Self isolating – completed!

What a horrible few weeks it has been. It’s such a scary time in the world as it is without having to worry about yourself and your family being put at risk by the pandemic. Learning family members had tested positive was really hard as you are immediately worried about their health and then the next second you think ok when did I see them last, have I seen anyone else that I could have put at risk in the meantime?

Luckily we’ve been taking everything pretty seriously so the only thing we needed to do was self isolate as we hadn’t been in contact with anyone else.

I did end up experiencing some symptoms, I lost my sense of taste and smell, I had a cough and a sore throat, and had a bit of a temperature. Basically I just felt really run down, so I called to check what I should do and was advised to book in for a test asap. I know not everyone has been as fortunate but I was booked in for one the next day so I didn’t have too long to worry about it.

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If you know me, or suffer with anxiety at all, that ‘not long to wait’ was still an endless stream of negative thoughts. I was going to get it. I was going to be seriously ill. I was going to be a burden to my family. I was selfish for worrying about me when other people already had it. I was selfish for stressing my partner out when his family members had tested positive and he was worried enough. I was probably overreacting and just had a cold. I should have kept quiet and not bothered anyone.. etc etc.

My partner drove me to the test centre the next day and I was honestly struggling not to be sick from the state of anxiety I had put myself in. I felt like I couldn’t breathe properly and my chest was tight (usual start of a panic attack for me), I could feel my heart pounding much faster than normal and the noises around me all started blurring into one. It was a drive through centre so we had lots of little stops where people in masks and hi-vis jackets told us which way to go and what we’d need to be ready for.

I was asked to roll down my window a little, where a polite young man told me slowly what I would need to do (he had a mask and gloves on and I had a mask on). He checked we’d heard and understood the instructions, dropped the packet through the cracked window and pointed to a parking space. I’m not going to say the test was quick and easy.. I mean, it is much simpler than I had been led to believe, but I’m an anxious and squeamish person when it comes to certain things. Swabbing the back of my throat for 15 seconds was impossible, I managed a few seconds and then would gag, but I did keep at it until I’d done it long enough. The swab for my nose was probably the bit I was most afraid of, it was definitely uncomfortable but not particularly painful, and I bagged and sealed everything as instructed. My nose felt a little sore and uncomfortable for the rest of the day but honestly if you need to get tested it’s easy enough and a little discomfort is entirely worth it in this case.

When you leave you are advised it will take 24-72 hours to get your result, and I think my email and text update came through about 36 hours after being tested. Thankfully it was negative, but I did stay isolating until my symptoms had gone just in case.

The day I finally felt ok again I was SO excited to leave my house. I showered for the first time in a few days, washed my hair for the first time in a week (depression) and got the dog ready to go for a walk. We were probably only out of the house for half an hour but it felt amazing to me. I could breathe, I was outside, the dog was running around being his cute little self. Me and my partner were walking and talking like it was just a normal day and I felt like a weight had been lifted. It was only a short walk and it really took it out of me but let’s face it, I hadn’t been anywhere for weeks and prior to that it’d been months of off and on eating a lot of junk with hardly any exercise or proper sleep.

I’m trying to make sure I leave the house every other day for that same short walk as a minimum now, sometimes I manage and sometimes I do it more or less often but either way I feel a lot better for getting outside.

If you are isolating and/or experiencing symptoms, you know someone who is or you are just plain freaking out about all this craziness, please reach out and ask for help. Whether it’s getting tested, someone picking up your shopping or just having someone to talk to on the other end of the phone/screen, don’t suffer alone. People care, and if you don’t believe that, then just know that I care, and I hope you are ok.

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