Covid And Long Haulers- A Follow Up Discussion With Lucie Dickenson

A few months ago I reached out to author and anxiety coach Lucie Dickenson about what she was hearing on long haul covid symptoms. In my immediate family, we were hit with a series of symptoms that came on after covid went away, the most unnerving one was acute anxiety.

Lucie gave incredible insight on coping and now months after our discussion, not only did covid strike my entire household again, but it had also gotten into Lucies home and family.

I reached out again to uncover why this covid journey keeps changing directions and met with Lucie to discuss.

1- I can’t believe you were hospitalized with covid! We had that experience too and were sent home being told there’s nothing wrong with you! What was your experience at the hospital?

Yes, I had had COVID for over 3 weeks at this point and was not feeling better, in fact, I would say I was feeling much worse. My husband, also suffering from three weeks of COVID symptoms, drove me to the emergency room. This was at the height of the OMICRON surge and the waiting room was packed with masked people slumped in their chairs, barely able to raise their heads. After many hours I got a bed and iv fluids. Testing confirmed COVID, but all  I was told was that I would be well shortly and was shuffled out of the bed for the next patient. I understood that there was not much that could be done, what I could not understand was why I felt stuck in this sickness. 

My husband was feeling better after about a month, although he was still experiencing fatigue. 

I was still in bed with headaches, hot sweats, chills, low fever and extreme fatigue for an additional month! When I spoke with another doctor the words “long COVID” were uttered. 

As someone who was in bed for months on end with anxiety years ago, I knew I had to take action because I did not want to once again relive the life of Grandpa Joe from Willy Wonka. So, I did what any self-respecting American does… I Googled (lol). And I cried. I cried big ugly tears at the number of people silently suffering with long covid symptoms. The symptoms ranged from a minor annoyance to life-altering. It is its own epidemic.

Wading through the ocean of websites and news articles about long covid, I came upon a pearl of wisdom that shined its light on me. It was not anything that I did not already know, but it was a reminder miraculously given to me to help me feel better. And I knew, after reading about the enormity of long covid, that I would reach out to help others once I felt well. 

2– This illness strikes each of us in different ways, but in our experience, there’s definitely a brain-body connection. I think prior illness (Epstein-Barr) has much to do with how covid affects us. Did you find that to be true as well?

There are so many different theories on why one person has very few symptoms and/or recovers rather quickly and the other person lingers with really serious symptoms. There are also those that were asymptomatic that suddenly find themselves dealing with long covid. 

I am not a doctor so I don’t pretend to know the reasons, but I was able to see a clear connection between the Epstein-Barr virus and long covid from the personal stories I read. I remembered both my husband and I had blood tests the year before in which our EBV antibodies were off the chart. So we knew we must have had an infection. I also had mono my junior year in high school and missed over a month of school due to fatigue. And I continued to have fatigue well into my twenties.

So “aha” I thought. Epstein-Barr is the culprit!  But the truth was I read many others that also were suffering with long covid that did not have EPV. So, what gives? 

Well, digging deep in the findings and people who were getting well from long covid I noticed a pattern. The pattern was a habit. That is right. A habit that our brain learned over the years or even just from having COVID. You see, it only takes 21 days to create a habit, so if you were sick with covid longer than 3 weeks- guess what, there is a habit being formed on how you currently do life. And if you couple that with people who have had previous sicknesses like EBV, well their brain had already been trained on how to feel tired and run down. 

Some may get defensive at this point of my explanation because they may view me saying this is a habit as also saying their symptoms are  “made up” or “not real”, but that is not true. In fact, I am stating the complete opposite. The symptoms, fatigue  and pain of long covid are very real. Long covid symptoms are really physically happening. I know, because I have been there. I was one of the people who had brain fog, who had sweats and chills. who would try to go for a walk and had to get back in bed for the rest of the day. 

It is not just a physical issue. Your brain is always involved. Long covid is a mind-body condition, and therefore my way to get well was to address it holistically and not just physically. When you address the whole person, the whole person gets well.

3- In your experience both as an anxiety sufferer and now as a coach, were there tactics you used from your teachings that helped you get through your covid symptoms?

This is a great question. If I am being completely honest, when I first realized I was having long symptoms I threw a little pity party. I was like “are you kidding?” I became a victim quite quickly. And of course, that only brought me more tiredness and fatigue. It was when I was googling “long covid” and how others recovered that I saw, reflecting back at me, some of the very things I teach. I needed to be reminded of the incredible healing toolbox I had created. When I dove in headfirst into mind-body modalities, belief work and creating new habits it was literally only two days before I started feeling better again. And over the next week or so I actually felt better than I had in years.

4- Going back to the brain-body connection, are their habits or practices you’ve used to help bring on self-healing?

Yes, definitely. The brain is so very incredible and one of its jobs is to keep us safe. So we will continue to do something the same way again and again because the brain deems us safe in doing this. This creates neural pathways that are used again and again until they are habit. And then they become subconscious habits. 

What does that mean? It basically means that your brain is running the show and using pathways that it did in the past to keep you “safe”. So if being tired during having covid (or a prior infection like EPV) was what kept you safe, well that pathway will continue to be used even after covid virus is out of your body. The brain continues to send signals to your body to create fatigue and chills and brain fog, because it is habit. 

Teach your brain new habits, and you will get different results. It is rather easy, but it is getting past those old patterns and beliefs that could be difficult for some. As the saying goes, old habits die hard (which to be honest is a belief in and of itself). 

I can help others see long covid from a different point of view and with this new perspective, new habits can be formed. And the symptoms are no longer needed “to keep you safe”. It’s a beautiful process of letting go. 

5-During our bouts with covid, we found so little good information to help us. What can you share so that we can get better informed?

I believe there is more than one way up the mountain. There are endless ways people can get well from long covid, I happen to understand and can help others in one way, which happens to be the way that worked for me. Anything that I have learned I am happy to pass along to others. It is in helping one another that we find health, peace and joy.

I wish everyone joy and healing, mixed always with laughter and love. We are all here to help one another be the best we can be.  

Lucie Dickenson is an author, functional nutrition coach, EFT practitioner and anxiety expert. To learn more or to contact:


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