In this story: Long Covid /

"Reducing isolation, increasing support, encouragement, validation and understanding were all things I wanted."

“In 2020 I was setting up my business from a cupcake hobby that had grown into something that was sought after for special events, and I was also going to sing part-time. I was starting a new creative chapter of my life. Then COVID-19 slammed into my body and shook violently away any sense of bodily safety, never mind future aspirations.

I started the Long Covider Peer Support Group for Scotland because I knew there were others out there like me struggling, suffering with a baffling condition caused by the virus. People like me also alone, scared, confused and struggling with where they fit in the world and the unknown date for the hoped for day of complete recovery. Reducing isolation, increasing support, encouragement, validation and understanding were all things I wanted and from Facebook I could see others did too.

Long Covid has no borders, but I live in Scotland and focused the group here. Whether it be sharing MP letter templates or just being a place to connect people and ideas on how to better get our voices heard as a recognised part of the pandemic, that was my goal.

We desperately need treatment and understanding. We also need to be a living example for an added level of vigilance around COVID-19 and precaution against its nastier health impacts through encouraging vaccinations and following safety measures.

I also realised the importance of self-care. Mine involves listening to YouTube videos on deep progressive muscular meditation, which is someone talking you through relaxing every muscle in your body and is extremely calming. I also do Yin yoga which is a type of yoga you relax into, it requires no strength with gentle long held stretches which help reduce my muscle pain.

I have found expressing myself through creative writing, especially poetry, a golden nugget in this difficult time. I enjoy writing about anything and everything. A poem I wrote about my Long Covid experience will be in a Long Covid documentary film being made in the United States, which I am so pleased about and really helps boost my writing confidence.”

The Self Management Awards take place during Self Management Week 27 September – 1 October.

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