25 years old and living with long COVID
Every single person has been touched by the COVID-19 pandemic this year, whether it be restrictions which have altered your ability to work, or you’ve had to cancel plans to see family and friends.
Over the Christmas period, my whole family and I were struck down with COVID-19. After months of being hypervigilant and shielding from friends and family my dad picked it up at the local supermarket. We all slowly started developing symptoms, and quickly got pushed down by the illness. It was a scary time, and some of our symptoms were severe. My most severe symptoms were extreme shortness of breath and intense migraines.
Being the youngest member of my household to get sick with the virus, I assumed I would be the first to return to full health. However, this was not the case. In the weeks and months following my positive test, I found my symptoms persevering and the panic began to set in. It was challenging to go up the stairs without feeling out of breath, I experienced constant headaches and sinus pain along with extreme fatigue and insomnia. I spoke to my GP who diagnosed me with long COVID. Strangely, I was relieved to get the diagnosis, as it not only explained why I was still struggling with my symptoms, but enabled me to get the help I needed from the GP. I also felt less isolated in the knowledge that others were experiencing the same issues.
A study reported up to 60,000 people in the UK have been suffering from long COVID for more than 3 months. I thought as someone who is relatively young, this was a statistic that would not apply to me. The term is used to describe people suffering symptoms of the virus for longer than the official WHO-endorsed two-week period, which is meant to be long enough for the virus to come and go. As a relatively fit person, I thought that I would bounce back within the two weeks.
For anyone else experiencing long COVID it is important to get in touch with a medical professional. In addition to this one of the most important lessons I have learnt is that patience is key. Waiting for your body to fully recover without putting too much pressure on yourself to ‘bounce back’ is vital. I think it has been a common occurrence throughout the pandemic for employees to feel the pressure to return to work before they are ready. Having the continued support of my team at Newmanor helped to ease any anxieties about returning to work. James and Karen allowed me the space and time I needed to fully recover and were supportive throughout.