The Light And Darkness Of Long Covid

The Light And Darkness Of Long Covid

Since December 21st 2020 we have gained over an hour of daylight per day already here in Sweden and I couldn’t be happier. Somehow however, I am the type of person who doesn’t fully understand that the dark days are over until we’re well into the middle of say, May. Or June even. I’m not kidding: for many years without fail, I managed to stay in a mental state of darkness way longer than the actual winter darkness existed outside.

It’s a thing I can easily do, staying in darkness in my mind even when the light has returned. And not only weather-wise. When something difficult or challenging happens in my life I have a tendency of staying in a mental and physical state of fight, flight or freeze and can have a real hard time getting back to a state of relaxed aliveness. It’s almost as if staying in the dark somehow gives me something. It must be, right, because otherwise what sense does it make to stay in the dark?

For a part of me, there is something attractive somehow (in a twisted way) of knowing my enemy. It feels like if I live in the midst of something difficult, at least I know what it is and I can deal with it. Subsequently it gets scary when things light up. Because when there is no worry, no fear, no challenge, no difficulty, what will come next? Better the devil you know, something like that.

I know this about myself and after many (many!) hours of self-exploration, therapy and reflection, fortunately I nowadays can catch myself doing this quite quickly, understand where it comes from and bring myself back to flow in my life. Or so I thought. Because what about Long Covid? Is the darkness of it something I have (subconsciously) found a way to hang around in much longer than is necessary? After almost 11 months of Long Covid, I cannot help but ask myself this question: am I (unconsciously) keeping myself from recovering fully?

I know there are people in my circles who believe this. I’m talking about the Joe Dispenza/The Secret/Law Of Attraction-kind of people. Joe Dispenza talks about healing yourself from all kinds of diseases with the help of your brain/thinking. The book (and movie) The Secret talks about not only health but also money coming to people when they think positive thoughts. And so on. Especially when Joe Dispenza starts talking about the science of it all, I must admit: it sounds very believable and real. But what about all the people who face terminal illness or who are permanently disabled. Are they just thinking wrongly? That to me feels incredibly offensive.

I remember way back in Week 13 I wrote about Long Covid being a physical problem and not a spiritual/mental one. I still believe that fiercely. For me, and tens (hundreds?) of thousands of other people around the world, the coronavirus caused such havoc and confusion in our immune systems that it resulted in all kinds of horribleness. That cannot be all in our heads. But then people get better and pick up their lives again. And I’m still here (I know I’m not the only one closing in on a full year, but still). Today I have lungs that hurt and a tiredness that I can’t seem to shake completely. I have so many days still where I wake up and feel that I already look forward to going back to bed in the evening. I can work, I can cook, I can do laundry, but every single thing I do hurts in my lungs and feels like a struggle. Like my body moves through syrup. Nothing that has to do with physical movement/exercise feels like it comes effortless.

If it resonates with you, try this: walk through a room while saying the word ‘no’ to yourself over and over again. Feel into how your body feels when you’re walking. Do that for a while. Then switch and repeat the word ‘yes’ to yourself instead, and keep on walking. Feel again: how does this feel in my body? I’m almost sure that it feels lighter and less constricted in your body to walk around with an internal ‘yes’ compared to a ‘no’, right? At least that’s how it feels for me. Which means for me: there is a connection between body and mind/thought. I know that and believe that fiercely too. So crap, what do I do with all of this? I feel so torn. Am I unconsciously keeping myself from fully recovering because I don’t really want to for some (twisted) reason and therefore have the ‘wrong’ thoughts/mindset, or is there something still physically wrong in my body?

