The elephant on my lungs

The elephant on my lungs

Note! This story ends positively

Two nights ago, after four days with a growing sense of fatigue, lung pain and fever-like feelings in my body (without having a fever), I woke up at 3.10 in the morning and felt like there was an elephant sitting on my chest. My lungs felt so tight and even though there was nothing physically blocking my lungs, it was taking strength to breathe. I have never felt like this before in my life. I couldn’t lie in my bed anymore, so I went up and made myself some tea. I could feel panic rising inside me. Would I still be able to breathe in an hour, two hours from now? Is this the time to go to the hospital? I decided to wake my husband and asked him to sit with me. I started talking to him and my body started shaking. I recognized this type of shaking: it’s what my body does when it’s overwhelmed with fear. I decided to call the national health service to get some advice. Even in the middle of the night there was a 40-minute waiting queue before someone answered the phone. When a nurse answered the phone, I apologized for burdening the system but I felt that I had a burning question: how do I know when it’s time to go to the hospital? The woman said that because I was still able to talk, I should stay at home. So that’s what I did. Me and the elephant on my lungs.

I decided to call him Dumbo.

The following 18 hours were very challenging for me. Physically because it was seriously more difficult to breathe and my lungs hurt a lot, but also mentally. Because suddenly I was facing my fear of dying. It did not matter that I had read covid-19 statistics and that it is most dangerous for people with underlying health-issues or who are elderly. Because here I was, having difficulty doing one of the most basic things a human being does: breathing freely. I cannot imagine anyone experiencing this and not being affected by it mentally.

So, what did I do?

I decided to make a meditation out of it. What do I mean by that? Well, I decided to acknowledge and fully be present with everything that I was experiencing. And by that, I mean: EVERYTHING. So, I said to myself: what is it I am feeling? FEAR. Well, hello fear, there you are. I asked myself again: what is it I am feeling more? PAIN. Hello pain, there you are in my lungs. I asked myself again: what is it I am feeling? SHAME. Hello shame, there you are. I felt shame for calling the health service and I felt shame for waking my husband from his sleep in the middle of the night. I asked myself again: what is it I am feeling more? ALONE. Hello alone-ness, there you are. When experiencing something like this, I suddenly felt incredibly alone. I also felt SADNESS, FRUSTRATION and a huge amount of VULNERABILITY.

On, and on I went like this. Being with Dumbo sitting on my lungs, slowly and carefully examining all of my feelings and not pushing any of them away. Curiously asking myself: what is it I am feeling? And fully allowing whatever my feelings were. I am convinced this is what kept me from going into full-panic-hyperventilation-mode.

You know what I also felt? GRATEFUL. I feel so incredibly grateful for my life! For the people in my life and all the gifts in it. I’m so deeply privileged! One particular dear friend (you know who you are) decided to take some of her time, connected with me from her home and sat with me on a deep level. She told me: Nanda, it’s time to wake up. And when she said that, it totally clicked for me. That is exactly right! What is it that I’m still doing in my life, when I hold myself back? Because even though I have done so much these past few years especially; moving to Spain, publishing this blog, becoming an entrepreneur, starting my own holistic counseling-practice…. I am still not showing the world the True Me, many times! I still laugh sometimes when someone says something that in fact makes me angry. I still say things to people sometimes because I think that’s what they want to hear so they don’t get upset with me instead of speaking my truth. What the h*** am I doing when I do that? I almost feel fake: look at the title of this blog for crying out loud?! Living My Truth. But am I doing that, really? If I answer honestly: no, I still am not. Not totally. I still haven’t gone All-In when it comes to living my life. I feel I have huge potential and I’m still holding so much of it back. So that’s what I will focus on even more in the upcoming times (and probably the rest of my life). How can I live my life in a way that feels true to me? Where I dare to be vulnerable, really show up and step into the arena?

I can’t find words to describe how grateful I am for these past days, however frightening some parts of it were. Having faced all of these deep feelings inside me and staying with them instead of pushing them away has shaken me up and I really needed that.

As I’m writing this today, Dumbo has replaced itself for Pluto. And it’s such a relief! It’s much easier to handle this feeling in my body and mentally not spinning as much. I hope that by tomorrow, Pluto is gone as well. Perhaps replaced by Jerry (you know, from Tom) but hopefully soon my lungs will feel Disney-character-free and I can focus on what’s next. What that will be exactly? I have no idea. But I’m still here and I will keep on exploring. Thank you.

With love to you who is reading this, I wish you all the best in these challenging times ♥

PS – an update: I notice a lot of people reading this text as well as my other posts about having covid-19 (thank you!). If it resonates with you, I’m very grateful if you want to share it in your circles too, so it can reach more people who are struggling right now. Thank you!

Photo: Nam Anh –

This writing is part of what I call my Corona Chronicles. On this page you can find an overview of my stories, including tips and insights I have gained throughout the weeks since I got covid-19.

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  1. Thanks for sharing, and the personal perspective of your journey that we are all afraid we may not return from. Love.

  2. Very recognisable story …
    Beautiful how you describe your process of recognising your feelings, acknowledging them, letting them in. Something I can learn from! Your time with the elephant has been very insightful.
    Thank you for sharing and for being so open and vulnerable💗🙏🏻
    Love and light 💕

    1. Thank you Greet, I’m happy to hear that my writing touched you. Love back to you

  3. Så fint att ta del av din blogg Nanda. Tack för att du berättade.

    Jag har läst flera av dina inlägg och jag förstår att många kan dra nytta av dina erfarenheter tack vare din medvetenhet.

    Tycker särskilt om hur du beskriver hur du gör denna ofantligt läskiga erfarenhet till en meditation. Så starkt. Tack!

    And keep on going. Living and sharing Your truth.

    1. Tack för dina fina ord Kirsi! Kram från stugan bredvid 🙂 ♥️

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