On this day 2 years ago, I became symptomatic. I will never know who is responsible for my infection, but it’s for the best that I’ll never be able to blame another, as I’ve felt enough resentment in this chronically ill body for any one person in a lifetime. Which brings me to a point excluded from the graphic, reserved for this caption: mental health. Your psychological health may be connected to your neurological system, but for the purposes of #LongCovid and #ChronicIllness, I wish that it was regarded as a separate body system. The psychological being its own system would help others to be less inclined to soften the emotional: a large component of our holistic health, capable of inflicting tremendous pain. If the psychological were to be its own system, maybe then biased, ego-driven practitioners, unfamiliar with or ignorant to #PostViral chronic illness would cease lumping physiological pains into the lazy and ableist ‘psychosomatic’ basket, understanding that mental health is often deeply affected by physical health, with the physical impairing the mental in the case of post-viral illness. Personally, where I’ve seen the most improvement in my #LongHauler body is psychologically. If plotted, the line would look like a view of the Himalayan mountains, reaching Everest heights with suicidality amongst periods of recovery and peaks of relapses due to new symptoms (eye shingles, mini-stroke, etc.) and struggles (advocating daily trying to help others from being in my shoes, all while being sent death threats or ignored). It’s been a separate fight from the physical but still intertwined, and why my gratitude for the @wearebodypolitic Support Group is so deep. While physically I feel 60% back to my pre-COVID baseline, emotionally I’m 110% back, with a stronger sense of self and appreciation for my resilience than ever before. This is also to say that mental health recovery does not equate to physical recovery in post-viral illness, despite what practitioners and others may assume: maybe when we understand that, the stigma and misconceptions will melt away and we’ll be able to understand the physicality of chronic illness in earnest.