My COVID Hangover

I have always been clumsy, but since Friday, have had a serious case of butter fingers. My limbs felt weak, and still do. I fumbled trying to put on a pair of earrings dropping one in the process. At night I toss and turn trying to find a position that doesn’t make the tightness in my chest worse.

I can’t walk at the pace that I used to, I can’t practice ashtanga or any form of yoga besides gentle hatha, and I’m terrified of going jogging because of the horror stories I’ve heard of 40 somethings jogging and dropping dead of heart attacks.

I do my best to maintain a light work schedule but it’s invariably the one place I fail. For everyone else the pace of online meetings remains and when I can’t keep up I fear I come across as a flake. 

With all this going on COVID has taken a bit of a psychological toll on me. 

Anytime anything happens – a muscle spasm, an ache, a tremor, I wonder if it’s because I had COVID. And then I wonder if it’s just a minor ache or pain I would have ignored normally, is it is the after effects of COVID.

This fear is not rational. It seizes me when I’m trying to fall asleep, or when I get out of breath on a walk during the day. It frightens me because I do not know what to expect, and the world is awash with horror stories. 

Ironically, I never had this much anxiety while I actually had covid. I knew the weakness and fever came with the territory. 

Don’t get me wrong it was still not an experience I would recommend to anyone, especially someone who is used to being independent and active. 

But at least you know for the period of the illness that you will feel terrible and you just don’t worry unless your fever goes too high or your oxygen too low. At least that’s what I told myself. I am in no way a medical expert! 

However while I knew the weakness would continue, what I wasn’t prepared for was the headspace COVID would take.

It is always there at the back of my mind, lurking, waiting to surface. 

While I know I need to be careful, the stories that trickle to me of various people who have gotten very sick again or died from being careless have spooked me.

Compounding this all is my own building frustration with my limitations of my body. One too many meetings? I can’t get out of bed the next day. Walked too much? I can barely stand. Went to sleep at 12 am instead of 10:30 pm? My hands and legs tremble and I find it difficult to function. If I drink less than three litres of water a day, I wake up dehydrated. 

I’ve also led a very unequal existence with regard to my partner, who hasn’t had COVID. Walking the dog used to be a 50/50 activity but now is 90/10. Some days when I’m too tired he has to take care of meals or dishes. 

While he is a good guy and has never complained, I do feel guilt for not being able to participate fully because the tiniest bit of exertion and I’m down. 

And in general there is so much I want to do, so much I genuinely am excited to do. But I can’t do all these things because I have to take it slow.

While on some level I know this is good for me, so slow down, and to be humbled by this biological monster that has shut down the world, I also struggle to process the anxiety and the irrational fear that comes along with it. 

If I could clear the grip that COVID has on me psychologically it might be a little easier to deal with what is essentially my ego about my fitness. 

Would love to hear if others have had similar psychological trysts with this disease. 

5 thoughts on “My COVID Hangover

  1. Wonderful piece Mira. As a fellow COVID survivor, I can resonate with all you have said. As I type this on my computer, I have just had 2 Advils because of body-ache and fatigue that are irrational. To put it in a nutshell, at least 60-65% of my waking hours are spent feeling like crap. I sleep like I have been drugged, but wake often either to go to the toilet (a curse at my age) or just to lie awake because of restlessness.

    Like you, I have heard horror story after horror story about COVID survivors who had majoe health issues after “recovery” or have died. Did they overdo things after recovery? I do not honestly know. In one case, liver damage, in another heart damage, in many lung damage, and many of these with minor symptoms while they had the disease.

    The question that nags me day after day is simply “When will I ever feel normal again”? I can tell that neither you nor I have the answer to this question. Take in a lot of sun and fresh air in Goa sweetie. Enjoy what you have. God bless!

  2. Ah! Wishing you more strength, my girl. And lots of love too.
    As for having experienced something similar?: Though thankfully I’ve been safe from COVID, however, I did struggle a lot with aches and pains when a few years back I came down with chikungunya! No one told me the actual thing last for a few days but the after effects lasts for months. I struggled with joint pain for 8months.

  3. Absolutely… The fear of Covid is Bigger than the Covid itself… Have been through this 2 times till now waking up to a sore throat & cough… At times sacred to go to kitchen to get water thinking what if I touch the vessel to warm & pass on it to my mom or granny.. But the day passes & by eve its fine.. Morning thoght that passes away with a smile.. Awaiting another fresh day…

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