Saturday, March 4, 2023

Getting Omicron on top of Long Covid 19: the good, the bad and the ugly

I'm not at my best today. Husband and I are recovering from Omicron infection on top of long Covid 19 and we've learned some things that we don't like. Here's the good, the bad and the ugly of double covid infections. (Disclaimer: we wore masks, practiced social distancing, sanitized, got vaccinated, no Covid deniers here.)

The good about Omicron and long covid: Nothing. 

The bad about Omicron and long covid. Long covid causes inflammation around the heart in many sufferers. Getting a second infection doubles the impact of long covid. It makes breathing problems more difficult and if you already have compromised respiratory issues or autoimmune problems, such as OSA (sleep apnea, arthritis, chronic pain and chronic sinus in my case), really not good. 

If you have SWSD (shift work sleep disorder) as both my husband and I have, him working 12-hour nights and weekends and me trying to keep up with his schedule plus my own day shift, really, really not good. Oh and did I mention PTSD? That's caused problems for me since childhood, in the form of crazy, bad, non-stop dreams. So extra sleep problems on top of sleep apnea and SWSD. 

The ugly about Omicron and long covid. I've wrestled with anxiety, guilt, shame, depression and low self esteem all my life. Being an empath, I've carried a lot of peoples' burdens and not been very good at knowing where I stop and others begin. It's all mine to carry. I was not properly cared for as a kid. Self-care was not taught and consequently, not practiced. I was managing these things but then long covid kicked it all in the ass. Chronic fatigue, pain and exhaustion make something as simple as rolling over in bed or stooping to pick up a grandchild feel like scaling K-2. 

And now, the really ugly: paranoia and fear. I'm afraid to admit this chronic fatigue and pain because I fear scorn and disbelief. You're just making excuses, the voices say. Covid isn't real. It's all in your head. Covid deniers can be a pretty pushy bunch. Sometimes they've managed to gaslight me into thinking I have imagined it. 

Because gaslighting is an old acquaintance. All those experiences from childhood, of being disbelieved, shamed, gaslighted into thinking right was wrong and wrong was right, and I was always wrong, that I was able to get past, now haunt me. Long covid brain fog makes it hard to sort out and address. I end up tilting at windmills. Exhaustion makes me not care. What the hell, let it consume me. 

So what about faith, you may wonder. Yes, I call myself a Christian. I believe and trust in God's care. I think. Sometimes I don't know if I do or if I just think I do. Long hauler brain fog confuses and disorients me. But then I hear the covid deniers mantra "faith over fear." and weirdly that one is what shines a light. Not in its accuracy, but in its crazy-dangerous wrongness. 

Faith over fear in its true sense means that we choose to trust God rather than fear the enemy. Faith over fear in the Covid denier version is a lunatic notion that if you have enough faith, you won't get sick. And that this magical "faith" trumps common sense prevention (masks, vaccines, social distancing) which deniers have gaslighted us into thinking is fear and something to be ashamed of. 

So what is the conclusion? To accept that long haulers must take it one day at a time. I was taught to ignore suffering, harm and pain. Now, old voices tell me that acceptance that I will have some good and bad days, is weakness and attention-seeking self-pity. And I admit, I'm tempted to believe them. To give in to what is really fear. But then, it angers me that thanks to God, I've made so much progress in the war against depression, shame and anxiety. And in this case, anger is a good thing. It energizes me to keep trying, seeking, praying and trusting my higher power. 

What struggle is behind the next little window on the Covid calender? Dunno. I guess we'll burn that bridge when we come to it. (Thank you, husband, for that hilariously empowering mental image!)

Thanks for reading me out. If you're a long hauler pal, I'm rooting for you. All my love, mar

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