Hidden Realities of Being Chronically Ill During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Hey there, my friends!! I hope that this past week has been kind to you and has treated you well. Today I decided to write a blog about the hidden realities while being chronically ill during this pandemic. I thought that you all might like it if I shared more about how I cope with my everyday life. Like many things that had to change, this is something that has drastically changed my life: both good and bad.
For those who suffer from chronic illnesses, it is much easier for those people to get sick with things like the common cold or flu. In the world before this pandemic and before I started suffering from fibromyalgia and I was able to work, I was usually the first (and last) employee to get sick during the colder and hotter months. I have to keep reminding myself that I have Celiac Disease and that it is an autoimmune disease and is much more involved than having a stomachache after eating anything that contains or has touched gluten. Getting the cold or the flu is not as scary to me now that we have COVID-19 in this world. Knowing how easy it is for me to catch these common illnesses has me very wary about interacting with other people in general. Whenever I go out to a Dr.’s appointment or grocery shopping my anxiety increases immensely, especially over the people who don’t wear their masks correctly, or even on occasion a couple of people who don’t walk into places like Walgreens with a mask on at all. Thankfully, the staff are usually quick to find them and tell them that they can’t enter into their establishment without wearing a mask and they stand by that. I don’t know what I would do if they entered without a mask and I saw except be that one person that speaks up and let them know that I am immune-compromised and I live in a high-risk household and that I would greatly appreciate it if they wore a mask. If they took that badly, I know that I would feel bad about being that one person who spoke up and said something. However, I believe firmly that information is power. For all I know, that person either doesn’t know how serious this pandemic is or they don’t care. I hope every time that I see who is out and about at these venues isn’t informed enough or that they somehow simply don’t have access to a mask (i.e. if they are homeless). I am very worried about what I would experience if I had got COVID-19, especially because of my extensive history of being an asthmatic in addition to my being immune-compromised. This is why I’m so worried about my physical life and this pandemic hasn’t been helping.
This goes hand-in-hand for me with my physical life; fear. Those who don’t know me or agree with me could say that I am living my life in fear in regard to this pandemic. I would agree, however, I would want to explain why that is the case and be heard out. I know that I am not the only one who is afraid of what would happen if they caught COVID-19. Coronavirus is a horrifying virus and the symptoms are scary. I find it to be scarier when I think about what could happen if I had gotten sick from this virus, especially because of my being high-risk. I do try to keep that fear in check though because there is such a thing as being petrified by fear. In my Google search for this blog, I found out that there a term for this and it’s called agliophobia. For those of you who don’t know what this term means, it is like being petrified with fright. Personally, I don’t ever want to live my life being petrified with fear. I already have problems with sleeping at night and sometimes fear plays a part in it, depending on the painsomnia that I always experience every single night. Unfortunately, horrible things happen to at least someone every day. Some fear is more than understandable. I just don’t want to live my life every day in an environment where I am this scared. It’s also not healthy for anyone to live their life like that.
The financial crisis that we are going through right now is outrageous. Many of those of us who are immune-compromised don’t feel safe to go into the offices that they work in. I know that I wouldn’t feel safe to go into the office if I were able to work, and that’s even if everyone followed all of the social distancing guidelines. The reason why I wouldn’t feel comfortable is not only because of the fact that I am high-risk but so are many of the people with who I live. I’m not only worried about my risk, but I am also very worried about the safety of my fiance’s parents who are high-risk as well. But let’s put that aside for a moment. Because I am unable to work, I have suffered from financial hardship. I don’t know what I would do without my loved ones because so many people have helped me out since I was unable to work since April 2019. Because I know what I am going through on this front, I am all too aware that I am not alone.
I have found my experience with this pandemic to be very isolating. I don’t see my own parents very often because of this pandemic. I haven’t held my friend’s children since this pandemic started and one of them I have never held at all. As harsh as this sounds, I know that I am not alone, especially because in this case so many of my friends are in the same position that I am in. I miss feeling my loved ones who aren’t in my household giving me a hug. Thankfully with living with my fiance and his family and us having internet access, it is easy for me to stay in contact with my loved ones virtually and I do have access to those hugs that I crave often. Having internet access helps make this blog possible. I can only imagine how those who aren’t as fortunate as I am must feel. This is a part of the reason why I believe firmly that it is important for each of us to be as kind as we can to each other — we simply don’t know what all each other are going through and it is important for us to check our egos at the door and to be respectful to each other as much as we all can. Instead of focusing on the negative downsides of being isolated, I do my best to embrace very simple moments that I have been enjoying more because I have been using it as a part of my distraction therapy for myself. Simply feeling the warmth of the sun on my face and feeling the cool autumn air on my cheeks and nose is so amazing. That’s the reason why I really enjoy walking Worf as much as I do — it’s because experiencing simple things like this are amazing and it often helps me feel grateful for the things that I do have in my life, instead of my focusing on the things that I don’t have. I continue to hang onto the hope that this crazy time won’t last forever and that I will be able to hug my family and friends again. Hope is always such a powerful thing.
Thank you so very much for taking the time to read my blog!! I just want to give a quick shoutout to someone who inspired me to write this blog post. Katarina Zulak wrote an article that was dated April 19, 2020, called “Fear And Hope: The Hidden Realities of being Chronically Ill in the Time of Coronavirus”. Her blog can be read at skillfullywell.com. I loved reading her blog post on this topic because she got much more detailed than I did on this subject. I hope that you will go to Katarina’s blog post and read it! Please feel free to applaud this blog post (where the hands clap together) and comment down below. I’d love to hear how you try your best to cope with the challenges that you face while we are dealing with this pandemic. I hope that you will have a great week! Stay safe out there! Until next week, my friends! :-) ❤