Kathryn developed Covid symptoms in October 2021 and was later told to look online for Long Covid support groups. Kathryn moved back in with her mum, sister, and grandma, but it was her mum who was looking after her while she was recovering. Kathryn was interviewed in May 2022.

Kathryn tested positive on the 24th of October 2021 after feeling dizzy and nauseous but found it strange that she didn’t have the “big three” symptoms at first. The first of those symptoms came two weeks later when she lost her sense of smell and taste. Kathryn felt that she couldn’t think straight and was sleeping for about 16 hours a day. She felt slightly better the week after, but her recovery “crashed” when she tried to get out of bed. Kathryn’s symptoms got worse over the first few months of having Covid, and her sleep cycle and food intolerances both changed. Her recovery crashed again when she received her vaccine.

Kathryn had gone to the hospital four times before she was told she might have Long Covid. The first two times, she was told that her symptoms were from anxiety, and on the third time the doctors found a brain lesion. It wasn’t until Kathryn went in for leg pain that she was told she might have Long Covid, and that she should look on Facebook for Long Covid support groups. Kathryn found one and identified with the experiences other people had of long Covid and realised that she probably had it too.

Even after realising she had Long Covid, Kathryn struggled to get medical support because she was too far away from her regular GP and didn’t feel as comfortable seeing another one. Kathryn also found that her workplace’s welfare support was lacking because they didn’t know about Long Covid and so they didn’t know how to help.

Kathryn feels glad that her employer offers full sick pay but is worried that she’ll lose her job soon unless she gets better. She’s attended a rehabilitation program run by her employer and found it helpful to be face-to-face with people in similar situations due to Covid. Kathryn feels that more medical support is needed for people with Long Covid, as it was difficult to book appointments with doctors and get referrals to Long Covid clinics.

At the start of her symptoms, Kathryn moved back into her childhood home with her mum, sister, and grandma. Her mum had started to panic because Kathryn didn’t seem herself and acted as Kathryn’s carer when she wasn’t at work or looking after Kathryn’s grandma – who has dementia. Carers used to come and look after Kathryn and her grandma while her mum was at work, but they haven’t since her grandma went into a care home. Kathryn had to share a room with her sister and feels that having Long Covid has made her lose independence and spontaneity in her life. However, Kathryn has found sitting in the garden a nice way to get fresh air and feels it’s a good place to have a lie down or stay busy. Kathryn’s advice for people in similar situations is to tell someone if you’re in a dark place and saying it out loud can really help.

Kathryn’s partner did not want the vaccine, and it took them a while to come around to the idea that Kathryn’s illness was caused by Covid.

Age at interview 22

Kathryn’s mother, a teaching assistant and cleaner, was already caring for Kathryn’s sister and grandmother when Kathryn moved back home because of her Long Covid.

Age at interview 22