At the age of 39 I didn’t expect to be living with a chronic health condition, much less one that resulted from a virus that 3 years ago I’d never heard of. I’m one of the many people worldwide who are suffering ongoing issues as a result of Long Covid.
The symptoms vary from person to person but most people have fatigue, joint pain, shortness of breath or chest pain and brain fog amongst other things. The same brain fog that has meant every post I write on here now is triple checked because my brain quite simply does not work in the same way anymore. Posts that may have taken me hours before now take days, weeks, I have some in my drafts that I simply cannot complete as I just can’t do it. I am not putting pressure on myself in this regard just recognising that my brain needs to be exercised in order to keep it from deteriorating. For me the biggest issues by far have been the joint pain and fatigue, I never really understand what chronic pain meant but unfortunately I do now. My legs hurt every day, every minute of the day. Some times I can almost ignore it as I am so used to it but every day at some point it will be overwhelming. Most of you won’t see this as I do mask it pretty well and also it can become frustrating to constantly feel like you are complaining about an issue that has no end date in sight.
I am in a number of Long Covid support groups and it’s frightening how many people have had to completely change their lives as a result of Long Covid. Many are in a far worse position that me having to use wheelchairs and make adaptions to their home to be able to manage their new lives. Companies like Age Co Mobility are able to help with making changes to your home, such as bathroom improvements and even stair lifts.
I use various things at home to help manage my symptoms, I have a heated massage pad, a vibro plate and electric heated blankets on my bed and sofa as my legs are far worse when they are cold. I am thankfully at a point where I don’t feel I need to make any changes to my home but like many my symptoms have deteriorated quickly this last year and I know there is always a possibility I may need to make some bigger changes to my life.
It is one of the only illnesses where it has already been recognised that pushing yourself day by day to exercise is detrimental to your healing. Long Covid sufferers have to learn the art of pacing, knowing that even on your good days you cannot do too much or you will indeed suffer for days sometimes weeks afterwards. Rest is key, it is the only way your body will heal and as a busy mother of two this has been the hardest thing to accept. You can no longer do all of the things and expect to get better.
It can also affect your mental health, sufferers are more likely to be depressed and anxious and it’s easy to understand why. It is so important to recognise the need to look after your mental health as much as your physical health. Reach out for help, talk about it and above all do not feel guilty for the things you cannot do.
Have you been affected by Long Covid? How has it changed the way you live your life?
*Collaborative post with Age Co Mobility.