A psychiatrist presenting emotion
“Many families still prefer their providers to wear a mask. I have no way to know who carries what political or health views around their mask-wearing. Their masks were off, and mine was on. When I asked them for their preference of whether they feel comfortable with me wearing a mask or not, the parent’s response was: ‘Whatever you want. It doesn’t really matter.’
But it does matter. Doesn’t it? It matters if you feel comfortable and safe. It matters if I am an agent of viral infectivity. It matters if you want to be able to read my emotions as much as I need to read yours. It matters if your child has autism, is hearing impaired, or even if English is your second language. It matters if we want to ‘get back to normal.’
But for all the reasons listed above, I find that I don’t want to lift my mask just yet. Given a choice, I find myself behind the mask still.
At least, for now, this continues to give me the semblance of safety: to wear my heart on my sleeve and my emotion on my face. I will not feel guilty about this. I am just a psychiatrist presenting emotion. PPE for me.
Shivana Naidoo is a child psychiatrist.
She shares her story and discusses her KevinMD article, “PPE: psychiatrist presenting emotion.”
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