BLOG & ARticles

Monthly Long Covid Open Mic & Chat Cafe-style Events

Following the inaugural event last month, this will now be a regular thing. It will take place online on the last Tuesday of each month at 8PM (UK time) 

Come along and share if you wish, chat or listen & chill. There is no pressure to have your camera on & jammies are encouraged. The idea is to be super relaxed and supportive. 

Next few meetups: 

26th July, 30th August, 27th September.

Long Covid Open Mic!

Very excited to announce this - Long Covid Open Mic event!

Supportive, no pressure opportunity to come together and share your music, poetry etc in a friendly online environment (or come along and watch)

If it's a success, this could become a more regular event.

Sign up HERE

Sleep!

Looking daft, but sleeping better

Something that many people with Long Covid seem to struggle with is getting good quality (or even any) sleep. It's certainly been an issue for me. 

Now, as always, I'm not saying that I have all the answers, nor am I in any way a medical propfessional - I'm only sharing what has helped me.

HERE is my latest - how using Patrick McKeown's techniques, as well as working online with Wibbs at Mandukya Yoga has helped me hugely to improve not only my breathing but also my sleep. 

Listen to Wibbs chat about breathing on the podcast HERE

It's absolutely beautiful to wake up in the morning feeling rested!

Wild Swimming! 

Something I've been trying recently is wild swimming. It's been really fun actually and it's getting easier each time. It doesn't hurt that I'm lucky to live near some of the most beautiful places. 

I did a wee segment on it HERE if it's of interest.

It's a bit too soon to tell if it's making any long-term difference, but I do feel like I have a bit more energy and in terms of mental health it's definitely been a good thing! 

Loch Ness a few weeks ago

Covid Memorial Event

I was really flattered to be asked to play at the Covid Memorial Event in Glasgow's Pollok Park on 23rd March. This event marked 2 years since the original Covid lockdown in the UK and honoured the losses of the bereaved as well as those with Long Covid and anyone else affected by the pandemic in other ways. 

After a short ceremony, wreaths were laid by the first installation of the project while "I Remembers" were read. 

This video was made by Colin Mearns from the Herald, and you can hear more about the project (and how you can still be involved) in Episode 24: Alec Finlay - "I Remember"

Thankyou listeners!

 

The podcast has never been about downloads for me, but I'll admit that hitting the 10,000 downloads milestone this week gave me a warm & fuzzy feeling. 

It's satisying to feel that people are listening, that the podcast is helping them in some way and that all the time and effort I've put in is worth it. 

Thankyou so much to all my listeners - both past, present & future!

Support Group

I've set up a Support Group on Facebook. 

There are many excellent support groups for Long Covid, and the idea behind this is to encourage creativity and positivity - a way of making something beautiful out of something horrible, whilst supporting and helping each other. 

You don't need to be creative yourself to join! Feel free to come and join us HERE

Good Morning Scotland!

I was very chuffed to be featured on the Good Morning Scotland on BBC Radio Scotland yesterday (Dec 30th) talking about my Long Covid experiences as well as the podcast. 

Thank you so much for the shout-out and for helping to raise awareness of Long Covid.

Listen in player on the right or HERE

Some of us will be looking forward to Christmas and seeing family, whilst others may be dreading spending it alone and unwell.

 

Whether you celebrate Christmas, are just looking forward to some time off, or maybe are working over the holidays - I hope you find some peace, lots of rest and hopefully a little joy. 

From the Long Covid Podcast - Merry Christmas & happy holidays.

Hope is Kindled

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Last week we went on holiday. I wasn't expecting it to be my normal sort of holiday - where I'm out doing monster walks on the hills, camping in exciting places, cycling big distances and generally being super active. 

However, we thought getting away might do me good (and poor Malky was getting bored of the same walls day after day) so we booked a little cottage on the Isle of Mull. 

It turned out to be an amazing idea. Just being away in the middle of nowhere was relaxing. The weather wasn't great but there were enough good windows of weather that we were able to get out and do some little things - a walk along a beach, a stroll to a loch. Just being there was wonderful. I was able to de-stress a bit and I felt better than I had in ages. 

