The husband of a screenwriter who died by suicide after suffering from long Covid has detailed the toll the illness had taken on her life.
Heidi Ferrer, a writer for programmes such as Dawson's Creek and Wasteland, died on 26 May 2021 aged 50. An obituary published by Variety states that Ferrer “first contracted the virus in April 2020 and saw her health worsen”, and that “by May 2021, she was bedridden due to constant physical pain and suffered from severe neurological tremors, in addition to other symptoms”.
Her husband, filmmaker Nick Güthe, further opened up about his wife’s illness in a new essay for The Guardian.
Ferrer, he wrote, first suffered from a “mostly asymptomatic” Covid infection. But her symptoms escalated, and eventually included “unexplained neurological tremors and internal chest cavity vibrations so bad they lost the ability to sleep”.
“Heidi also suffered from ongoing gastrointestinal issues, exhaustion from just walking up a single flight of stairs, extreme body aches, brain fog and a host of other ailments,” Güthe wrote.
“All of this – with no hope on the horizon of any cure let alone acknowledgment from the medical world – brought her to the place where she asked me that, if something happened to her, I would tell the world what long Covid is.”
Ferrer, he added, “lost her mobility and her ability to eat”, and brain fog “robbed her of the ability to retain information”.
According to the CDC, long Covid “is a range of symptoms that can last weeks or months after first being infected with the virus that causes Covid-19 or can appear weeks after infection. Long Covid can happen to anyone who has had Covid-19, even if their illness was mild, or if they had no symptoms.”
Symptoms of long Covid include tiredness or fatigue, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, chest pains, headaches, fever, and joint or muscle pain.
If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email email@example.com, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.
For services local to you, the national mental health database – Hub of Hope – allows you to enter your postcode to search for organisations and charities who offer mental health advice and support in your area.
In the US, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 800 273 8255 or chat online for help.