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

Just Posted

Michelle Jacobs receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 28, 2021. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
126 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

There are 22 individuals hospitalized due to the virus, and 13 in intensive care

The Sparwood Golf Club received $1,206.12 for a lighting project as part of its wider renewal efforts. (Image contributed by Columbia Foundation of the Kootenay Rockies)
CFKR allocates over $11,000 to Elk Valley community programs

Over $50,000 was dished out between the communities of the Kootenay Rockies

RDEK is calling for nominations for their Volunteer of the Year award in all six electoral districts.
RDEK posts operating surplus as pandemic reduces costs

The RDEK has posted an operational surplus of $8 million as local… Continue reading

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

Fernie Ghostriders head coach Jeff Wagner has committed to two more years with the team. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press
Fernie Ghostriders coach departs: Wagner moves to Coquitlam

Jeff Wagner will move to the Lower Mainland as associate coach and director of scouting with the Coquitlam Express

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

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

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Most Read