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A Story of Recovering from Coronavirus: Keep Your Spirits Up

    Shafi tested positive for the Covid-19 last month. After about two weeks, fortunately, he recovered and is now in a good health condition. He tells his story about how he managed during the time in isolation shares some practical tips for others. “There are no shortcuts to overcome the coronavirus; you need to observe each and every single step that is advised by the health professionals.” Said Shafi. “But what is even more important is to keep your spirits up and to take care of your mental health first.”

    While the number of coronavirus cases has risen close to 20,000 cases in Afghanistan, the good news is that, most people who are infected with the virus get better. Registered cases of recovery are close to 2000 now which is six times more than the death cases and every day more people report their recovery both formally and informally.

    Shafi Karimi is a 26-year-old journalist who has been covering the news relating to the Covid-19 pandemic in Afghanistan since the start. After he tested positive for the Coronavirus in May, he went into a two-week-long complete quarantine. “Once tested positive, you have to quarantine yourself because, in addition to taking care of yourself, you have a social responsibility as well. You need to make sure you do not transmit the virus to your family members and the rest of the society.” Said Shafi Karimi.

    However, it was never an easy experience for Shafi. He was in self-isolating at home but in a room away from the rest of her family. “No one was allowed to come and see me,” he says. “It was a very lonely and tough time. I was depressed and frustrated. Also, anxiety and fear were inevitable in the beginning because as journalist and I had witnessed people die in hospitals.”

    Shafi realized that he needs to cope with his depression and anxiety first. “Recovery starts with mental health.” He said. “We should definitely take it seriously but we need to stop being scared of it. Develop your self-confidence. This is the first step to overcome the disease.Better mental health means a more robust immune system.”

    He shares some of the ways that he thinks will be useful for others too. “First of all, I stopped watching, reading, or listening to news about COVID-19 that would possibly cause me to feel anxious or distressed.” He said. “Instead, I would seek information only from trusted sources so that I can take practical steps to protect me and my loved ones.”

    “Secondly, I tried to find a safe way to stay engaged with my family and friends to get their emotional support. It was extremely important for me to manage my depression by communicating with my loved ones. Thanks to the internet, I was able to connect with my colleagues and family members via regular audio and video calls throughout the day. They kept motivating me by saying “you are going to recover soon”. This gave me a lot of energy and made me happy which I think is one of the main reasons why I recovered sooner than I expected.”

    Shafi holds regular live sessions on his social media to raise awareness about the actual experience of coronavirus and how to deal with it which is viewed by thousands.