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The Long Covid Collective

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Hey guys!



I’m George, I’m 23 from Wellington, New Zealand, and I first got covid in July 2022 (why does this kinda feel like an AA intro hehe) I’ve been experiencing waves of chronic fatigue since - these waves lasting from days to months at a time.



I’ve hesitated to post on here for a while only because my long covid experience has mainly involved fatigue - alongside headaches, body aches, brain fog and increased anxiety. I can now see that this is still a pretty long and awful list of things, although my heart still goes out to those experiencing cardiovascular and respiratory issues.


When I first got covid I experienced pretty bad fatigue for the first 4-5 months, which was around the same time as I was finishing off my uni degree. I really struggled to find a balance between resting, doing uni, and working my part time job. Not really sure how I managed that but I studied from home and called in sick A LOT. Luckily my dad came to stay with me a few times to help with basic life things like supermarket shopping and laundry (my parents both live in a different city to me - which has been a struggle in itself) I was determined to finish my degree - and that I did!


But it wasn’t until around February this year when I started to feel like I could function again. I think this is because I didn’t have the stress of assignments anymore and was only working part time. I had also gotten better at pacing myself and learning to say no to things. For a few months I did okay, with my energy crashes reduced to only a few days at a time every so often. I do remember feeling disappointed that I was barely able to add to my savings or just generally doing more at this time, especially with a degree under my belt (feeling myself inching towards that quarter-life-crisis oop).


In May things started to get bad again and I’m not completely sure why. It could be because I picked up an extra part-time job as a tutor and pushed myself just a little bit too hard. The past 4 weeks have been really difficult. It feels like I’ve gone right back to the beginning, which is a shame considering the effort I’ve put into getting better. I’m staying with my parents for a bit to get some extra help with simple life things like cooking and cleaning. I’m barely holding onto my part time job back in Wellington and really missing my friends and the life I created for myself there. I feel like I’m learning *the hard way* that recovery isn’t linear.


I did finally get a real long covid diagnosis yesterday which was so validating after so much time. Previous doctors had told me that I *probably* have post-viral fatigue and I need to just rest - which can only go so far as I’m sure many of you know.


Sorry for the essay entry! It felt good to write it out anyways and I’m grateful that there’s a space for this, thanks Jemma!! :)


Cheers,


George

Chantal
Marta Luise
Jemma Bella
S
Jemma Bella
Jemma Bella
22 août 2023

Hey George! From the other side of the world (very jealous you are living in the country that is my dream to visit!).


Thank you so much for writing this and please don’t apologies for the essay - I just absolutely love reading about other people’s experiences and hearing what they have to say, it also really helps me with feeling less alone. So thank you! Also yes it totally feels like an AA meeting but I kind of love it? Hehe!!


I am so sorry you have these symptoms, please never feel like you can’t share your experience because you don’t have as many symptoms- your experiences and feelings are just as valid! So I am so pleased you decided to write this, although it absolutely sucks your symptoms got bad again recently.


What did you study at university? Wow you should be so proud of yourself for getting your degree done, that is honestly such an achievement. You must have been incredibly determined, and that is just so awesome that your hard work and determination paid off. I am so pleased to hear that you had support from your Dad.


I definitely resonate with you there that as soon as the stress of studying or work ends, your symptoms start to get a little better. I definitely found this. I was a teacher and it is now the school holidays and I have noticed a slight shift in a lot of my symptoms and I think that is all down to the emotional stress and guilt I put on myself (even though I was signed off work so couldn’t do anything about it!). I am with you there with the quarter life crisis…this has now become a personality trait of mine…I have no plan on what I am going to be doing next as I have stopped teaching and so yes, join the quarter life crisis club!


I am genuinely so sorry that things have gotten worse since May, it is so difficult to navigate the unpredictability of this all, especially when you think you’ve made progress in your recovery and then you take so many steps back and there is literally no rhyme or reason to it. I am so sorry you have had a tough few weeks. I really don’t think you should feel yourself responsible for this worsening of symptoms, I think you should be so proud that you have worked so hard on your recovery and just see this has a couple of steps back. I can imagine you felt like you were making loads of steps forward so it must be difficult to have these steps back…but you’ll get back on track with it all soon, I am sure of it!


You are so right that recovery is linear, I feel we have all gone through the motions of feeling a little ‘better’ and then feel horrific and thinking it will never end. I definitely know for me that a lot of the worsening of my symptoms is emotional stress, of course physical exertion is a big trigger too, but definitely stress doesn’t help. Charlotte is so right with what she has said about random flare ups and body signalling (thank you again Charlotte!), she is also sooo right about the fact that you know your body so much better now and know of all the things you need to do to get yourself back to how you were in February. The main thing is that you put yourself first and take it easy. You already have that degree under your belt (which is just awesome!), so make sure not to push yourself to much (but I know you know this already-probably a lot better than me!).


I am so pleased to hear that you finally got a long Covid diagnosis. I know I felt a sense of relief when I got mine and I almost felt more valid? If that makes any sense? Even though I know it shouldn’t think like that! But yes, so pleased you got that and I really hope you get all the support you possibly can in NZ. I also really hope you get back on track with our recovery and your tough time at the moment doesn’t last for much longer. Sending so much love George and thanks again for writing such a fantastic post, I really appreciate it. ❤️


Now I am going to be the one to apologise for writing an essay! Sorry!

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