What am I gaining from Long Covid today? Readers of these Corona Chronicles on my blog, that’s for sure. I’m closing in on 25.000 read articles in 11 months, it’s unbelievable. So apparently it sparks my creativity. Who knows, someday someone might read this and decides that my writing is of other value somehow; that would be a dream come true. Long Covid also keeps me from taking major decisions in my life. It’s just no point doing that right now when everything is still so much up in the air. It gives me permission to watch Netflix during the day. And it gives me access to a wonderful group of people I have met online in a covid-support group on Slack. The only forum I have found which is brilliantly organized so it doesn’t become overwhelming (not even with Corona Brain), where there is lots of room for positivity and where people genuinely are open, authentic and incredibly caring.  

Is the above so attractive (in a twisted way) that I unconsciously keep attracting it into my life resulting in continued symptoms? I have sat with this a long time and my conclusion is: no. I can’t explain what, doctors can’t explain either today, but there is something physically going on in my body that takes a long time to fully disappear. My lungs apparently are the last hurdle my body has to take before I can truly declare myself 100% healthy again. I keep on believing that this day will come and that (as I have written before) this too, shall pass.

Every day we gain five minutes of daylight here in Stockholm. I have made it my mission to enjoy it already now, to the absolute fullest. No reason to stay in darkness longer than necessary. Life contains both light and darkness and I want to experience them both, without getting stuck. If there’s one thing I have learned from the past 47 weeks then it’s this: joy can be found in the tiniest of things, all you need is awareness. A cup of tea. A tulip. A postcard from a friend in my mailbox. All is well, I am so grateful for my life.

Thank you for reading! ♥

Photo: Sarah McKellar –

This writing is part of what I call my Corona Chronicles. On this page you can find an overview of my stories since March 2020.

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  1. I’ve been sick since March as well. Thank you for sharing your journey and struggles with this. I’m in the body politic on slack but am just finding your blog now. I happened to look in the mental health tab there and yours was the most recent post. My 42nd birthday is looming March 3rd and with that looms my other anniversary. My covid anniversary is March 13th. I had 10 healthy days of my 41st year. Prior to covid I hadn’t been sick in years. I’ve now lost a full year. I’m going to go and backread your blog posts from the last year so I can learn more about your personal journey. I can’t tell you how great it is to hear your story…it’s really validation that all of us struggling with long-covid are desperately needing. It’s so exhausting having to constantly justify not feeling well, that good days of doing too much well sideline me for days at least, that many of my good days are actually just being up and doing things in the house for 4 hours and then crawling back into bed, and having to feel like I’m failing or letting people down because I just can’t get well. I’ve bottomed out emotionally tonight. And then I found your blog. In this broken moment I feel less alone. So thank you…thank you for being a light for those of us in the fight with you. It means far more than I can say.

    1. Thank you Kat, for your wonderful comment. I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time and hope you can find the resources to cope with everything. I’m honoured to hear that my blog is one of them! Sending you a hug from Stockholm ♥

  2. Dag Nanda goede middag,

    We kennen elkaar wel niet direct, maar hebben wel gezamenlijke roots: De Ruiter.
    jouw opa, voor moi oom Jo en mijn vader Piet waren broers.
    Een aantal maanden geleden zijn jouw moeder (ca. dezelfde leeftijd) en ik via email en later via de telefoon na vele jaren weer in contact gekomen: neef en nicht. En zo heb ik kort geleden jouw site bezocht, een bijzonder uitnodigende website, heel licht van lay-out en opzet.
    Heel mooi dat je mensen met allerlei ‘zorgen’ vanuit jouw professie tracht te helpen.
    Niet direct dat ik zelf al te grote onoverkomelijke zorgen heb.
    Na een aantal bezoekjes aan jouw site vind ik het fijn even een reactie achter te laten.
    Mocht je zin hebben te reageren: welkom! Echter: Voel je nooit verplicht.
    Hartelijke groeten!
    Mattie en Dick

    1. Dag Dick (en Mattie)! Wat leuk dat je/jullie een berichtje hier achterlaten! Fijn dat jij en mijn moeder als neef en nicht weer met elkaar in contact zijn gekomen. Dank voor deze reactie, ik stuur ook nog even een wat meer uitgebreid mailtje. Hartelijke groet terug uit Stockholm!

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