On Post-Covid Recovery and Losing my Authentic Voice

I’ve been writing this blog for over 10 years. This is my 588th post. So it is fair to say, that I feel comfortable here. I know my voice, I know how it feels to be in the flow, and I know when my voice feels authentic.

Since I tested positive for Covid almost 7 weeks ago I have really struggled to engage in any way with the blog, and at a more fundamental level with my knitting, or with anything else for that matter. In the beginning, in the acute phase, I literally had no energy, and also no breath, to do anything. No knitting, no reading, no writing. I suffered from brain fog and fatigue, and a vicious cough.

I was very nearly finished with a great knitting project just as I got sick. It needed only about 5-6 hours of work, adding a small amount of ribbing to armholes and neck, and weaving in ends. I think I expected that I would recuperate, and then pick up the knitting and blogging again without issue. What I have found is that there are many ingredients to this blogging experience, and I am recovering at different rates for each of these.

It started with my being able to knit. Not for long, as exhaustion really rode me hard, but after a month of no activity, I could pick up the needles and do some knitting. However, I couldn’t manage anything that involved thinking. A few days ago, I tried to pick up some stitches under the arm on another project – 12 stitches – and knit them in pattern. The pattern was K2P1 – not rocket science. I spent an hour trying to do it, and finally gave up. I could knit, but I couldn’t concentrate on a knitting task. So, the fingers worked, but the brain fog got in the way.

I finished the Myrtle tank 2 weeks ago, and it is beautiful. I want to share it with you. I want to blog about it. Every day I thought “Today I will brush my hair, and put on the tank, and model it, while Doug takes some photos.” And every day, I just couldn’t do it. I never noticed how much effort that part of the process took. Today, we finally took some photos. They are not the best photos given that I still look sick and pasty, but the knitting looks good.

So: sweater finished: check! Photos taken: check! And I can’t write the bloody post. I tried three times today to work on the post, and no matter what I write, it doesn’t sound like me. It feels fake. It feels like someone else is writing it. I want my voice back! (Funnily enough, writing this doesn’t seem too bad, so maybe that means that my whiny voice is back, while the rest of me is lost in translation.)

In the first week with Covid, Doug and I both lost our sense of taste and smell and it still hasn’t returned. Everything feels flat when you can’t taste. That’s sort of the way my writing feels: flat. It’s missing the sweet and sour, the spicy and umami, the bit that gives it character. Has anyone else experienced this? I expected the fatigue, the brain fog, the effort, the lack of mojo, but not the loss of authentic voice.

Please bear with me. I’ve got some good knitting to show you, once I get all the ingredients back.

14 thoughts on “On Post-Covid Recovery and Losing my Authentic Voice

  1. I hear you! 2 months (actually 9 weeks) post-infection here and I’m still not back to my old self. How I envied those folk who were able to knit , or do anything much at all, during the illness.

    The fatigue was overwhelming for weeks afterwards. Even now I’m still having at least one ‘nap’ per day. Today’s ‘nap’ was 3 hours long. It was my birthday mid-week and I had to skip the nap so I could spend time with friends and family. I paid for it the following day, which was very much a wipe out.

    But the brain fog is the worst. I say was, because in the last few days I’ve finally started to have periods where I recognise the old me. The me who was mentally sharp and could multi-task with ease. The me that had been replaced by someone who stood at the supermarket checkout completely forgetting I needed to pay for my shopping. I too felt that my interactions with others felt flat. I think because it took so much mental energy and effort just to be having conversations. Interestingly, I found this then manifested in breathing problems afterwards.

    But I’m here to offer hope and optimism among the frustration. Today I’ve cast-on for a test-knit of a colourwork hat, and it’s going well. I’m even able to have the Commonwealth Games on the TV in the background.

    Sending you lots of good wishes for a continuing recovery, and looking forward to seeing Myrtle when you’re ready.

    • Happy Birthday, Lesley! Thanks for the optimism; it means something from someone who has had a similar covid arc. I hope you keep moving forward and finding your old self. I, too, am watching the Games this weekend and doing a bit of knitting. Go, us!

  2. OM goodness, thinking of you as you work to get back to some sense of normal for you and Doug. And, remember we are thinking of you as you go through this and will be waiting when you are ready to share whatever, whenever you have the energy to do so. In the meanwhile take care and take it one step at a time. Warmly, Karen

  3. My condolences. It is a very nasty disease to be sure, one I have not experienced as yet. But I know quite a few people who have had it along with various degrees of yuckness (shall we say). Google ‘anti-histamines and long Covid’. They were nothing short of miraculous for one friend who had had it affecting her heart, plus other symptoms similar to yours. It took two weeks and she was back on her feet. Meanwhile, give yourself time and forget the blogging. We are happy to wait and would much rather you get healthy and fully recovered. Thinking of you and wishing you and Doug all the best.

    • One more comment: I would not normally leave a comment like this in a public forum but I thought it worth the risk. Long covid and anti histamines is actually quite well regarded by the medical establishment and not some quack remedy like some others. You can see this when you google it.

  4. Take all the time you need, we will still be here. Getting well is your #1 job. I haven’t had covid but did have serious fatigue and brain fog from another year-long illness some time ago. If I took a shower, that was ALL I could do all day, besides feeding my animals. Talking to someone does take energy too – I understand. Someone who hasn’t experienced it has a hard time understanding, they just think you’re tired and need to sleep more. Not true! Do whatever you need to do for yourself, we can wait.

  5. Oh gosh, so hard to want to get back on the horse but it just isn’t time. Take care, take time, feel your way. No hurry. Best wishes for comfort and strength!

  6. I’m so sorry you’re going through this, but I’m glad you’re feeling better and out of the woods. They say Covid can cause depression, and as someone with depression, I can say it sounds like that may be what you’re dealing with. Hopefully it will pass and you will get your zest for life back soon!

  7. I am so sorry for all that you and Doug are going through. Especially that it is having such lingering effects. Be kind to yourself as you come back from this. Looking forward to hearing about all your progress as you come back 🙂

  8. The day I tested myself to see if I had Covid I felt like I wasn’t myself, like I was the observer of me. Like when you are young and drunk and think is this really happening, am I really here, am I walking. I was positive and am so grateful that overall my symptoms weren’t too bad. But I definitely didn’t feel like myself and it was hard to describe to my husband how it felt but some of your experience is close to it.

  9. What a rotten deal for you and Doug. Don’t worry about your readers: we’re all rooting for you, so you don’t need to try to write a “real” post until you feel real yourself. Meanwhile, you can pop in every once in a while to let us know that you’re still ticking. Best wishes for complete recovery for both of you.

  10. What a rotten thing this Covid can be! Hopefully you’ll be back to speed in the near future. Meanwhile nice to see you here! 588 posts – that’s something to celebrate – suggest with something very strong tasting to test your senses! A good friend told me she kept giving strong sour/spicy/bitter/weird things a try every day until she realised she could actually taste a difference – for her licorice was the winner followed closely by marmite!

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