• Claire Henson

Queueing (and other tasks people with anxiety find difficult.)

Queueing. An everyday thing. It's polite. It's orderly. It's part of society. However for me, and possibly others living with a long term anxiety condition, queueing can be distressing and frightening. Dealing with anxiety whilst in a queue can be embarassing, we might need to sit down, we might be shaking, we might need to use the toilet but are worried about leaving the queue. Worse still, we might be queueing to get into the place where the facilities are or we can't leave the queue until we've paid for something, like at a petrol station.

The picture above is me queueing at a petrol station this week. The queue was enforced due to Covid-19 restrictions on the number of people accessing the petrol station. Luckily on that day, I felt able to manage my anxiety quite well and the queue wasn't too problematic, but it did make me think about the impact of Covid-19 and the increase in queues. How does this feel for people living with anxiety? Is it putting us off going back to places? Are we waiting for things to all calm down? Are we scared about asking for further information about how things work now in case we're seen as troublesome or a burden?

I don't wear a big sign when I go out that says 'I live with a long-term anxiety condition.' My illness is invisible and I manage it a number of ways day to day. But I'd be lying if I said that the pandemic restrictions hadn't caused increased anxiety for me. This must be the same for so many people. That leaves me with the question, how do we raise awareness of this anxiety and let people know it's okay to ask questions and talk about their fears?

I will be exploring this more in depth through my programme Mind Map, but I would love to hear more from you about how you're accessing public spaces and if you're not, what would help you to do so? You can get via email, Facebook or Twitter, it would be great to hear from you to talk about this more.

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