Who are the long haulers? This term has arisen out of the common experiences of those persons “who have not fully recovered from Covid-19 weeks or even months after first experiencing symptoms.” Some of those symptoms (which form a syndrome) are loss of taste, smell, fatigue, and shortness of breath. These are just a few of a myriad of experiences of those who have had Covid-19. These experiences last possibly for just a few weeks, for months, or longer.
In reflecting upon my experience with depression, I can identify with the long-hauler description of what I went through. I did feel the awfulness of fatigue. The lack of motivation to get out of bed. Confusion and the inability to concentrate. All of these were present day after day for over a year. These symptoms of depression plagued me every day. I was a long-hauler.
Today, with two vaccines and wearing a mask, I hope that I am protected from catching the Covid virus. I am taking all the precautions that I know how to take, so far, so good.
In our Depressed Anonymous 12 Step fellowship groups, online and f2f groups, of which I am a member, I have heard about how many of us were long-haulers, some for months, some for years, and some for all of their lives. We know there are no vaccines for depression to protect us from past personal traumas, physical abuse, shame, guilt, to mention just a few, but there are ways to take down the symptoms of depression by using the protection and proactive use of our recovery tools.
By our involvement in our mutual aid group, Depressed Anonymous, I can say I am a former long-hauler who has left behind many of those burdens of feeling defeated, helpless and hopeless. That doesn’t mean that I no longer have past feelings pop up in my mind, causing me temporarily to focus on feelings that I thought were gone forever. Now I have the tools, the fellowship of meetings online every day that I hook onto, the literature which I read on a daily basis, plus another human being that like me is a long-hauler and in recovery.
Much like the symptoms associated with PTSD, we no longer pack in our minds those past feelings of doom and gloom, but I find there is a way out of the darkness and have hope. I have faced my fear-filled past terrors and replaced them with feelings of hope, gratitude, and faith in a power that is greater than myself. My long-haling days are in the past.
Hugh, for the fellowship