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Sue: I feel like I'm permanently exhausted

The long winding Covid road


Name: Sue

Location: Dublin

Infection Date: 17th of March 2020

Profession: Civil Servant

Hopes for the Future

I really want the medical professionals out there to listen to us. I don’t care if you’re a consultant who thinks they know better. They’re not living the lives we are & need to look at the human impact of long Covid, physical & mental. It requires a multidisciplinary approach AND a holistic approach. Our physical and mental health has been impacted by this huge shift in our capabilities. I’d also like to see it recognised as a long term illness & for people not to have to use what little energy we have to fight for every little bit of recognition of our illness. Finally, I would like more information to be available to people so we can help our families and friends to understand how unwell we really are.

My Story

I was sent for a Covid on the 31st March 2020! I had been sick more or less all the time since Christmas 2019 with a flu like illness worse than I’ve ever had before. I generally suffer with sinus and respiratory infections but this was a totally different experience. About 3 days after the test I got my positive result and my husband followed a day or so after me. I had all the symptoms of the time and a lot of the symptoms that came to light later - temperature, cough, sinus issues, exhaustion migraine and breathing issues. Two weeks later (because I only got 14 days for a Covid illness) I was back at work with a bang. But I couldn’t shake the exhaustion, insomnia & a cycle of respiratory & sinus infections began! These came with breathlessness, pain in my back, joint pain, insomnia & a worsening of the depression I’ve lived with for years. I already had an underactive thyroid and this also deteriorated. I could hardly function. To be honest not much has changed since then. I struggle with breathing issues, have had my the thyroid meds & antidepressant meds increased & I feel like I’m permanently exhausted. I can’t sleep & I can hardly walk the dogs most days. It’s not recognised in work as a long term illness so any sick leave isn’t discounted & so I find myself working while ill most of the time. I’ve had more sinus infections & respiratory infections since Covid than I could shake a stick at. In the mix I’m going through menopause. Life is full of secret surprises. I’m lucky to have a great GP. He really listens and does his best to help or get me help. Unfortunately I haven’t been as lucky with the consultants I’ve been referred to!

Most Challenging Aspect

Trying to function day to day is really tough. I’m constantly tired & I can’t stop working as I’m not eligible for social welfare payments as I was recruited as a civil servant before 1995 so pay a different social welfare stamp. It’s exhausting trying to keep going. Because I wasn’t an inpatient in Beaumont Hospital I couldn’t get into the Covid clinic there so I went to a respiratory consultant. I paid €220 to be told to lose weight (he offered a referral for gastric sleeve surgery) and exercise (25% more than I currently was) to improve my breathing which he decides, without examining me at all, wasn’t Covid related. I left feeling completely devastated & not remotely heard. I miss simply walking the dogs and enjoying the fresh air. Everything is an effort.

Most Positive Aspect

Joining this group (thanks to my mum who heard Claire’s interview on Ireland AM) has helped enormously. I dont want anyone to suffer from long Covid but meeting everyone online has helped me feel less alone on this journey. I’m so grateful for the honesty & openness with which people share their stories. Covid has even brought my husband and I closer together. I was so terrified of losing him he was so sick. I was sure he had pneumonia & was so grateful he came out the other side of it without hospitalisation.

Some people prefer to stay anonymous while telling their stories. If you or anyone you know has been affected by Long Covid, you can find solace in the Long Covid Facebook group. Click here to join.


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