TAMPA (WFLA) – As the COVID-19 crisis continues, so do the symptoms of the virus itself, long after patients recover.
In fact, months later, patients report problems with remembering basic things, difficulty in concentrating, and often feel anxiety.
For many people, these symptoms leave them overwhelmed, confused and scared, often convincing themselves that these unusual feelings are just their imagination.
Turns out, they are not. Those feelings are known as a phenomenon called Brain Fog.
Just ask Elam Segura. For this engineering student, Brain Fog took over his life after he tested positive for COVID last summer and says it was nothing short of a nightmare.
“After a few months, I felt like I’m not myself. I’m not used to feeling like that,” he told 8 On Your Side. “I am usually the positive one out of my friends, but I felt anxious. Sometimes I started feeling not mentally well, worrying about myself.”
He says at first his COVID symptoms were mild, including slight fatigue and a bit of anxiety. At that point, he wasn’t worried as everything seemed normal with his diagnosis.
Following his two week quarantine, however, his body was fine, but his mind felt different.
“Oh my God, I’m overwhelmed. I started thinking bad things, what’s my purpose in life,” Segura told 8 On Your Side.
After testing positive in June, the 28-year-old student admits, things went from bad to worse. By October, he was anxious all the time, had constant mood swings, and felt overwhelmed, wondering when the symptoms would stop.
“What’s my purpose in life,” Segura asked himself. “What should I do, like it was so bad to me.”
Segura, however, is not alone as thousands of patients have reported these exact symptoms of ‘Brain Fog’ during post-COVID recovery.
A recent study in the journal of the American Medical Association found that 30-percent of participants who had COVID-19 reported symptoms for up to nine months, which is exactly what happened to Elam, who still has symptoms to this day, nearly a year later.
He says although the symptoms are not as severe, it is still difficult some days. For now, he’s keeping a positive attitude and remains hopeful for the future. After a recent vaccination, he feels a sense of relief and hopes that sharing his story may help others.
“It’s personal,” Segura said.
Doctors say if your symptoms are severe enough that they interfere with your work and home life, you should see your doctor because there are treatments available.