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Mental Health And Me: Naan Breads and Covid-19

I know we are all tired of hearing about Covid-19, but I am also sick and tired of people saying “It’s just like the flu”. Yes, it is for some people, but for me it wasn’t. I have flashbacks to my experience of it at least 3 or 4 times a week, and brings back terrifying, anxiety driven thoughts. So much so that I have hesitated to talk or write about it in any depth.

I got the virus in early March. It started with a fever, then the symptoms got progressively worse.

I’ve had a lot of people ask “what was it like?”. For everyone, it is very different, but for me, it was like someone was pressing down on my chest 24 hours every day. Thankfully, I didn’t have it bad enough to go to hospital, but twice it came very close. One day, I woke up from when I drifted off to sleep for an hour, not being able to breathe or catch my breathe, and was having a coughing fit. I thought to myself, is this the end? Is this where I die? When faced with your own mortality, your mind does weird and crazy things. I would set my alarm to go off every 4 hours to take my medicine, I would try and sleep in an upright position (most of the time, to no avail!) because lying down normally gave me so much anxiety and discomfort that it was just easier to sit upright. I did this all, because I just didn’t want to die. When you think you are going to die, and everything you look at on social media tells you that you are going to die, it can put your mind into weird places. I didn’t sleep, and I couldn’t see anyone because of self isolation. I didn’t see anyone for a month.

When I was very ill, something very strange and terrifying happened. I started hallucinating. One night at around 2am, I hallucinated that the wardrobe at the end of my bed was throwing Naan Breads at me, and in my very sick state, I had the delusional thought that the Indian takeaway “Dishoom” was involved in a conspiracy to chuck Naan breads at me. This is, obviously, a very funny and strange thing, but it was absolutely terrifying at the time. Sometimes, whenever talk about it, the feeling I had comes back, with the slight loss of breathe. Another night, I hallucinated that the wardrobe at the end of my bed was talking to me, and was the entity controlling my ability to sleep. I never thought that I would have to reason with a wardrobe! Those are the only hallucinations that happened, thank god.

When I was finally starting to recover, which felt like an absolute age, I was able to go back to my family home and properly recover. Recovery took a month, so overall, my experience lasted 2 months. 2 months of absolute hell. 2 months of thinking I was going to die.

I’m not posting this for pity or to scare anyone. I’m posting it as I have kept this to myself for ,what feels like, so long. Some of the events I haven’t even told my doctor about. I’m hoping that by writing this, I can make peace with a time that was traumatic for me. Anyway, keep safe everyone! G x

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