AUTISTIC NICK AND HIS ANXIETY RASH
I tried everything to take my mind off it, in the car journey to work yesterday.
I didn’t once think of the word FACE MASK.
I chatted with my support worker about anything and everything I could think of during our 45-minute car journey to my place of work.
We had the radio on low in the background.
I took deep breaths. I had attempted to mentally prepare myself for those four hours ahead that I would have to wear a face mask in the office, only removing it to eat or drink.
It was a hot day yesterday, the humidity was soaring and mixing itself with the air.
It felt like a sauna outside.
The car stopped outside opposite my building.
I looked over and then I asked a question because it had formed in my mind, and I think I only asked it because I wanted a way out of this.
I said, “How long soon can you be here if it all gets too much for me?”. My support worker replied, “You give me a call and I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
And with that I stepped out of the car, closed the door, and headed into work.
I stopped and grabbed a hot chocolate from the cafe downstairs and then climbed the stairs and entered the office.
I had already notified work that my anxiety around wearing a face mask was at an all time high and measures were put into place.
One of those was that I could work alone in an air-conditioned room with my laptop/computer away from everyone and I wouldn’t have to wear a mask.
For me I wanted to see if I could essentially function wearing one but also because I had been away from the office since Christmas I wanted to keep improving and working on my social interaction skills as they had been left by the wayside since Christmas.
I felt that they were a little rusty and because it had been so long since I had been around people other than my family, I wanted to keep up the good work I had been making in recognising social cues and getting back to holding conversations with people again!
The day unfolded and I attempted to distract myself and think about work related things and hold conversations and have interactions with people and not have them mention the word FACE MASK or hold any conversations based on that.
I survived the working day and my support worker picked me up and we drove home and nothing more was said.
Until that night when after a shower I noticed a red rash on my chest.
I thought that it may have been sun stroke, but I didn’t sit outside in the sun.
It was itchy but I didn’t do anything to it because I didn’t know what it was.
I text a friend of mine and asked her if it could be what they call anxiety rash and she said it could be that or stress.
After doing some research I have concluded that it was indeed anxiety rash.
But I hear you asking me what is anxiety rash?
An anxiety rash is an itchy rash that is due to anxiety.
If you suffer from chronic anxiety this can increases the sympathetic nervous system to response to stress.
This response releases histamine, a substance the body usually releases to respond to any injury, inflammation, or allergic reaction. An increased release of histamine may lead to a rash or hives. A rash from stress or anxiety usually resolves in 24 hours which mine did.
I hadn’t realised that what I had essentially been doing was supressing all of my anxiety down and not addressing it head on and because I had considered what affect this would have on me, I allowed myself to essentially give myself a rash.
That night in bed I cried, I think off all the bottled up emotions, worry, wearing the face mask, the toll it would take on me, the false sense of security that I had allowed myself to get into, not considering how panic stricken I actually was, all columnated in where I was at 10.00pm that night, in bed allowing finally my emotions to come to the forefront and giving myself permission to breath and confront my emotions head on.
I am going to be better prepared for next week. I am considering some extra strategies that will need to be put into place as I don’t want to have to halt my progress with interacting with people in the office and feel that I have to restrict myself here, but also, I don’t want to feel that my disability excludes me from the office in anyway.
Conversations will need to be had and they will. I’m very lucky that I can present a problem to my boss, and we can work together to come up with a solution.
CARRY ON THE CONVERSATION
Have you ever had anxiety rash?
What did you do to prevent it happening again?
Let me know in the comments section below
Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.