Having COVID-19 and Being Neurodiverse – It Can Have Additional Effects

 “People with executive functioning problems often seem disorganized, impulsive, and not thinking things through.” National Health Services UK

I have spent the last three weeks trying to find my favorite pair of flip flops.

They are black and from Columbia Sportswear and have great arches and I can’t for the life of me find them in my house. We didn’t go anywhere in the last year that I would have taken them with and forgotten them. I know this can be a common situation for people, but it is not for me. I have always been able to find things that I own. I know that I am getting older, but I am not that old. No, this started after I had COVID-19 this year. And for those of you wondering, I have had three COVID-19 vaccines prior to getting Covid and the physical effects only lasted five days, the fatigue lasted about ten days. I did everything that I could and so have my clients, to avoid getting the COVID-19. Because we just were not sure how it would play out for our brains.

The flip flops are just a physical example of what is going on with me neurologically. When it comes to spelling right now, each day can be different. So far in this article alone, to this point, there have been three words I typed out and had no idea what word that I was trying to say, and it couldn’t even correct it for me. It didn’t used to be like this. There are whole words that go missing right now some days.

It got me thinking, is anyone talking about this on the web yet? Is it a quantifiable thing?  Well, yes and no. There are things on the web about COVID-19 and dyslexia or neurodiversity, but it is all about the effect lockdown had on the community and education. As always, the conversation about neurodiversity starts around children, which is a good place to start. I just wish it would not end there and they would also talk about adults too. I was not able to find anything in particular that shows they are doing any research at this time about this.  I hope that they do. I know they are still learning a lot of things about how COVID-19 effects the body and the long-term effects. Over 90% of my neurodiverse clients are having some long-term effects neurologically from having had COVID-19. Which tells me it is something we need to talk about.

Here is what I have learned to date (June 20, 2022).

There are articles about COVID-19’s effect for some people on their brains.
Long COVID-19“This condition affects 20% of patients at 5 weeks and 10% at 3 months, with a major impact on health care and social systems.”

The short version of what I am reading is that they have an idea of the parts of the brain that are being affected and for the neuro-normal they put it into these terms.

“Olfactory dysfunction negatively impacts the structural volumetry of the medial temporal lobe in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.”

I don’t know about you, but that is not good sounding. I don’t want to have early Alzheimer’s. There is another condition I am also noticing and that is brain fatigue. It is very common for persons with neuro-differences to become brain fatigued, I am noticing that it is happening sooner in the day and sometimes I wasn’t able to fully recover overnight. In the first three weeks after having COVID-19, I would take naps in the afternoon, so I could make it my 9:00pm bedtime. It has made, being a business owner, a little more challenging than it was before. In the neurodiverse community brain fatigue is referred to as the point where a person’s brain is working so hard to compensate for other parts of the brain that are under performing that the brain just gets fatigued and slows way down.  My clients have all experienced the same types of things.  Most of them are working their way out of it, as their bodies recover.

I do hope to see some more research go into this, if nothing else I would like to hear other people’s stories and experiences.

On the bright side for me, I am only about six weeks out from having had COVID-19 and so it sounds like I need to keep doing my brain exercises, eating more protein, staying hydrated, exercising and getting my seven hours of rest.

I am hopeful at the twelve-week mark, my spelling will be improving and I might even find my flip flops.

Thank you,

JoyGenea Schumer
Business Owner, International Neurodiversity Coach, and Speaker

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