Age at interview: 48
Brief Outline:

Sharifa is a 48-year-old widow living with her seven daughters aged 27, 23, 21, 17, 16, 14 and 11, some of whom also have Long Covid. Ethnicity: British Pakistani.
Sharifa developed Covid symptoms in 2021, and realised that she was feeling even worse after coming out of self-isolation. Sharifa lost her husband to Covid, and some of her daughters also have Long Covid. Sharifa was interviewed in July 2022.


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After she finished isolating for five days, Sharifa felt that her symptoms were getting worse and worse. She was out of breath, felt fatigued, and had trouble sleeping. Sharifa had an underlying neurological condition so became worried and called her doctor, who referred her to a Long Covid clinic. Sharifa still hasn’t heard anything back from the clinic since being referred. The only advice Sharifa had was that she might recover in 5-6 months, but she didn’t find this helpful.
Sharifa’s husband also developed Covid symptoms but was isolating in his room so he didn’t tell his family that he was experiencing breathlessness, but was later hospitalised. Sharifa and her two teenage daughters found it hard going in and out of hospital to visit him while they were also experiencing Long Covid symptoms. Through it all, Sharifa’s husband tried to keep them positive, and Sharifa has tried to keep their daughters feeling this way. Sharifa felt that it’s hard to get better when you’re being dragged down mentally, and it becomes difficult to focus. Sharifa’s husband died from Covid in hospital.
After her husband’s death Sharifa had to manage the house finances and found it hard to take on this responsibility. On top of this, Sharifa developed anxiety and panic attacks. She found that working as a team with her daughters was helpful, and hoped that it would help with their recovery too. Sharifa didn’t want her daughters to see her cry, so she spent more time praying and felt that this gave her both hope and confidence. She felt having support from people who loved her gave her even more confidence and that this confidence became happiness.
Some of Sharifa’s daughters also developed Long Covid symptoms. Sharifa found it stressful trying to get a letter from her GP so one of her daughters could get reasonable adjustments at school. Sharifa tells her daughters to never give up, and thinks this is an important message to give to others with Long Covid too. Even when things get difficult, Sharifa recommends trying different methods until something works. It’s important to be mentally and spiritually strong, so that the body can heal.



Sharifa felt “sort of down from every aspect.” She and her children had Long Covid, and her husband had died from Covid.

Sharifa felt “sort of down from every aspect.” She and her children had Long Covid, and her husband had died from Covid.


Yeah, and I was feeling so weak, and I felt so like...and then also because I'm a mother and I'll see my...some of the children having long symptoms, I think mentally wise that was pulling me more down as well, and it was very hard. It’s like I felt so useless and like no I'm not capable of doing something, because I wasn't well myself, I couldn't be there for my children, that I noticed as well, you know I just felt so bad as well that you know, and my kids are sick as well and I'm not able to look after them. 
And everyone was trying their best, but obviously it was just not a very nice thing what happened.
I mean this is what I personally felt because if you're mentally wise strong, you can overcome anything, but then when... if you're getting sort of down from every aspect, from your kids and the husband, that sort of brings you down as well, dragging you down as well, mentally wise as well and physically wise.


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