The struggle is real for me 😷
I've had a stressful week this week, that is, in part, down to struggling with not seeing people's faces. I know someone who isn't deaf but has also really struggled with the masks - they wanted to stay anonymous but wanted to share a bit of their story.
"Like Vicky I find masks very difficult but for different reasons.
Since I am on the autistic spectrum, I am exempt from wearing a mask but I feel
incredibly anxious when leaving the house.
If I do feel brave enough to venture outside, I carry around a mask and a face visor
because facing the world without a mask often takes more courage than I have.
I do wear a sunflower lanyard but many people are unaware of it’s meaning. Some people are very quick to judge.
Social situations now feel abnormal, awkward and scary. Talking to people who are
wearing masks is very daunting. Social communication does not come easily to me and
I need all the clues I can get. When people wear masks they look quite scary, with no
facial expressions. I can’t tell whether the people I meet are happy, sad or angry.
Communication is now very much reliant on eye contact and maintaining eye contact
can be difficult for autistic people.
The best experience I’ve had so far, has been with the rail network and with the
staff at stations. They have been very understanding and helpful. The charity
Action for Hearing Loss has worked with the Department of Transport to help them
become aware of the needs of people who find masks a barrier to communication.
We all want society to be as safe as possible during this pandemic but we also need to
protect the many people who can’t wear a face mask through no fault of their own.
Perhaps the government should do more to raise awareness of the exemptions. We
need society to have compassion and understanding for people and their differences."
I think it is so important that we make our voices heard, even if it is a facebook post or an instagram story. So many people are finding it hard to adjust.
Just to be clear, it's not really the masks I have an issue with, its the way that how I've communicated for years has been taken away from me and therefore every day I'm out of my comfort zone. It's like suddenly everyone has started speaking a different language!
I was actually sent home from work last week because everything had come to a head and I started crying and when I had started I couldn't stop. It has been such hard work trying to 'hear' and having to ask people to repeat themselves over and over again and I had underestimated the stress of everything I was going through and just simply needed to be at home and take things easy for a couple of days. This is a real struggle, every day.