When someone is infected with covid they go on a kind of emotional journey. Discover sensations possibly unknown to most of the people. Only those who have had the disease asymptomatically get rid of them. However, if we become infected and we have not suffered a traumatic experience, suffering it can become an opportunity to get to know ourselves better, make decisions and see the rest of the problems in a different way. For that to happen we need to understand what happens to us when covid enters our life.
In the second part of the preparation manual in case of infection, we will learn what emotions a patient goes through and how they can take advantage of them despite having the virus. We will do it hand in hand with experts and people who have overcome it. They are valid strategies for most of the people; Both for those who have not suffered a traumatic experience and for those who know the covid wound well, as happens to many health workers, those who have lost family and friends or those who suffer serious consequences, as explained by Marta Sanz, a clinical psychologist.
“Covid-19 is an intense disease. It is common for fatigue and physical and mental discomfort to start very quickly, ”says Techu Arranz, who accompanies people infected by the virus. All those consulted acknowledge going through three emotions far-reaching: denial, fear, and sadness. Denial appears early in the process. It is what makes us believe fictively that it will not happen to us, that “that” happens to others. For that we use a thousand excuses: because we have an iron health, because we take a lot of vitamins or because of any other strange idea. Denial also has another expression: anger. We project it onto whatever: the system, Wuhan (origin of the coronavirus) or the person who has infected us. They are habitual reactions that hide the real emotion: fear. To advance, we need to end excuses and anger, and accept that we are scared.
Fear is a powerful emotion, although it was possibly superior to the beginning of the pandemic. Ovidio Peñalver, psychologist and author of the book Collective emotions, suffered covid-19 in March. He was hospitalized for two weeks. “I was very scared when I was unwell at home and it was not known what was happening. It decreased the day they admitted me because I trusted the toilets who looked after me at all times, ”he admits. Serenity and confidence are fundamental keys to overcome fear during illness. “The story that we tell ourselves in this situation contributes or hinders our recovery and our experience,” says Alberto García Casillas, an expert in public speaking, who was in the hospital for several weeks with bilateral pneumonia. And it is that the sensation of lack of oxygen generates a lot of fatigue and a lot of mental rumination.
Using disconnection techniques can alleviate these feelings. Listen to relaxing instrumental music; to write a diary; to draw; entertain yourself with nice movies or series; visualize some place that generates calm; maintain the relationship with our loved ones, even if it is by video call and, above all, breathe and trustThese are some suggestions from those who have passed the illness with some serenity. “All I could do was breathe. Let my lungs do their job, ”insists García Casillas. Pilar Sanz, psychologist and author of the book Teach your children to digest emotions, affirms that breathing and speech are enzymes that allow our body to overcome certain experiences, among them, to accept what we cannot change and to change what can be transformed.
Sadness is another important station where we will stop at some point during the covid journey. It is usually in the middle or at the end of the process and arises from nostalgia for the physical condition that has been lost and that we do not know when we are going to recover. Techu Arranz says that in traditional Chinese medicine there is a metaphor that associates lung problems with melancholy. The way to overcome them is through self-care. Sadness is a stealthy emotion that disappears if we project ourselves into what allows us to learn the feeling of vulnerability and we stop focusing on what we lose.
When the disease is passed consciously and you are lucky enough not to live a traumatic experience, certain gifts are discovered. Such an intense emotional journey does not leave you indifferent. It offers you a vantage point to observe reality in a different way, to relativize problems, to recover old dreams or to dare to retake what was left in the inkwell. And all this with renewed mental and emotional energy (physical energy takes more time). So, at least, it has been my own experience. “In a way, I feel gratitude for the covid. I made important decisions about my lifestyle and I repositioned my scale of values, ”says psychologist Ovidio Peñalver. We insist: it is better not to go through the disease because of the consequences it can cause, but, if we become infected, we should develop serene observation of ourselves and what happens to us to take advantage of it as a deep learning that we would hardly achieve otherwise.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.