Zoya was in her final year at university when she caught Covid at the end of 2020.  She had to take a break in her studies because of her symptoms. She experienced fatigue, aches and pains, loss of taste and smell, changes to her breathing, a cough, and anxiety.  She has retaken her final year at university and feels things are finally starting to get better, but that she still has a way to go. Zoya was interviewed in July 2022.

Zoya and her family were very cautious about taking any risks of getting Covid throughout most of 2020. She caught Covid towards the end of 2020. She said her initial illness was ‘pretty hard’. She experienced fatigue, throat symptoms, aches and pains, a change in her breathing and a cough and was in bed for a few weeks. After a few months of having extreme fatigue, she started to think she had Long Covid symptoms. She didn’t have the energy to get up and do the things she would normally do.

Zoya now finds that her energy levels fluctuate – sometimes she feels she is getting better, but then her energy can dramatically drop off again and it is difficult to figure out why. Her symptoms seem connected to each other and follow a cycle. She experiences anxiety and low mood, even though she hadn’t had anxiety before and has found this hard to deal with. She also lost her sense of taste and smell, and has had pains in her joints and inflammation in the tendons in her hands which flares up when she uses her hands a lot. Although her fatigue and anxiety have been difficult to deal with, the change to her hands worries her most because it is not something she would expect to experience at her age.

When Zoya caught Covid she was in her final year at university and going to classes and socialising with friends. After having Covid, she had no energy and lost interest in doing anything for a while and hardly ever went out. She was also worried about catching Covid again.

As more people were being vaccinated, Zoya started to feel better about going out, but she still takes precautions like washing her hands frequently.

Because of her symptoms she couldn’t finish university when she was meant to, and she has retaken her final year. The university have been very understanding and made the process of adjusting her studies easy.

Her family have also been supportive and understanding.
She feels things are getting better and she is slowly recovering, but that she still has some way to go. She would like to be more active again, and it has been devastating not to be able to do the things she would expect to be able to do at her age. Zoya is trying to find a balance where she doesn’t overwork herself but is able to push her symptoms aside. If she does overwork, she then can feel ‘completely knocked out’.

Zoya had contact with her GP, who identified Long Covid and suggested that her anxiety was possibly a Long Covid symptom. She said they were generally good but Zoya feels they could have offered more help. She was sent a link to follow for Long Covid support but didn’t feel able to do it. Zoya has looked online for information but hasn’t found anything specific that has been useful. She has stopped drinking coffee because she found that caffeine triggered her anxiety. She hasn’t joined any social media groups related to Long Covid.

Zoya knows a few other people who have Long Covid and talking to them has been really helpful, and she would encourage other people to connect with support groups for Long Covid. She thinks it is really important to get recognition of how the condition really affects you and to get ideas to help recovery. She suggests health professionals could be more proactive in supporting people and help them to understand what’s happening. Zoya would like research to look into Long Covid in much more depth.