Journal Entry 15: testing positive

After evading COVID-19 for over 2 and a half years, I’ve finally tested COVID positive. I took an RAT on Tuesday which came back negative and then another today which came back positive. Moral of the story is, if you have symptoms listen to government rules and regulations, stay home and either get a PCR test or do multiple RATs.

I changed Masters courses and ultimately decided to defer for a semester to get experience and understand what it’s like living in the real adult world. I love university and I also love studying however, sometimes being at University makes me feel like I’m removed from society. The theoretical concepts can at times be hard to apply to the real world, hence why I ultimately decided to change my masters program and defer. After deferring, I do feel much more confident in the degree I am choosing to pursue next semester.

I prefer to take my time instead of rushing into something I don’t enjoy or can’t fully commit to. After graduating a 3.5 year degree I genuinely thought changing into a different sector was what I wanted. In actuality, I think gaining volunteer experience has only solidified my stance and love for the humanitarian sector. I’ve learnt a lot over the past few months. I’ve learnt a lot about myself, about others and their experiences, but also about the world around me.

I love working and volunteering. Although both can be emotionally exhausting and challenging, especially when managing angry customers, it’s also rewarding and exciting. I really do love this new chapter in my life and the elements of freedom that come along with it. I do feel like I’m appreciated and valued for my volunteer work which is really important to me.

I haven’t been able to see my personal therapist for awhile due to scheduling issues but I’ll be back in therapy next week which I’m excited for. I feel like I haven’t really invested much into myself and therapy is a personal investment into my own mental health.

I’m actually relieved my COVID RAT turned out positive for COVID because my initial test was negative and I considered trying to muster up the energy for work. I thought I had the flu but after my sister discovered she was a close contact, we both decided to take RATs. I feel relieved in the sense that I didn’t leave the house so I didn’t have the opportunity to potentially spread it to the community but I am by no means happy about having COVID. It’s pretty horrible to have COVID and it’s not an enjoyable experience at all! At the same time, I am relieved I found out I had COVID instead of assuming I had the flu because of one negative RAT. It’s really important for individuals with symptoms to keep testing so they don’t spread COVID through the community.

It’s strange because I feel like a different person outside of university. University is almost like an insulated bubble. I love studying and learning, however, I do strongly believe that learning can take place outside of the classroom. Although in many ways I am happier, I do also feel incomplete. I question if my friendships and relationships would’ve turned out better if I had actually not been stuck in this insulated bubble of academia. Although studying is a productive activity, so is working and volunteering. However, I associate studying with immaturity and a discovery phase, especially considering my undergraduate degree was really marked by those two key features.

Recently I’ve been reflecting on what I genuinely want out of life. Sometimes I think altruistic pursuits conflict with an individuals own personal desires. At what point do we decide to put ourselves first?

Can we fulfil our own needs and desires whilst simultaneously being altruistic? This is to say it is a direct contradiction to the word altruistic.

Although I’m rambling, for the first time in ages I do feel like I know what I want and I feel okay with my choices. I feel finally free in saying this. No more doubts in what I want to do with myself. No more indecision. Just trying to enjoy life taking one step at a time to heal myself and move forward.

Lessons learnt from being hospitalised during the COVID-19 pandemic

Photo by Engin Akyurt on

After falling sick in August, during the COVID-19 pandemic in Melbourne, Victoria, one of Australia’s worst performing states in regards to COVID cases, I was hospitalised.

With fevers, chills, muscle aches to the point where I couldn’t sit up without being in excruciating pain, needless to say it was the most emotionally draining time of my life. During this period, I had a total of 7 COVID-19 swabs, all of which came back negative. Despite having at the time, 2 negative COVID-19 swabs, hospital doctors decided to put me in a COVID-19 ward, obviously where COVID positive patients were residing.

At this time, restrictions were tough and no family members or friends could visit patients. Although the view was amazing in the COVID-19 ward and I am genuinely thankful to all the doctors who helped me, I still have dreadful anxiety.

From August to September, I spent a total of around 20 days in hospital, watching too much daytime TV like Charmed and getting excited for FRIENDS episodes at around 6-7pm. After having multiple tests like an ultrasound on my legs, MRI for my brain, spine and legs, a PET Scan, CT scan and getting poked multiple times a day for blood. Additionally having a bone marrow biopsy, skin biopsy and lastly a muscle biopsy, needless to say the whole experience was exhausting emotionally for both myself, my family and loved ones.

I was forced to defer from my degree in order to manage my health issues and I lost 6kgs, to eventually gain back more weight due to depression and anxiety about a potential autoimmune disease diagnosis. What’s the worst part of it? There was no clear answer. I live with the anxiety that it could happen again and have to learn to embrace life and all of it’s uncertainties.

My anxiety spikes when I go out and see people without masks on, this overwhelming fear washes over me and I’m consumed by it. Fear that I will end up in there again, alone. Although I do not consider myself fully recovered and still have to deal with the colossal mess which is my life, it taught me a great deal about life.

Getting out of depression is like rock-climbing without all the safety equipment. You’ll most likely fall multiple times back into that empty chasm. You just have to keep trying. To all my fellow book-lovers out there, as Susan Jeffers would say, ‘Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway’.