Photography helps long Covid sufferer 'find light'

time:2023-06-09 06:47:01source:NBC News author:Press center6

A long Covid sufferer is using photography to help her live with the condition.

Tania McCrea-Steele says she has had three Covid infections and 13 immobilising relapses since she first caught the virus in March 2020.

The 47-year-old, from Wiltshire, said she struggled to get support on the NHS and could not afford to pay for private care.

So she turned to wildlife and landscape photography as a restorative aid.

"It's trying to find a light among the darkness and photography is all about light. It's my source of inspiration," she told BBC Points West.

Ms McCrea-Steele is among the estimated 2.1 million people (or 3.3% of the population) living with long Covid, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Just over half a million (507,000) had been living with long Covid for more than two years, the ONS said.

Ms McCrea-Steele said it has left her unable to walk or drive long distances and she has not travelled more than 35 miles from her house in Bradford-on-Avon since the pandemic began.

She took an interest in photography in September 2022 after she wanted to begin documenting the country walks she used as a "healing process" and quickly began teaching herself the basics with YouTube videos.

Initially, she used her iPhone before her parents gifted her a "proper camera".

"My journey towards recovery is ongoing but photography has helped me regain some resilience and hope," she said.

"Although photography alone cannot heal the physical damage caused by Covid, it ensures a focus on the present moment, encourages gentle exercise, supports a medically-proven practice known as pacing, and provides me with a sense of achievement and wellbeing during my very limited periods of full concentration."

The conservationist has yet to fully recover and has 30 different symptoms, the most debilitating of which are crippling fatigue, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations and brain fog.

She said that activities have "greatly assisted my journey towards health and happiness and believe it could be of help to others dealing with long Covid but equally unable to access support".

More than 600 people from Swindon have been referred to a recently set up special medical unit dealing with Long Covid and its mental health impacts across Wiltshire.

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