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Severe covid anxiety affecting mental health

  • 19-03-2023 10:14am
    Registered Users Posts: 2,385 ✭✭✭

    I'm in a really bad mental place right now. I've always had health anxiety and so as you can imagine, the pandemic has been awful for me. I spent the first year desperately waiting for the vaccines to come out, and once I got vaccinated, I felt a bit better, but it didn't last long, since very soon afterwards, there was the Delta variant and all the talk of the vaccines not preventing infection to the extent they'd hoped. I had hoped to start getting my life back in 2021, but with all that, it was still very much curtailed. I decided I'd wait until the booster came out in late 2021 and then get back to normal after that...but then the Omicron variant happened.

    Now, in 2022, I did get out and about a good bit, but still enormously anxious about Covid, wearing a mask almost everywhere, sanitising hands constantly...basically I wasn't able to forget about it at all. I had the bivalent booster in October last year, which made me feel a bit more confident to do things, and I managed a couple of small gigs and some gatherings.

    This month, I was heading to Spain to see an old friend, and he is way more relaxed about Covid than I am, having caught it several times and been fine. He told me I really needed to stop being so paranoid, that being exposed to stuff was good for my immune system, and to just relax. I followed his lead....and caught Covid. And it's been pretty bad...way, way worse than I'd imagined. I genuinely thought that after all these jabs, it would just be like the sniffles and that I'd either not notice I had it or maybe test because of cold symptoms, but instead I got the full-on bad cough, uncontrollable coughing for several days, terrible fatigue, headache, and other really unpleasant symptoms.

    I feel really, really stupid that after three years of being so careful, I let my guard down. I'm seeing articles about Long Covid popping up everywhere, and stuff about how Covid can affect the body in so many ways. I am absolutely petrified that I've destroyed my health for the sake of something so silly. I really didn't need to sit inside a cocktail bar or go to a museum....I could have stuck to outdoor activities. If I'd carried on the way I was, I could probably have gone another year without getting Covid, just by wearing masks and avoiding indoor stuff and crowded places. I'm constantly spiralling, reading stuff, and feeling so stupid.

    The worst bit is reading that repeated infections could cause more and more serious damage. Contrary to what was believed earlier in the pandemic, it seems like being infected doesn't contribute to any 'herd immunity' effect, because the virus keeps mutating too much. So what now? I am petrified of catching this again given how sick I've gotten. It's probably the sickest I've ever been in terms of viruses. I'm assuming at this point, that the majority of people have caught Covid at least once? I was one of the few people friends knew of who hadn't caught it yet. I'm wondering how other people cope with all of this?

    Post edited by HildaOgdenx on


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,567 ✭✭✭Princess Calla

    Lainey you are young, you can't live your life in a bubble.

    I know from previous postings that you suffer with anxiety but you were making great progress in calming it. Don't let this derail you.

    I know myself I get anxious about stuff and at times it takes a real effort to do simple stuff , so you're not alone.

    None of us have any idea what tomorrow will bring so fretting about what might happen is not helpful, you'll end up making yourself sick.

    Try to stop worrying. There's no shame in talking to a GP and getting additional medical help for the anxiety just to get you back into the space of "living normally" whatever that is.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,385 ✭✭✭lainey_d_123

    I don't have the best health...have had numerous health scares over the past year and weird, random things going on. But I'm not that old (late thirties).

    Are you not worried about the possible long term effects? I also thought the fear of getting it would be worse than getting it, but now I really regret that I didn't mask up for longer and continue to be cautious. I felt like I was living a half life and that I was ruining my life because of worrying that Covid would potentially ruin my life, but at least I had my health, I wasn't dizzy all the time, didn't have brain fog, and could enjoy watching a film or reading a book. I could go for a long run every other day, or walk around the city for an hour. I had loads of energy. Now, I feel like my head is constantly spinning even though it's been at least 10 days since I caught it. I'm constantly thirsty and no amount of water seems to help. I just don't feel 'right'.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,385 ✭✭✭lainey_d_123

    That was indeed my thinking. It's not like I was cowering at home, BTW. I was out and about a good bit last year, travelled extensively, including long haul, and whatnot. Went to New York and had an amazing time. But I did mask up in indoor spaces and make active choices to avoid enclosed spaces. This was the first time I completely stopped thinking about Covid at all (or tried to). I purposely went to a museum without a mask, as a kind of exposure therapy, trying to show myself it was safe and I'd be grand, and now I'm sick as a dog with really horrible symptoms...head is spinning, ears are ringing, I'm getting weird pins and needles in my limbs. And of course thinking, why the heck didn't I wear a mask in that museum? I knew better than to do that. I think deep down I was fully expecting to never have a Covid infection I knew about at this point...I thought I'd be asymptomatically infected and not know, and it's come as such a shock to be this sick.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,604 ✭✭✭893bet

