Prior to having Long Covid, Annabelle described herself as very energetic, with an active family and professional life. She has felt very unwell since contracting Covid in March 2020. She feels as if she has aged 10 years since getting Covid. She has pain in her joints and much lower energy than before. Annabelle was interviewed in August and October 2021.

Before she had Covid, Annabelle was healthy and full of energy and had a very busy professional and family life. In March 2020, she became ill with Covid. She had a high temperature and a severe and hacking cough which made her feel like she may not be able to breathe again. She felt extremely unwell, ‘awful,’ for the first two weeks, but needed to take four weeks off work which was very unusual for her. She had a phased return to work which helped because she was still so tired. Since her initial infection, she has had fatigue, pain in her joints and described herself as “generally feeling really unwell” and old for her age. She has also had significant hair loss which has had a huge psychological impact on her. Three months after the initial infection, Annabelle had to take two more weeks off work because she ‘literally couldn’t get out of bed in the morning’. She had blood tests which showed that she needed medication to control her thyroid function. She thinks the change in her thyroid levels may have been caused by the initial Covid infection.

Annabelle had Covid for a second time in January 2021. She experienced many of the same symptoms as she did the first time, although perhaps less severe. This time she also lost her sense of taste and smell which has not yet returned to normal. She still has extreme tiredness in the mornings and struggles to manage her body temperature. She still feels ‘different’ in herself. She still has pain in her ankles and feet. She feels that she is experiencing some improvement with symptoms in the afternoons.

Annabelle is taking a wide range of supplements and B12 injections to try to help her symptoms, particularly her persistent fatigue, her hair loss, and her energy levels. Although her thyroid levels have improved, she still feels no less exhausted. She is considering seeing an endocrinologist privately because she doesn’t feel that her GP acknowledges that her ongoing symptoms could be Long Covid or related to her initial infection. She feels uncomfortable going back and forth to the GP. She finds it difficult to know where to go next because there is still so much uncertainty about Long Covid and about whether her symptoms could mean something else is wrong. More recently, she has stopped trying to read about Long Covid. She is focusing on what might help her to manage individual symptoms, like fatigue and hair loss.

Her main message to health professionals is that it is so important to feel listened to and not to feel dismissed.