Opinion: Understanding Covid’s impact on mental health

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After two years and four shots, I kept telling myself and my friends that I was invincible. It certainly felt that way until a few weeks ago.

Then i tested positive.

And it was not like I had been careful or anything but after a certain point, one feels like I even shared a bottle of water with a friend who then tested positive the next day and didn’t catch it.

Well, it couldn’t last forever. Luckily my symptoms were pretty mild, apart from being extremely tired/sleepy, I only had a high fever (38C) on the first night, and was coughing really badly on the second night.

On day 6, I already tested negative.

When I tested positive, the only worry I had was how my mental health was going to cope being stuck inside for days, not able to go out. I knew my physical health was in good enough shape that I would not die from Covid-19. I also knew that being vaccinated severely cut the percentage of severe symptoms.

When I took my first day of sick leave, I thought that it was reasonable to take one day off work for being sick.

But by day 3, when I tried to go back to work, I found myself physically unable. It caused more mental than physical anguish.

I cried that morning. I felt useless for not being able to work. I had never had to take sick leave for two days in a row before.

On top of feeling useless for not being able to work. I also felt very guilty towards my team as I couldn’t help them.

Luckily, they were very sweet about it and told me to rest and no need to rush to come back.

I quarantined at home, and the entire time, so many of my friends would send food or medicine. It made me feel guilty for being such a burden.

Throughout my life, I always thought that I needed to conquer everything by myself – that it was not okay to ask for help.

But the physical impairment caused by the disease and the mental trauma of being helpless changes you. And eventually you have to come to terms with it.

Everyone who gets Covid has to realize it is okay to take a step back and recover.

Being sick taught me that I’m not completely alone like I thought I was, that there are many people who care about me.

That it’s okay to tell your friends you are not okay and that you need help. That it’s completely okay to let other people care for you and love you—this is something I’ve been struggling with all my life.

Because of all the love I was getting during Covid, it also taught me that I can open up to my friends and warm up to them a little more than I normally would.

So, I came out of quarantine with this new perspective and hopefully my story helps some of the people getting sick that it is okay and to not feel too guilty.

And how important it is to have an amazing team at work who understand you and let you rest when you need to.

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