Invisible Hands around my throat: Why some people can’t “Just Put one on like everyone else”

He grabbed me by the throat and screamed at me. Picked me up off the floor so my feet were dangling. I pawed at his hands but it was no use. He was too strong and wouldn’t let go. He was saying something about a man. What man? The alcohol made him mean and jealous. A simple smile to another man and once we got home he would go off on me. I never put it together that his rage was delayed until years after we separated. He wouldn’t lose composure in a crowd! He was a “great” guy! But when we got home… The more he drank, the stronger he got. Those hands were tight. I couldn’t breathe… Finally, he put me down and went to the fridge for another beer. I gasped for breath on the floor. After he sat down in front of the tv and turned on the game, I went upstairs to change out of my new dress. I thought I looked nice but apparently I looked too nice. Someone else noticed me. What man? Ironically, I bought that dress for him. The new dress was to impress him…

This is one of the flashbacks I get when I wear a mask. That moment comes back as if it was happening right then and there. The person at the reception insisting I wear a mask for a healthcare appointment doesn’t understand or even consider that my increasing breathing and my pounding heart quickly turns into a full fledged anxiety attack.

This is why I’m getting so upset. They don’t know why. They just know their boss will be on them if someone isn’t wearing a mask. But what they don’t know is if I don’t do something soon to slow my breathing, I’ll be grasping at my throat again, trying to pry those strong fingers off my neck. But nobody can see the invisible hands around my throat.

Today, I had to slow the quickening breathing. I had to take deep breaths as I tried to keep my voice calm. I sited the Bangladesh study (1). Hundreds of thousands of people randomized and cloth masks didn’t do a damn thing. Even medical masks only decreased spread by ~10% and that wasn’t just masking, it included teaching social distancing, hand washing among other things that they didn’t teach the control group. So how much of the 10% reduction was because more people simply washed their hands? I was trying to professionally say cloth masks don’t do a damn thing while trying to ignore the invisible hands. Hands that were getting tighter by the minute. I feel tears coming. Why can’t people see these hands around my neck. Why are they just standing there not helping. Someone please pull these hands off my neck! Can’t you see I’m suffocating here? Please don’t make me put a mask on. Can’t you see the hands get tighter when my face is covered…

But today it got worse. Today I was told my child, my innocent beautiful four year old girl, had to cover her face or the healthcare professional wouldn’t see her. My baby had to cover her face. All along I’ve been dreading this moment. The moment they say I have to cover her sweet, innocent face. But she has to be seen. They told me I could go somewhere else to be seen. I asked where. They didn’t know anyone that could see her for this reason without her beautiful face covered. I said I’ve never had to mask her. She’s only four years old. Even Dr. Strang said you don’t have to force children under five to mask so why are they insisting? We were supposed to have a few more months left until she turned five. Hundreds of thousands of people in that study and it’s clear the cloth masks don’t work. Randomized controlled study-the best scientific evidence we have available- and they are still insisting. Why?

So I took a deep breath and covered my baby’s face. The invisible hands were choking me as I did it. Those strong hands were tighter than I ever remembered before. But she had to be seen. She has a medical issue and it needs to be taken care of. I kept saying it’s okay, it’s only for a few minutes.. I looked at her beautiful face but only could see her eyes. It’s only for a few minutes…

References:

Bangladesh Study (1)- https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abi9069  Only 11.6% reduction  in Covid symptoms and 9.5% in positive testing in surgical mask use group. Cloth mask not statistically significant when compared to control (see table 2 in link)

https://www.news-medical.net/news/20220412/Impact-of-face-masks-on-COVID-19-incidence-in-children-in-Finland.aspx

https://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/2021-11/working-paper-64.pdf

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35607577/

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