COVID-19 a Lesson in Consent

Ok this is going to sound weird by bare with me here. COVID-19 has taught me a lot about boundaries, specifically how most people are willing to completely disregard other peoples boundaries based on their own desires and personal feelings on the matter.

I have anxiety which means that I am always thinking of the worst case scenario, which is probably why I find writing so much fun but I digress. In the context of COVID-19 this means that I am worried that if I get the disease I will end up in hospital on a ventilator or dead. No matter how much people give me stats or tell me this is unlikely those thoughts will still be there because that is how anxiety works. It doesn’t care if something is likely, I will always think of the worst outcome and become consumed by it.

At the beginning of the pandemic my anxiety was so bad that I would have panic attacks about going outside my house. Worry would make my chest feel tight and make it hard for me to breath, this would make me think I had COVID-19. This created a downward spiral of panic which was pretty awful to deal with and prevented me from being a fully functioning human for a while.

I know that most people don’t have the same level of panic that I do and that is great for them. The only problem is that a lot of people (particularly where I live) make a judgment on the perceived low level of risk for me (given my age etc) and assume it is ok breach the two meter rule. This is where consent comes in, just because you think something ok doesn’t mean that the other person does.

Everyone’s personal level of comfort is different and it is never ok to assume that just because you are comfortable with something that other people will be too. I have lost count of the number of times I have lost sleep due to the worry of someone getting too close to me the day before during this pandemic. All of this extra stress could have been avoided if people realised that others may have a different idea on risk and act accordingly. In this case it is as simple as giving one another the recommended level of space or ask before encroaching on that space.

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