Everything about COVID-19 turned to extraordinary for me. On the whole, my case was not like any infection I’ve ever had; it turned into a fantastically frightening experience.

My first symptoms turned into waves of peculiar sensations that unfolded throughout my body. How I can explain this is that is it felt like everything in my body was short-circuiting. I couldn’t sit down because that felt like electric waves passing through me. Heart troubles run in my family and when this became unsettling I eventually made an appointment with my cardiologist. This was an appointment I’d been avoiding for months. My heart looked fine.

Then I lost my sense of taste and smell. First, I bit into some pasta that tasted especially salty. The subsequent morning I drank a bit of orange juice and dumped it after some sips, wondering if there was something wrong with it. Then I bit right into a cookie that had no flavor. That’s when I began to understand that perhaps the loss of taste and smell was no longer about the food.

After that I had a low-grade fever of 99 that mostly lasted an afternoon, then a few sniffles and a cough that worsened each day for days and turned quite frightening and bizarre at its peak. Have you ever had a dry cough? Why would you want to cough if it’s dry? There was nothing effective enough to treat the cough. It simply hurt my throat and I felt the need to cough all of the time.

That’s what made me eventually suspect I had COVID-19 and I started to worry. I have Lyme disorder; an autoimmune disorder that compromises my immune system, so I decided to visit my doctor. They ran a few blood tests, which confirmed my white blood cells had really dropped. That’s when my doctor decided to test me for COVID-19, and from March 19, 2020, onwards, the symptoms just became tremendous.

I was very ill for sixteen days in all, however, it wasn’t linear. Some days I’d wake up in the morning feeling like I was getting better, after which I’d slowly decline during the course of the day. Then I’d feel better for an afternoon only to get worse the subsequent day. Even with all this, by no means did I feel like I needed to visit the hospital. At worst, I’d say my bodily symptoms had been approximately a five on a scale of 1 to 10. But in case you inquire from me how scared I was on that equal scale, I’d say my fear turned into approximately eight.

I was very emotional after they told me I had the coronavirus, and I’ll be honest, mentally and emotionally I definitely struggled with the diagnosis. I stay by myself and that diagnosis is very hard to navigate by yourself. Isolating, even when you’re ill isn’t easy, and I’m not normally an anxious person, I did give myself panic attacks looking at the news. I heard reviews that once it’s been six or eight days into the infection patients frequently get worse and that screwed with my head. So when my chest started hurting, I couldn’t tell if the pain had turned into my lungs worsening or if I had turned into simply giving myself tension. It all became very confusing! I know there’s no need to overreact. However, it’s important that you don’t overlook some things and wait until it’s too overdue to get help. Otherwise, you stew like a nut case. It’s a horrible thoughts game and mentally I didn’t manage well with it.

But as frightening as it all became, I stayed at home on my own through it all. After a week or so, my strength began to improve. My cough went away. My sense of taste slowly returned, and I felt my sense of smell was also coming back slowly.

Once you get COVID-19 you begin to understand that even if your case isn’t so bad, you may have been walking around asymptomatic, and like a ticking time bomb, you unintentionally got others ill and sent them to the hospital, or maybe worse, destroyed lives. I thought about all this and felt really guilty just wondering if I had made another person susceptible, or even infected…simply through passing them by an aisle in the grocery store or by sharing an elevator with them. I had to name some people I’d been with so they could get tested. That is a frightening awareness and a hard one to live with.

I’m only 28, and I’ve taken this pandemic seriously from the start. I am a germaphobe and hand sanitizer queen and I nonetheless contracted COVID-19. So please take this seriously. Anyone can get this and for each moderate case like mine, there are cases more severe and fatal. When you get the coronavirus you all of a sudden sense an extraordinary duty to guard others. But we all have that potential now to simply protect others. So please do it!

I get how tough this pandemic has been for all of us but this will end, at some unspecified time in the future and when it does, we will all be able to return to work and businesses will finally come back. What all of us do now will decide whether or not our parents, grandparents, and friends are with us when that day eventually comes.