Living with long Covid: 'The psychological effects have been much more trying'

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Thousands of people worldwide are suffering from the lingering effects of Covid-19 – from anxiety and struggling to breathe, to coping with hair or memory loss. Health24 spoke to a number of long haulers. This is Anjumara's story.

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Anjumara, 52

Contracted Covid-19 in March 2021.

I've been battling with short-term memory loss, mental confusion, severe hair loss, spells of exhaustion and shortness of breath on exertion since my Covid infection.

The hair loss has, however, not affected my lifestyle dramatically. Bald patches are not pleasant but I believe my hair will grow back.

I'm more concerned about the memory loss as I want to avoid conditions such as Alzheimer's. There were times where I had no recollection of what I did or witnessed during the three months since I contracted Covid. 

Shortness of breath on exertion and general exhaustion have affected my life in terms of the stamina and energy I need to work with my clients, with the result that I've cut down considerably on especially massage clients.

I try not to overexert myself anymore and only do what I feel comfortable with.

I want to start my exercise regime again to strengthen my heart and lungs, and I'm making a conscious effort to exercise my brain – doing crosswords, brainteasers, learning new piano pieces, etc.

While my physical Covid-19 infection has definitely affected my work and hence my income, the psychological effects have been much more trying. Covid forces you to face your mortality above all else.

It brings so much perspective. It makes one reevaluate everything that we take for granted.

I still feel my sense of taste and smell coming and going ... and this is perhaps the hardest part for me because I don't know what to do to fully regain these senses.

But I believe that there is a cure for everything, so I have no doubt that there will soon be a cure and treatment for Covid-19, including the long Covid symptoms.

*Many people suffer from the long-term effects of Covid-19, even many months later. If you are one of those people, and wish to share your experience, let us know, and your story can be told in our Living with long Covid series. You are not alone. E-mail your stories to zakiyah.ebrahim@24.com

*For more Covid-19 research, science and news, click here. You can also sign up for our Daily Dose newsletter here.

READ | Long Covid: More than 200 symptoms identified, many with a negative effect on work life

READ | If you’re living with long Covid, a Stellenbosch University researcher needs your help

READ | Like a 'blanket of fatigue': Inside Groote Schuur’s long Covid clinic

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