By: Shauna Smith
Since the beginning of this mysterious virus, we as citizens have forced ourselves to learn how to cope and come to terms with the fact that life as we know it has completely changed. We have seen Covid-19 consume our media, our dinner conversations, and our social media feeds. We often struggle to remember a day where we didn’t have to wear masks in a store and social gatherings would sometimes feel like an inconvenience. Covid has greatly influenced our education system, our social lives, and in many cases has made mental health take a turn for the worst. While many believe their troubles end after recovery, I want to highlight the pain of those suffering with the lasting effects.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms associated with Covid-19 can last for months which can result in the lungs, the heart, and the brain. Whether you are young and healthy or elderly, this virus has proven its ability to affect us all. Many lasting symptoms include, fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, joint pain, chest pain, loss of smell or taste and other concerning symptoms such as, hair loss, and difficulty concentrating and sleeping. There are some despite the facts prevented that believe this virus is harmless and as a community I urge you to take a moment and look at those hurting. To aid in understanding the trauma this pandemic has caused, I interviewed some of those affected.
After interviewing a college student with an active lifestyle, I learned that she and her boyfriend contracted the virus early this year. She described it as the worst thing she has ever experienced and constantly felt a weight on her chest, disabling headaches, and lost her ability to taste and smell. Months later, she has not fully gotten those senses back. Her boyfriend on the other hand, felt better quickly and did not experience symptoms throughout the entirety of his experience. Not only was she suffering from physical pain, but her mental health as well. Recovery involves missing work, not being able to have the comfort of family and friends, and feeling alone. One of the scariest realizations she had in her experience was knowing that no one truly knew what to do, and there was no guarantee of what would become of her condition. After both of their recoveries, it was revealed that her boyfriend was suffering from lung damage as a result of the virus and affects his ability to perform at his job, and small tasks in his personal life. While every experience is different, we must show compassion and support to the factors we don’t fully understand about this virus.
If you or someone you know is dealing with post-covid symptoms regardless of age or severity, please visit www.getmentalwellness.org for information on support meetings and resources. Let’s all work together as a community to not only break the stigma surrounding mental health, but surrounding this pandemic as well.