Last year, when my parents got infected by Covid-19, the entire family took a hit. But thankfully they recovered and a lot has changed since then.
Our lifestyle, food habits, and even tiny details of our lives have changed since the recovery.
If you are someone who has recovered from Covid-19, you might be facing complications of different magnitude.
However, learning about the issues you are facing would make coping with the situation a lot easier.
Overcoming mood swings and fatigue
We spoke with Tahmid Hasan, a social worker for the 'Pashe achi' initiative, and a recovered Covid-19 patient.
Tahmid Hasan shared with us, "I had all the basic symptoms of Covid-19 including tastelessness, fatigue, and fever. I did all the things required and isolated myself for 20 days. Even after recovering, I still had issues with fatigue. But most importantly my mental health took a hit. To this day I do not think I have completely recovered from the mental impact of Covid-19."
What Tahmid Hasan was going through is also known as 'Long Covid'. It is a set of symptoms that can linger for weeks or months after being infected with the virus, or they can even arise weeks later.
Even after recovering, if some of the symptoms linger on, then doctors advise to get in touch with them.
Getting back to your old self
Everyone talks about the physical impacts of the virus but the psychological and mental impacts are left unaddressed most of the time.
There are moments when your body feels fine but you cannot get your head to be productive and it is something many Covid-19 survivors have gone through.
A recent Oxford research discovered that one out of every three Covid-19 survivors were later on diagnosed with conditions like insomnia and anxiety, among other issues.
Urmi Barman shared a rather emotional story of her battle with Covid-19. "I remember being very scared when the first test results came back positive. All the members of my family except for my younger brother got infected. We had to battle our way into becoming negative."
"But even then I could not smell or taste anything. On top of that, I had skin rashes that really impacted my life even after my recovery", explained the undergraduate student.
But while fighting her physical illness, she gained a sort of confidence that spurred her on.
While discussing her mental health post-Covid, she said, "Although I had some psychological issues after recovering, once I won my battle against Covid-19, I almost became fearless. I had this feeling that nothing could ever stop me. But now I have become a bit more cautious as the situation is taking a turn for the worse again."
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
While Urmi Barman may have managed to remain confident, this is not the entire picture.
Dr Rasif Hossain Khan, assistant surgeon at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) shared how his patients struggle even after recovering.
He said, "A lot of the Covid-19 patients get traumatised because of their experience with the virus. The feeling of purposelessness often takes over. Sometimes they develop Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). It is mainly a disorder caused by the virus that does not allow the patients to be active. But with proper guidance from medical professionals, you can become better."
Physical complications caused by Covid-19 can linger for a longtime, sometimes indefinitely. But something that is less talked about is the mental impact left by the illness.
The unwillingness to get out of bed or even take a walk cannot be solved that quickly; it requires counselling.
Slowly adjusting yourself to the changes, eating healthy, and then finally accepting the new normal is the way to go.
Md Solaiman got infected in March and luckily he did not take too long to recover.
He recalled, "I only lost my smell and taste. Other than that I felt okay. As soon as I recovered, I tried getting back to my normal life and that helped me to remain positive and active. I cycle a lot, so I believe that has kept me in a good state."
Making small lifestyle changes will slowly help you build the healthiest version of yourself after being infected by Covid-19.
- Issues commonly faced by recovered patients
- Prolonged symptoms, also known as 'Long Covid'
- Extreme fatigue or exhaustion, and mood swings
- Insomnia or anxiety
- Brain fog or difficulty in thinking
- Feeling lost or purposeless
What can be done
Dr Rasif Hossain Khan, assistant surgeon at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) said that the best way to get past the trauma is by gradually getting back to a normal life.
He advises patients to do light exercises at home as they keep the body and brain functioning properly.
Doing basic household chores, talking to family members, or doing something you are passionate about is the ideal remedy.
The doctor also advises patients to stay away from the negativity of the pandemic.
Although the news and daily stats may be saddening, it is better to stay away from them and focus on personal goals.