COVID Guilt…It’s a Real Thing

I feel guilt: guilt for the fear I’ve brought to those I’ve been around and guilt for all the work I left behind so last minute. I feel ashamed and disgusted that I caught CoVid.

COVID Guilt – The guilt experienced from having caught COVID and the fear of infecting others.

COVID Guilt
COVID Guilt

Since the COVID pandemic started my best friend has taken the situation seriously. As a proficient sewer she went above and beyond making as many masks as she could, spending her own money to make sure people could be protected. She stayed in, avoided people at risk and was even known to give out boxes of supplies to others when she had extra.

But then suddenly early January everything changes. After one ill-fated holiday encounter she tested positive. All her positive charity and precautions flew out the window as she grappled with her results. A few days later she made this post and I realized I was seeing something raw and real. Something many people feel and few have the words to say. But she had those words and agreed I could share them here.

People keep asking me how I am. I know they mean physically how I am since testing positive for CoVid last week. I’ve been good. Bored, pressing myself too hard some days, so a little worn out the next, but overall good. What people don’t get it the mental stress. When I saw positive as my results I was in disbelief and dumbfounded. I just couldn’t comprehend it. I feel guilt: guilt for the fear I’ve brought to those I’ve been around and guilt for all the work I left behind so last minute. I feel ashamed and disgusted that I caught CoVid. Just walking to the mailbox with mask on and keeping a great distance I feel like I’m walking with a big scarlet A on my chest like I’m a leper. I have 4 days left until I can return to work and the idea terrifies me and is triggering anxiety.

It broke my heart to see the pain she was going though. She could care less about her own health instead focusing on others. She was experiencing COVID guilt, taking all the blame on herself. She recovered well and was later able to return to work. On her first day back she sent me the following message describing her experience.

Today was my first day back. I was nervous and ready to get things over. Some coworkers were happy I was back, while others started to poke and prod and ask questions about it. Yes, I was asymptomatic but I felt like a science experiment or something. I did have some people who you could tell that were legitimately worried and were glad I was ok. Others who would come start to tell me of something, pause, then take 2-3 steps back. With someone who is already on edge with anxiety, this was not helpful. I don’t know how many times I went to the bathroom this morning as an excuse to step away and breathe. As the day went by, it got a little easier, but the stigma was still all around.

There is a stigma about people who get COVID. Assumptions they got it being unsafe, brought it upon themselves. Not to mention the fear.

There is no great insight or magic advice to this post. This is about awareness. Letting those who have been infected know they are not alone, helping those who judge people remember that we are all just human and, with the exception of some, we are all just doing the best we can.

Stay safe.

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    18 thoughts on “COVID Guilt…It’s a Real Thing

    1. I’m so sorry to hear this has happened. It’s very selfish of people (family or not) when they know they have been exposed and consciously refuse to say anything about it. It’s really sad because covid is so real and still very dangerous. We all have to practice more self-awareness as we continue through this pandemic.

      Be safe!

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      1. Luckily in this situation everyone informed each other as quickly as possible and all parties were tested and positive cases quarantined regardless of symptoms. Unfortunately that is not always the case and it is those situations that create the stigma that affect even those doing the right thing.

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    2. Thank you for sharing your journey. My heart goes out to those that have contracted the virus. This deadly virus plays no favorites. Please continue to stay safe. Thank you again for sharing.

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    3. I’m so sorry it happened to your friend and hope she’s feeling better. I think it was eye opening to read this, the stigma around it sounds so impossible until you step in the situation. Thanks for sharing x

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    4. Such an important message, I’m sorry for your friend, and it goes to show that even the most careful can succumb. Hopefully it will continue to be demystified, and the stigma was lessen. Stay safe, thanks for sharing!

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    5. I am glad she is better now. I would probably be like her, more worried about others than myself. Not too worried about what others think, because that’s none of my business, but worried about how I could have affected others and their lives especially if someone caught it because of me and is fighting for their lives. So, I get it, the covid guilt. Again, I’m glad she’s better, now. Thanks for the awareness that many feel, but don’t speak of.

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    6. Thank you so much for speaking about this and sharing your friends story. I don’t think anyone really takes on board how bad someone feels when they catch vobid but it could literally happen to any one of us. I hope you’re friend is doing better ❤ x

      Jordanne || Thelifeofaglasgowgirl.co.uk

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    7. Oh geez, that sounds terrible. I would also feel terrible (mentally) if I caught Covid, especially since I still live with my family. I would hate to put any of them in danger. I’m glad your friend is doing better though.

      All the best, Michelle (michellesclutterbox.com)

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