I am in Week 29 of Long Covid and feel about 90% recovered. This week I feel a bit all over the place, to be honest. Below are all the things going on simultaneously right now and how I (try to) cope with them.
First of all, I feel emotionally quite drained. I notice how small things affect me, for example the other day while grocery shopping I read the headline of a newspaper here in Sweden and it said: THIS IS HOW CORONA AFFECTS YOUR BRAIN – MENINGITIS, HALLUCINATIONS, STROKE. Immediately I felt a physical reaction in my body just from reading that headline. I felt fear rising in my chest combined with a sadness that almost made me cry right there in the store. I thought: oh my god, is THAT what I experienced back in Week 10, and what I called Corona Brain?? At that time no one could explain what was happening (it really freaked me out) but today, months later, scientists are slowly discovering more and more about what exactly can happen in our bodies. Somehow this small event of reading a headline affects me a lot, like I suddenly see evidence in print about my own experience and how serious it was. It’s OK for me to feel this way, I know I just need more time to let the entirety of my experience land and integrate.
I had promised to cook dinner the other day but a sudden migraine forced me to lie down and wait for it to pass so my husband made dinner instead. During the days that followed I noticed another energy-draining behavior I have adopted; I somehow keep a mental list of things I do and things my husband does in our household, and I feel inner pressure to keep that list balanced. Perhaps this sounds totally crazy to you when you read this, or it might be something you also recognize if you live in a relationship? For me, because I’ve been ill for so many months and unable to do pretty much anything in the house and for the family, I feel that I’m waaaaaay down in the minus on this list. My husband has done so much to keep everything afloat at home while I have been inside my own weird bubble. Now that my body is doing so much better, apparently I feel I need to add stuff to the list of things I do at home and when my body suddenly quits on me (again), I have a really hard time accepting that I ONCE AGAIN need help. I sometimes feel that I will never be able to make up to my husband for everything he’s done but then I realize how crazy that sounds even to myself: if the tables would have been reversed I would have done the exact same thing for him and not ‘keep score’ on who is doing what, and how much!
And then there is the tiredness. The freakin’ tiredness that just doesn’t want to disappear completely. I still feel that I have to be mindful about what I do each day. I can do a lot! But not on the same level as before I got ill. My daily challenge is, still, to not do too much on one day. I find it difficult to know and feel into what is too much, and I notice that I often cross the line. But I keep in mind: a couple of months ago it was too much for me to take a small walk outside my house and today I can take a walk and do grocery shopping, work behind my computer and make dinner (most days). That’s amazing progress!
My participation in an online support group and reading news in general also affects me. Being part of Body Politic’s support group on Slack (with 8.000+ members from all over the world) means a lot to me because I can connect with people who get it and the general spirit of the community is so generous and positive. On the other hand, every time I browse through the channels and read other people’s stories, it affects me deeply and once again makes me aware of the severity of this virus and the enormous impact it has/had on other people’s lives, including mine. So, participating in the online support group both enriches and helps me but also keeps the virus alive in my awareness. By consciously choosing how much time I spend in this community I try to keep a balance that feels good for me but I know the day will come that I say goodbye to it (however, not yet).
I also feel increasingly affected by the news. Upcoming elections in the US; I can’t even begin to imagine what would happen if Trump got re-elected and I notice I get more nervous for each week that passes now up to the election. A second wave of the virus and potential lockdowns in many countries again. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing at this moment. And so on. The news feels overwhelming to me and like the world is, quite literally, on fire. I have noticed my recent fondness of watching documentaries and movies about space travel, the Universe and exploration of Mars and I believe this is no coincidence. The common theme in all things space is about unity between people and nations, exploration and discovery and I can’t get enough of this type of positivity and hope for the future these days.
Besides being mindful of how much I do each day, this week I also have discovered that I need to continue to be mindful about what I eat. Pretty soon after I got infected I adopted a food-regimen that involved cutting out refined sugar among other things. Over the past few weeks I have re-introduced this again but I notice unfortunately that it negatively affects my body. Yesterday I treated myself to a piece of Budapest-cake, I drank flavored Pellegrino for lunch and apple cider with my dinner and I could feel how my body responded in a negative way. This night I woke up drenched in sweat again, which for me is a typical Long Covid-related thing. I have no idea why I link this to me eating refined sugar, it might very well be all in my head, but for some reason I made this connection and today I decided to quit again just because it intuitively feels right. So, bye bye cakes and sodas. Part of me really hates this, to have to leave all the ‘good stuff’. But I know it’s the most sensible thing to do, and I really Really REALLY want to get back to my normal, energized self so this is what I feel I have to do.
I found myself crying yesterday. For a moment I felt like: it’s enough. I’ve explored enough now, I’ve endured enough, I’ve shown enough resiliency. It’s soon been 7 months for cryin’ out loud. CAN I PLEASE JUST GET BACK TO MY NORMAL LIFE? You know, the life where I can afford to eat sugar, where I can work fulltime instead of parttime, where I can wake up in the morning after a good night’s sleep feeling refreshed and energized. But of course, life doesn’t work like that. I am so incredibly grateful for the progress I’ve made, the healing of my body from all the weird and scary symptoms but these last 10% are sometimes freakin’ hard to cope with too, I have noticed. A part of me feels ashamed to write this, like I’m not ‘allowed’ to feel this way. But I do sometimes, that’s my truth.
I stumbled upon a quote from Christine Caine that I found beautiful and fitting and that I will end this blog post with. This writing turned out to be about everything and nothing, and mirrors my current state of being. It’s my 100th blog post since I started writing in Spain in February 2018. The 23rd piece I write about covid-19 and how it affects me in my life. My Corona Chronicles that now have been read more than 20.000 times by people from all over the world (!). In the midst of everything that’s going on, writing is my number one way to dive into my inner world, explore what’s going on and raise my awareness about life, living and what I feel is my truth. Thank you for your continued support and reading!
Here are the wise words of Christine Caine that resonate with me as they capture my experience from the past 30 weeks:
you’re in a dark place
you think you’ve been
buried, but actually
you’ve been planted.
Photo: Matthew Fassnacht – unsplash.com