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Living with lupus during a pandemic

Updated: Oct 23, 2020

The global pandemic of 2020 may have put a stop on Katrina Brooks' big plans to celebrate her 21st birthday but it isn't keeping her down as she finds new ways for personal growth in the face of adversity

2020 has been a turbulent year as Covid-19 gripped the world. I was 21 this year and had big plans to celebrate, but unfortunately I had to shield along with over 2 million vulnerable people. It was and has continued to be a challenge, but with some benefits.

I have systemic lupus erythematosus and was diagnosed when I was nine years old. It was rare for a child of my age to be diagnosed with this illness and the management was equally challenging as visits to hospital became as common as going to school.

I’ve always had to be mindful of avoiding viruses because they have always presented a risk to me, due to the medication I have to take that impacts on my immune system. The pandemic has just meant I have had to broaden my thinking about how to stay safe and still have an active life.

It's not all new terrain working from home, using zoom and social media forums to stay in contact. This is something I have always done to manage my health and fatigue. However the benefit is now that people around me have a greater understanding and are more willing to accept this way of working, and are more empathetic towards the challenges that young people like me face every day shielding at home.

One of the biggest challenges during this pandemic is managing your mental health. It is a challenge that requires patience and giving yourself time. Pre-COVID-19 I loved going shopping and going to concerts. I can still enjoy these things through shopping online, youtube videos and Spotify.

I’ve used this time to find new hobbies and interests. I’m learning to speak Spanish with the help of duolingo, and I love Animal Crossing on Switch—all great distractions.

Even though restrictions are forever changing there are moments of positivity when things don’t seem so bad.

Written by Katrina Brooks

To read more about Katrina and her journey with systemic lupus erythemastosus check out her previous blog HERE

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