Calum's story

Just over a year ago Calum was fit – a keen cyclist and athlete training for around 11 hours a week – healthy, and studying Economics at St Andrews University.

Within a matter of weeks, Calum was short of breath with crippling pain in his lungs, aching muscles, an elevated heart-rate, insomnia and digestive problems. The past eight months of his life has been spent trying to manage his symptoms of Long Covid and the resulting feelings of isolation, anxiety and depression.

“The independence-limiting effects of my symptoms were extremely challenging to cope with,” explains Calum, “and I noticed a strong link between my mental state and my perceptions of my physical health. With being unwell for so long, I often felt that I was not making progress in my recovery, or that I would never recover at all.

“My doctor was limited in how much they could help and I found out about Thistle through an item in the news. I made contact and over the summer started having regular telephone conversations with Angela, my Wellbeing Practitioner. It was extremely reassuring to be able to talk to someone about my worries and fears with regards to my condition, alongside becoming aware of techniques to manage symptoms and improve my mental health.

“In October last year, on Angela’s advice, I enrolled on an eight-week Thistle mindfulness course. Although I had had some experience with mindfulness, the in-depth approach and regular practice offered by the course was extremely rewarding.

“With Thistle’s support, I’ve found that I’m better able to manage the negative emotions and uncertainty surrounding my health, feel better able to accept my situation, put an end to the cycle of self-blame.

“Thankfully, over the past few months I have noticed several positive changes in my mental and physical condition, which have allowed me to gradually increase my activity levels. I was able to spend some time with my girlfriend in Fife, I have started running again and hope to start my Masters later this year. Thanks to the incredible support I have received from Thistle, I now have confidence that at some point in the future I will be able to make a full recovery.”

You can read Calum’s blog where he writes about his experience of coping with Long Covid on our blog page.


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