Pandemic Anxiety: Face Masks Make Me Tic

Over the past 72 hours my anxiety has definitely been on the higher spectrum. We measure our anxiety in my family on a scale of 1-10. One being fine with little to no worries, and ten being major panic attack alert the media!

For me I was waking up in the mornings a 6 or a 7 and then would stay there consistently throughout the day. Sometimes I would even go to an 8.

Now not everyone has the benefit to stay home and quarantine themselves, myself included. My work is essential, and I go to work with face masks and gloves on everyday now. I feel like I can't breathe and having the mask on my face makes my face twitch and tic even more. The more I tic, the more anxious I get, the more anxious I get, the more I tic. It's a viscous cycle.

Yesterday, for the first time ever, I was experiencing extreme discomfort in my stomach every time I ate. When I had lunch at noon for the next three hours it felt like I had rocks in my stomach that were sharp and heavy. I have never experienced something like that before.

So what did I do?

I took a step back. I assessed the situation. Then I made my move.

I went to the bathroom where I could safely remove my mask. Splashed some cold water on my face and took deep breaths on beats of three (3). After that I put my mask back on and went for a walk around my work (since I work in customer service it is something I could do).

Putting yourself in a new environment is a great tool to use to help calm yourself down from anxiety.

After an hour had passed of calming down I took another moment to assess my mood and emotions, I had calmed down a little, but my stomach had not. So I drank some water, hoping that would help.

The key to analyzing your anxiety is to not admit instant defeat.

After another thirty (30) minutes passed and nothing had changed from the last time I assessed my anxiety, I then decided it was time for me to call it an early day. Never let your anxiety win. I went home only after I tried everything I could to help my anxiety. I used every coping mechanism I had at my disposal and knew I did everything I could of. The key is to not let your anxiety become your scapegoat or your golden ticket out of things. Trust me, people will catch on quick and it won't work forever.

If you do find that your anxiety wins more often then not then talk to your doctor. Another person you should consider speaking to is your boss or HR representative. Let them know what's going on, that you are having trouble and that it is not an excuse to get out of work.

I am very fortunate at my work to be able to use my sick time as I need to or to make up for lost hours on other work days throughout the week. I have also spoken to my boss, HR rep, and supervisor about my Tourette Syndrome and anxiety. They are aware of the time I might need to step back, decompress, and then go back out on the floor.

So remember, it is perfectly normal to have anxiety and panic attacks, especially in today's world. Just don't give up and lose the battle!

  1. Take a step back- remove yourself from the anxious environment.

  2. Analyze the anxiety- where are you feeling the anxiety?

  3. Take action!- fix the problem, use your coping tools!

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