Beth Swalwell, a Creston local, recently contracted COVID-19. (Photo Submitted)

Beth Swalwell, a Creston local, recently contracted COVID-19. (Photo Submitted)

‘A huge source of guilt’: Creston woman shares COVID-19 impact on her mental health

Beth Swalwell and her husband tested positive in March

Researchers around the world are paying close attention to the lasting physical impacts COVID-19 is having on patients, but one Creston woman is speaking out about the toll the respiratory illness has had on her mental health.

Beth Swalwell, who has lived in town for 25 years, doesn’t know how she contracted the virus, but she suspects it was from her husband’s work travels.

On March 23, they both began showing symptoms, including sore throat, headaches, and dry cough.

“I was never afraid of getting COVID because I’m a healthy person,” said Swalwell. “We had always been hyper vigilant with wearing face masks and washing our hands. There’s not a lot that we could’ve done differently.”

As owner of Art Barn Studio, she immediately cancelled her all-ages art classes and notified students – some of who have underlying health conditions. Her main concern was transmitting the virus and implicating fellow community members.

“It was a huge source of guilt,” said Swalwell.

“People have to quarantine and take two weeks off work, so that affects their family’s income. I was devastated.”

The couple didn’t receive any judgement from their family and friends. Instead, they were eager to offer their help and support.

Although Swalwell was given the all-clear to resume regular activities on April 8, COVID-19 is still impacting her family.

“What I do hope is people understand our feelings of dread and sadness as we wait for updates about my father-in-law, who is in the hospital fighting for his life with the virus that he caught from us,” she said.

Lasting impacts of COVID-19 go beyond physical symptoms

Like many people over the past year, Swalwell felt the detrimental effects of spending time in isolation away from her social circle. Not only that, she also displayed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I would have flashes of traumatic images like patients on ventilators, people dying in the hospital, and trucks full of dead bodies,” she said.

“I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. COVID may not have been as bad as the kidney stones I had a month ago, but the mental suffering of knowing I might have passed it to other people was terrible.”

Once Swalwell had identified the problem with her doctor, she began to work through it.

It is her hope that sharing her story will lead others to take COVID-19 and the health restrictions – including mandatory mask use – more seriously.

“I just hope that’s something that people can understand, and they might not,” she said.

“When I wear my mask in the grocery store, that’s me saying that I care about you.”

For mental health resources, contact 310-6478 or the Interior Health Crisis Line at 1-888-353-2273 for immediate assistance.

READ MORE: Lower Kootenay Band develops new park to honour lost children

READ MORE: Creston’s upcoming food processing facility will allow for new value-added products

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: Kelsey.yates@crestonvalleyadvance.ca


 

@kelseyannayates
kelsey.yates@crestonvalleyadvance.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Creston Valley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Demonstrators lined Hwy 16 May 5 to mark the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. (Deb Meissner photo)
VIDEO: Smithers gathering marks Red Dress Day honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls

Approximately 70 people lined Hwy 16, drumming, singing and holding up placards

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

The road to Telegraph Creek (Hwy 51) was closed April 15 due to a washout. On May 4, the road was opened to light-duty passenger vehicles during specific times. (BC Transportation and Infrastructure/Facebook)
Telegraph Creek Road opens for light-duty vehicles

Road has been closed since April 15 due to a washout

FILE – Residents of the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory southwest of Montreal continue to monitor a blockade leading to blocked railroad tracks that pass through their community as they protest in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs on Sunday, March 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter McCabe
B.C. Supreme Court rejects Wet’suwet’en bid to toss LNG pipeline certificate

Opposition last year by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs set off Canada-wide rail blockades

On any given day, Brenda Mallory can be found holding court in her front yard on her acreage near Tyhee Lake. (Thom Barker photo)
Spice of Brenda: Our long-time columnist gets frank (when wasn’t she?)

Brenda Mallory has packed a lot of creativity into her life

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Most Read