My theory is that Long Covid is caused by the autonomic nervous systems over-reaction to the virus. This means that I need to try to get my ANS to calm down. A lovely relaxing week away from stress and a little confidence in my body might have been just what I needed. 

I am not fixed yet - but I now have belief that maybe, after 20 months, I'm heading in the right direction. No longer just "ill" but hopefully "recovering".

A face for radio!

I was very honoured to be interviewed by the lovely Andrew Thomson for BBC Highlands & Islands radio. 

It was very cathartic to speak through my experiences with someone understanding and wanting to help. 

I really hope that it will help raise awareness and prevent others from getting as ill (or even more ill!) that me. 

The importance of friends, support & those who "get it"

During the pandemic I have felt pretty isolated - so have most people - it's been a pandemic for goodness sake. But as restrictions have reduced and people have been allowed to do more things, I've noticed the isolation more.

 

I'm still unwell and unable to do a lot of things which cuts me off from people and things that I would normally be wanting to do. But I'm also deliberately avoiding going to places where people congregate, like pubs & restaurants, because I'm terrified of getting infected again. Although I am being very careful, others are not, and having still not recovered from Covid the first time, I'm not willing to put myself in a position where I could be at risk of catching it again. 

A few weeks ago, amazing brain injury warrior AJ and her partner JP popped in on their way back from a holiday. It really brought home how important it is to have some contact with people, but more importantly, people who get it. Having a conversation with someone who understands the frustration, fears, and other feelings that you get when, almost overnight, go from someone fit, healthy and invincible to someone who is completely reliant on someone else. 

Many people will be sympathetic, but support and understanding from those who know what you're going through - absolutely invaluable! 

It was just a day. But it was my birthday.

Pre-Covid, I would generally try to spend my birthday in the hills. This partly stemmed from a desire to be outside all the time, but also as a child growing up in England, an early July birthday was still during term time and always had a plethora of concerts and events surrounding - and often on - it.

Last year, July 2020, I was around 4 months on from Covid infection and we naively thought that I was getting better; that I was nearing the end of my Covid journey and the 4-month-long nightmare was almost over. We went out for a walk – it was nothing spectacular and was harder work than pre-Covid, but it felt amazing to be out. I thought it was the beginning of getting my life back.

A year on, July 2021, I was still ill. Although I wasn’t suffering from the acute symptoms I’d had in March 2020 when I got sick, I still had horrible fatigue, breathlessness and many other lingering issues. I’d not been able to return physically to work, but my boss had been happy to let me work from home until this point (given that schools still had a lot of restrictions and a lot of teaching was still online anyway for music instructors).

I had limped my way to the end of term – I don’t think I’d really realised quite how tired I was – and from the end of June I hit a relapse. Most days were spent on the sofa; we were able to get out a little on the bikes when I felt up to it but generally I didn’t. I was bored and frustrated. Malky suggested that on my birthday – the second week of July – we could go to the beach. We could enjoy the views, drink hot chocolate and eat ice-cream; nothing that required too much energy.

The day of my birthday I felt even worse. I made it to the sofa and that was where I stayed. It was my worst LC day in over a year. My breathing was all wrong, I felt nauseous, I could barely sit up for most of the day. We didn’t go anywhere, and I struggled to sit at the table to eat dinner when 2 of my friends came over for a few hours.

My 32nd birthday. It was just a day. But it was my birthday.

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Birthday 2017 - the Inn Pinn on Skye
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Article for Walkhighlands

Long Covid - a hillwalker's experience

This is an article I was very honoured to be asked to write in January for the website www.walkhighlands.com - a website I used to use a lot and made many friends (and even met my partner!) through. 

It details my struggles with Covid-19 and Long Covid and how we have tried to adapt from a fit, healthy & always active lifestyle to one where I have to rest a lot and can do very little physical exercise.

Article is HERE