opinion

'I had COVID three months ago, and I’m still not back to normal'

I've been sitting here for the last 30 minutes trying to find the right words to describe my reality since COVID - but they evade me.

And that. That is my reality since COVID caught me three months ago.

Brain fog so thick that it makes it impossible to muddle your way forward to the shore of sense.

It sits heavily at the centre of my forehead, a dull thrum almost always there. 

Signs to use when talking about COVID. Article continues after video.


Video via Mamamia.

Let me pause there to say that while I copped COVID pretty fiercely, it could've been so much worse. My heart goes out to those of us who had that experience and continue to battle towards recovery.

But this is my story. 

And at times I am incapable of crafting a coherent sentence. It happens daily. 

My thoughts submerge, and I struggle to tap out something as simple as a response to an email.

My brain is like a rusty tap, untended for too long: You twist and it splutters and coughs, in fits and starts, and the water is murky. 

Then sometimes, it gives a strong stream of clear water. 

And when that momentum happens, I jump on it. It's usually in the early mornings. Words and clarity, and out they pour. 

Until they don't. 

An abrupt halt, and in rolls the fog again. 

It's all rather challenging if your day-to-day requires... a brain!

My world consists of words and ideas and frequent deadlines. And if I'm entirely honest with you, there have been moments in these past few months where I have found myself wondering if maybe that's it for my writing career? What do you do when you can't deliver as easily as you once could? Nor can predict when the water will flow freely from your tap?

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"But you have still written!" I hear you say. "You've written many articles this year! And look at you on Instagram! You've been to weddings! With nice dresses on and make-up too!"

"You look fine!"

And it's true, I do and I have. But as anyone with any invisible illness will tell you, it's easy to be fooled by the shiny veneer of what presents on the outside. 

Image: Supplied.

Because there is a cost too.

And when I push myself, in work or by attending unmissable events, I suffer for the next day or days. The fatigue hangover.

Indeed, it's a tiredness that no amount of short blacks can cure.

It hits hard, and you must lay down... immediately. 

But "just push through". Fair. And I have and do, because life. But here is also what happens when I try to:

1. I stumble my way through the task, and it takes me at least six times longer to complete it.

2. I sit there blankly, with no thoughts or action of remote value. 

3. I get really cold and then the shivers come. And my eyelids grow heavy and literally start closing. 

The only salve is sleep. 

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But the fatigue is perpetual - even after a solid 8-hour slumber or even an indulgent 10-hour Sunday morning lie in. I will feel better, but never fully charged.

And so, I've had to change the way I live my life and structure my days, just to make the best of what energy I (sometimes) have. 

The gym has all but ceased, and I have limited my social interactions - not deliberately, I don't think - but if I find myself with any time to spare; I clamour to it greedily, wondering whether to take my dog for a walk or just hang out with my nearest and dearest. 

Because I don't have the same stamina for intense socialising. I will be absolutely fine for a couple hours or so, and then suddenly, my inbuilt timer gives alarm, and the show is over and I am done. My head feels like it is about to implode.

Covid was a b*tch, and three months later, it still is.

And I'm telling you, but it's not easy. To acknowledge that you feel weak. 

In fact, gosh, I'm so damn sick of talking about myself. 

When people ask how I am, I normally just make light of it. Sometimes, that's because I don't know how to handle their faces either.

It's either one of pity, or confusion. Sometimes doubt too. Like, how could you possibly still feel like this?

Am I soft? I've asked myself the same question. 

And no, I don't believe I am. 

But I am trying my hardest to navigate my way through this time, as many in the medical field are still learning with how to deal with it too. 

Perhaps it's re-awoken the beast that is chronic fatigue which I experienced after glandular fever 11 years ago. 

Perhaps I am just one of the unlucky ones. 

Am I getting better? Slowly. Some days are good, and some not so much.

And while, in the bigger scheme of things, these lingering symptoms could be so much worse, I am incredibly grateful that this is all that I am dealing with.

But I also look forward to hopefully returning to something closer to 'normal'. 

Because I will never take clear thinking and feeling well-rested for granted again.

Keen to read more from Rebecca Davis? You can find her articles here, or follow her on Instagram, @rebeccadavis___

Feature Image: Supplied/Mamamia.

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