is my patience – and a lot of these relationships. I believe people are entitled to be assholes, but the callous disregard of people in circumstances disparate from your own, at this point, damages any respect I have for those people. Going on ten months of this shit, the hardest part is realizing how little what I think or feel matters to some people I called friends or family.

I wish I knew how I would feel when all of this is over, I’m quick to let things go, forgive and move past. Right now I feel unsafe, isolated, with my only real window into the outside world being the internet and all of what 2020 had to offer there. (New: I discovered a passionate distaste for virtually all politicians, so that’s… something.)

I’m going to try making some pretty drastic changes this next week (Atomic Habits doesn’t seem like my jam, sudden, drastic and rewarding – goals), some might put me at higher risk but I’m weighing C-19 risk vs. mental health. Starting with some crazy CBD, exercise, and healthy brain-things. Here’s hoping for a better 2021. <3

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