I have been trying to keep a regular blogging schedule, as I am on a long, slow path to starting an online business. I envisioned my audience for this mental health blog, and I had already planned out all of my content for March. I was going to post about something entirely different yesterday, and I know I will publish it eventually, but later in the day, my world changed as I came to a realization: I may have coronavirus.
I could not deny it anymore after I had shortness of breath yesterday evening. I have no underlying issues such as asthma, and I was merely sitting, not exerting myself physically. For the past few days, I had a dry cough, headache, sore throat, body aches, and overall malaise. I have been hypomanic throughout it all, so really, it could be much worse. But here’s the thing — the only known effective way of not spreading coronavirus isn’t necessarily washing your hands all the time or using hand sanitizer — I got it from somewhere despite everyone around me doing all of those things. No, the way to do it is to self quarantine. And that is what I intend to do for at least the next two weeks or until the symptoms disappear, whichever comes last.
A self quarantine is nothing like a vacation. I have no worldly responsibilities right now, but I also do not have the physical capacity to do what I could do if I were feeling completely well. This self quarantine is already giving me cabin fever, and I am an introvert through and through. I made plans with friends and family this weekend, and I had to cancel all of those plans. I have to cancel my dental cleaning on Thursday because I don’t want to infect the dental hygienist. Oh, and I need to take time off work for the next two weeks. Everyone at my work may have to be quarantined.
My wife is here at home with me, so at least I am not alone. This is not the only way I am privileged despite being sick during this pandemic. If the Senate does not push the relief bill through to Trump, then I will not get paid sick leave, but that is not going to get me evicted from my home. I have other means of obtaining cash immediately.
I am trying to reach out to others in the world about my mild plight, but people are not taking me seriously. During a worldwide pandemic. I called the on-call doctor this morning because their office is not open during the weekend. When I told the doctor I did not know whether I had a fever for sure (I have all of the other common symptoms of coronavirus) because I do not have a working thermometer at home, the doctor told me to go out to a pharmacy during my self quarantine to buy a thermometer, and told me to call back if I have a fever. He told me to break my self quarantine, thereby risking infecting others if I have not already, to prove that I possess every single symptom of coronavirus.
Oh, and there are only 5,000 coronavirus test kits in the state of California — and they do not include all of the necessary chemicals to even be usable — so I guess they are trying to weed people out who may merely have the flu. But this is a very irresponsible way to manage this pandemic. There are more than 40 million people in the state of California. More than 5,000 are going to become infected, if they are not infected already.
When I tell others I may have coronavirus, I get some sympathy and kind words, but I also get people who tell me it may only be the flu. My entire experience is invalidated. It feels as if I revealed to the world that I have bipolar disorder all over again. Although the world is in the middle of a pandemic and literally anyone and everyone can contract coronavirus, there is still a huge stigma against people who already have it or may have it, just as if it were a mental illness. In that respect, having coronavirus is very isolating.
I genuinely want to help others by telling my story. And that is why, for the next two weeks, I will repurpose my mental health blog to talk about my experience with possibly having coronavirus. I will also talk about how it affects my mental health, and offer hope to the people who are afraid that coronavirus is going to ruin their lives and the world.
I was feeling utterly fatigued on Monday, the day after the beginning of Daylight Saving Time, when most states in the United States turn their clocks ahead one hour, although I got almost eight hours of sleep. On Tuesday, I started having a dry cough and sore throat. Then, the aches and pains came around Wednesday or Thursday.
I told myself it could have been allergies or merely the flu or a cold. Besides, I did not want to give in to the constant coverage of coronavirus and the scare on social media. But when the shortness of breath came yesterday, that’s when I knew for sure. That is when I could deny it no longer — that I have coronavirus.
Today, I have been having pain in my bronchial tubes while my immune system is building antibodies to fight the virus. Sharp, stabbing pains. I am able to do stuff such as wash dishes and make simple foods, but I need a long sitting break afterward to recover. I just had to bite the bullet now and write this long blog post, although I feel fatigued.
If you think you may have coronavirus, do not panic. Do not buy all of the toilet paper. Diarrhea is not one of the symptoms. Excessive urination is (yes, I possess that symptom, and also dehydration), but that is not going to use up much toilet paper. Do not be scared. Most cases are mild. Unless you are elderly or immunocompromised, you are not very likely to die as long as you quarantine yourself and take it easy for the next two weeks or so.
This pandemic will eventually end, but China, the epicenter of the virus, just passed its peak now. It took three months for the cases in China to peak. The United States is one month behind China’s progression of the virus. That means that we have one month left to hit our peak. So please. Quarantine yourself. Don’t have any contact with others who are not in your household. If they do not have coronavirus yet, then wear a face mask around them.
The world is not going to end. It will be disrupted for a while, but we will recover. I am sure of it. If you are finding that others are not emotionally supporting you in your time of illness, then you can always contact me. I will understand. I will never minimize your pain.
Never give up hope.