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My Emotional Journey Through COVID19: The side effect no one talks about.

For the past few days I have been struggling with my current affairs. So I thought to mark the end of Mental Health Awareness week I would write a post about why…..

I wrote a Facebook post a few weeks ago about the physical effects of COVID19. But what I didn’t cover was the emotional side of it – and there was a reason why – and that is because I don’t know how to explain it.

So here you have my attempt at putting it into words….. It will more than likely be a jumbled mess as I am struggling to process things right now and my arms are very weak – but I feel it is important to share. 

*This is not supposed to a representation of how others feel who have had it but a very personal story about why I am struggling with it.*  

You see, ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had a fear of illness.

I hate myself or anyone around me getting ill. My immediate thought is that they are going to die and I retreat into silence and anger (don’t ask me to make sense of it – it’s a protection mechanism and I have discussed it for hours with my therapists!).

But it all stems from watching my mam be in so much physical and mental pain. I grew up feeling pretty helpless and because of that I associate illness, no matter how serious it is, with death or potential death.  

I remember thinking a few times that my mam was genuinely going to die – first being when she had a brain haemorrhage, which was particularly traumatic for us as a family.

However, the ironic thing is, the time she went into hospital and actually died, was a time I believed that she was going to be ok. As I understand, my mams death wasn’t a shock to those around me. But as a 13 year old girl, my 46 year old mam dying WAS a shock. I didn’t expect it. The doctor told me that she would be home for Christmas and I believed him. 

Since then I have always “joked” in a light hearted manner that I wouldn’t get past my mams age. My grandma on her side died young, my mam died young, so why wouldn’t I? Carry on the trend. Makes sense in my head…..maybe not in others….

In addition to that childhood trauma, three months prior to my mam dying another person close to our family died very suddenly at the age of 18. A huge shock to everyone – again as a 13 year old child this was a lot to process.

So because of this I live with a day to day anxiety that I am going to die, or someone close to me is unexpectedly going to die. It’s something I struggle with. I have nightmares about things going wrong, I mentally prepare and organise how to react in unusual circumstances in case any of them actually happen and I am needed to save the lives of one of my children….

Or I sit and worry about what would happen if I got a phone call telling me Pete had died from being attacked whilst out with the dogs.

All pretty glum thoughts I’m sure you will agree, but things that run through my mind every day.

So why does this relate to what I am going through now you are probably wondering?

Well, over the years I have had relatively good health – a few scares here and there as we all have had. I’ve had a breast cancer scare and a couple of cervical cancer scares. All of which have of course sent me into a spiral of worry and anxiety about me dying….. Standard stuff.

But 2020 has made me feel as though my body is giving up on me. This may sound exaggerated and I know I am letting my arsehole inner voice get to me on this one, but I keep falling into that hole and I am increasingly finding it harder to stop.

A couple of weeks before I got ill, we experienced a significant grief in our family that one day I will be brave enough to talk about I am sure…… But I didn’t even get a chance to recover physically, mentally or emotionally from that, before my chest pains started and lockdown came.  

I then got thrown into another shit storm of emotions. 

We have all watched the world go to shit around us since this virus started – none of us have seen anything like this in our lifetime. The government updates, the constant media scrutiny not just from here but around the world – it has made us all so scared.

Ultimately it has caused the world to shut down.

I am not afraid to admit that I was, and still am scared of it. Every day I was hearing about people all around me, losing friends and relatives to it. So dam right I would be scared! It was getting too close to home for my liking.

Throughout all of this happening, my chest pains and breathlessness were getting worse and a little part of me was worried I had it – but I told myself to stop being silly because I didn’t have the classic sustained cough and fever. I had convinced myself it was my health anxiety getting me panicked as usual.

Then I found out I had it. The virus that the world was scared of. 

TYPICAL. 2020 continued to batter me.

Since then, I have been on a rollercoaster of emotions.

Physically I have been up and down, meaning that some days I have had hope I am recovering and coming out the other end. The next day I feel a huge let down as my health deteriorates and I go back to feeling the way I was weeks ago. I get so disheartened.

I guess what I struggle the most with is that everyone experiences it differently. So no one really knows what I am going through. I can’t really talk about it with anyone as even the people I know who have had it too, have experienced it completely differently to me.

I speak to professionals and the only advice I get is to wait. I know it is not their fault but there is nothing more frustrating to hear. I want them to give me a remedy – something that they can give me and say “take that and within a week you will feel normal again”

I want to feel an improvement day to day, I want to be able to go outside and walk to the grass, I want to be able to enjoy this time with my family.

I am tired of waiting – but I know that is all I can do.

No one really understands it or knows how to treat it, not even the greatest minds in the world – and that scares me. I read about all these little things I could be doing to help myself but I get so overwhelmed with it all. Even the smallest of tasks seem to confuse me right now, like I am in a fog. Trying to work out what is best for me is sometimes just too tasking.  

Another thing that is playing on my mind is that no one knows the long term side effects of this. I keep hearing people sharing stories of horrific complications – blood clots & organ failure. I got tested for blood clots when I was in the hospital and of course that sent me off in a tizz about my potential sudden death…..

So how I am supposed to feel about it? I don’t know…..

One thing I do know is that I am SCARED.

I’m scared as I don’t know what impact this is going to have on my body on the long term. I am scared as no one knows how to treat or how long I am going to feel like this. 

I am scared as every few days I think I may die from it. That fear may be triggered from me being unable to breath properly whilst I am watching the TV or even hearing a story on the news about someone who thought they were recovering and then they got worse and ended up fighting for their lives in hospital. 

I am sure people will read this and roll their eyes and say such things as “some people have it much worse” or “I’ve felt like that before and you are being a right fanny”

Yeah – you’re right – but that doesn’t stop me feeling the way I do. 

Contracting the virus that the whole world is losing their shit over and no one really knowing what to do to help or what the long term consequences are is a pretty scary situation to be in.

I am trying not to be anxious every day but it’s hard. Maybe when I wake up with no pains in my chest/heart and can I breathe properly again I might be able to chill out.

Until then I am going to feel my emotions and ride them out. 

I have pretty much come to the conclusion that no one knows how to feel right now, so why should I? 

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