The general population has had to deal with sudden changes in the fight against Covid-19. It is not an easy task to adjust to the new norm but it is even much harder to deal with the situation if you are tested positive for Covid-19. Coupled with having to deal with your own personal emotions, infected persons are also left to deal with the stigma and discrimination that comes with it along with the fear of dying. As the popular adage say, ‘he who feels it knows it’. Love News spoke with businessman Nigel Espat who was the sixth covid-19 patient in Belize. Today he spoke about his personal experience, and commended those who have come forward with their own diagnosis.
Nigel Espat, COVID-19 patient #6: “It was very hard during April when I was positive but when I got my first negative and then subsequently my second there was a big relief. While I was sick the symptoms were fairly moderate, some were worse than others but I knew deep down that I wasn’t going to die from it I always had that east to say I’ll recover but there’s still that worry in the back of your mind that you can potentially die, it can kill you, you can take a turn for the worst and it happens quickly and so you go through this twenty four hours a day with that it’s almost a mental fatigue thinking “Well today is my last day.” So when I recovered there was that ease within me and it has carried on from since then from the end of April right through to now for myself. Now I still worry because having experienced that I worry I don’t want to go through it a second time with a family member. I worry a lot about my father who is a chronic asthmatic and I check on him especially right now that there’s all this community spread to make sure that he’s staying home and keeping safe because I always fear that he might not be able to overcome it if he gets it but yeah it stays with you because it’s something tough to go through it’s not easy and I feel for the people that are currently positive. I notice that there are subsequently over the past few weeks there are a lot of people who have come forth to say “listen I’ve tested positive.” and I applaud them for it, I congratulate them because there’s nothing to be ashamed of I came out publicly and spoke about it because I felt that it was necessary to ease everyone’s mind and to try to erase the stigma and some of the discrimination that the first wave of us were we felt it for a bit and so I applaud these people that have come out now and are openly talking about and their experience much the way I did.”
Espat also shared some of the methods he used to help ease his anxiety, and sympathized with those who are currently covid-19 positive.
Nigel Espat, COVID-19 patient #6: “It does take quite a toll. I find for myself that when I was positive, when I first got the news I was positive it takes your breath away because there’s so much uncertainty with it. Many times I found the mental fatigue to be much worse than the physiological symptoms I was experiencing. For the first maybe four or five days I didn’t sleep at all. I could not sit still in one place so what I found relaxed me was I started reading and everything I read said try not to stay in bed, try to get some exercise in and luckily in my house in Cayo it’s situated in the middle of almost an acre of land so there’s a lot of area in the yard that is fully fenced that I had to get up and walk around and I found pacing back and forth, just simply pacing back and forth it helped to alleviate some of the stress and the anxiety that came along with it but for perhaps the first five days that’s all I did day and night I just walked up and down, paced back and forth just to try to calm myself because as soon as I sit down the anxiety starts building up and it’s almost like a pressure cooker it comes to a point when you feel like you’re going to go crazy and so I know exactly what many of these people right now are going through because I experienced it first hand and so what I found that helped me a lot was the support that I got not only from family and friends but from people that I don’t even know. I had people calling me and sending messages of Facebook and Whatsapp, some people that had my number I don’t know how they got it but a lot of these people I never knew but we got that tremendous community support and that for me was what really pulled me through and so I encourage everyone to reach out to these, do whatever you can give them a call you don’t know how much it helps you know because it’s a very tough time they’re going through right now.”
Espat was diagnosed with the virus on April 6. He stated that while he is unsure if he can contract the virus a second time, he is more worried about his family having to endure what he did.