    Your choices are

    1) relax and lose a few days to a week of being sick per year due to covid


    2 lose the entire year due to mentally bashing yourself about covid and limiting your life entirely.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,873 ✭✭✭eggy81

    Tbh I was probably guilty of taking Covid a bit too lightly and was myself surprised at how hard it hit me when I did get it. But just know that barring some sort of underlying medical complications you will get over it and back to normal in time. It might have a period of less energy after the major symptoms disappear but you’ll be fine soon. There’s nothing to be getting too anxious about.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,275 ✭✭✭whomitconcerns

    Op, i travel a lot for work flying, buses, taxis, trains to etc, and live in England ATM. Packed transport, busy public spaces in many countries etc. Haven't worn a mask in last year or so, caught COVID twice in last 3 years. Both times through direct contact with family members in "safe" environments. Never through public interactions.

    Live your life.. Things can always happen.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,952 ✭✭✭...Ghost...

    I won't get into my own health, but suffice to say I was nearly killed on 2 separate occasions due to severe reactions to medication in hospital and I have had numerous illnesses since my late teens. I'm similar age to you. I was very concerned about getting covid and despite being very careful, I still got it. My concern was less for myself and more for passing it onto vulnerable people in my then occupation. It took about a month for me to get back to normal with the exception of my lost voice. Some people get over it quite quickly and other take several weeks. Few people suffer longer term effects, but either way, worrying about it won't help. Focus on getting well and know that if you do happen to catch it again, the effects will be much less.

    Free Palestine from Hamas

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,193 ✭✭✭Tork

    Lainey, have you spoken to your GP recently? I think you're catastrophizing because you're not in possession of the full facts. Instead, you've upset yourself by reading online articles about long covid and complications etc. You're talking in terms of having ruined your health, which sounds pretty extreme to me. What you're describing here sounds like what many people go through when they catch Covid. The timeline and symptoms you describe seem to be pretty normal but I think a chat over the phone with your GP would help.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭JoChervil

    I'm constantly thirsty and no amount of water seems to help. I just don't feel 'right'.

    OP, go to a doctor and check your sugar levels.

  • Registered Users Posts: 32,541 ✭✭✭✭NIMAN

    The government is even doing away with the covid app now. This is becoming like the common flu now, and it's not as prevalent in the community at all.

    Perhaps you are just reading the wrong stuff on the Internet? It's tike to stop and start living again. If you are vaccinated and have never had covid, it won't do you any harm should you catch it. You might have flu like symptoms for a few days, but you'll be fine.

    Get out there and enjoy life.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,385 ✭✭✭lainey_d_123

    It only came on suddenly two weeks ago after I took Imodium for diahrroea, and then stupidly drank the same day forgetting how dehydrating Imodium is. It's been up and down since then, but today it's back. Do you think I caused damage?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,385 ✭✭✭lainey_d_123

    I have got Covid and it's made me very sick. This is the entire problem. I caught it as soon as I stopped worrying about it, and it's way worse than I thought it would be.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,385 ✭✭✭lainey_d_123

    Is it extreme though? I personally know someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes following two covid infections, having been perfectly healthy previously. There was a famous writer in the US who collapsed and died from cardiac arrest following a covid infection. I don't recall stuff like this happening with the flu. Every single day, another article or tweet pops up detailing the terrible effects Covid can have on the body. I was really, really hoping that with all the boosters I've had, I'd be well protected, and now the illusion is ruined.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭JoChervil

    Generally any viral infection makes people prone to stroke or heart attack. But because it happens so far away in time, that people don't connect it. Covid is not so much different. Few years ago it was a huge research made in South Korea. And they discovered that for example after shingles, you can have heart attack or stroke for up to two years after that. So it is the best to be cautious after that and introduce natural blood thinners like omega 3 in your diet.

    I don't think you made a damage. It is more likely your pancreas was infected with Covid and might cause this higher blood sugar level (if it is so). I still would check with a doctor for diabetes. You can prevent it from developing with a good diet and exercises, if it is in early days. So time is quite important.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,193 ✭✭✭Tork

    Lainey, talk to your GP. Nobody here is a medical expert.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,170 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    Closed pending mod review.

This discussion has been closed.