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

A boat caught on fire this morning (May 11) in Port Hardy. (Adam Harding/Port Hardy Fire Rescue Facebook photo)
Fishing boat catches fire in Port Hardy, owner’s quick thinking puts out flames

The incident is a good reminder to always have a working fire extinguisher onboard your boat

School District 85 logo
Fort Rupert Elementary School gets funding from MusiCounts

The $1 million investment will support 95 schools

Agree or disagree with North Island Rising? Write a letter to the editor at editor@northislandgazette.com and we will publish it online and in print.
McQuarrie: Budget meeting drama caused by unruly councillor

It was an amazing and unexpected response to what should have been… Continue reading

The medical clinic building in Port McNeill. (Bill McQuarrie photo)
Medical clinic gives update on health care in Port McNeill

The town appears to be ‘closer to a new and sustainable medical model for our town’

New electric buses are coming to school districts. (Submitted photo)
New electric school buses will drive North Island forward

Travel on electric school buses is smoother, quieter, and healthier than traditional diesel buses

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Two-year-old Kashius Weme rides at the Steve Smith Memorial Bike Park in Nanaimo on Tuesday, May 11. The youngster’s precocious bike-riding ability is already attracting cycle sponsors. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
2-year-old bike rider on Vancouver Island already attracting cycle sponsors

Nanaimo’s Kashius Weme has a knack for extreme cycle sports

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

A scene from the Schoolhouse Squat from October 2018, where Alliance Against Displacement members and supporters occupied the Rutherford Elementary School site, advocating for people experiencing homelessness. (News Bulletin file)
‘Schoolhouse Squat’ activists get conditional discharge in Nanaimo school occupation

Ivan Donald Drury, Tingchun (Listen) Chen sentenced in provincial court in Nanaimo

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Most Read