Lingering Feeling: How naive I have been!
I believe saying that ‘Covid-19 has been lingering’ is an understatement!
First let’s consider the impact on our lifestyle and society. When we went into lockdown in March, we were in crisis so we all focused on the immediate risks and implications of the pandemic, without measuring the long-term consequences.
We triggered our Stress mode, or Flight-Fight mode, and reacted quickly to adapt to these drastic changes. Similarly to being chased by a lion, we quickly sought safety, without thinking too much about the long term effects of this encounter!
We adapted promptly to an unprecedented situation and got ready to run a sprint!
Many of us rushed to the shop to buy foods (and toilets paper!), hand gels, masks, etc. We found quick solutions to cope with the lack of connexion, the shops closure, gyms closure and any other venues that were part of our day-to-day life. Our living rooms became offices, nurseries and schools, all in 1! We attempted to find new ways of connecting and entertaining ourselves - and for some people more successfully than others. We went out of our comfort zone and found new ways to cope with things.
And here we are! Almost October! It now feels that we have prepared for a sprint when actually it is a marathon! Mental health difficulties are rising as our body and mind is trying to cope with the high level of stress that some of us have been through.
Although I knew deep down that the virus was not going to disappear as if by magic, I naively did not consider that things would linger until 2021!
This ‘lingering' feeling has become even more obvious to me these last few weeks, as I realise that the virus itself linger when you catch it! Naively again, I did not consider the difference between the contagion period (14 days) and the recovery period (who knows? weeks? months?). I considered myself healthy (I still do!) and I thought I would just do my two weeks self- isolation and back to work!
I was definitely pretty naive!
A recent study reported up to 60,000 people in the UK have been suffering from ‘long-Covid’ for more than three months. 81 patients out of 110 discharged from the hospital were still experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, including breathlessness, excessive fatigue and muscle aches, after 12 weeks.
Appearances are deceptive
Weeks after testing positive with COVID-19, I was still experiencing no taste/smell, fatigue, brain fog, sinusitis that led to feeling of breathlessness and headaches. Some days, I have contemplated getting out of bed with dispiritedness…
‘Let’s Fake It to Make It’ became my new motto last week.
I have dragged myself out of bed and got into a cold shower to jump-start my body. I have put make up on and dressed up to give me a sense of normality and then I have told myself that I was ready for the day and ready for work, But was I really?
So I beg you to be mindful and compassionate towards your family, friends and colleagues. This experience has taught me how much appearances are deceptive!
How often have we weighed in on whether a colleague was really ill enough to call in sick? How often have we commented on someone’s health by just considering the way they look?
Why do we think we have the skills to be doctor at the drop of a hat? And why do we even do it? Is it about feeling knowledgable and in control?
As a Lead Psychologist for an Independant Hospital specialised in Mental Health treatment, I can tell you some illnesses are not visible. My patients might be one of your family members, friends or colleagues. You might have commented on how well they were coping with everything, when actually they just came to see me and told me that:
- It takes them hours to have a shower because they fear that the virus has contaminated their homes,
- They cannot sleep at night because they are ruminating about the precocity of their jobs,
- They have started restricting and purging because they put weight on during the lockdown and they cannot look at themselves in a mirror, etc.
What do they have in common? They look fine but they are not fine!
Too often we assume that we know how people feel based on the way they look. Yet we forget that we live in a society where hiding our weaknesses and imperfections is common practice. If you doubt it, please look at your Facebook or Instagram Page and tell me:
How many pictures have you put of yourself when you were feeling down? inferior? weak? not good enough? etc.
So when you get a chance to see your family, friends or colleagues (online or facetoface):
Take the time to ask them how they are really doing,
Do not assume that you know how people feel or how life is like for them,
Be compassionate and kind as speaking to you might be the best thing that will happen to them today!
Appearances are deceptive!