By Jesse Judd
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – With COVID-19’s overwhelming effect on New Jersey, the livelihood of those who are immunocompromised is on the line. As someone who falls into this category, going day by day is overwhelmingly stressful. My health and my home are under attack by an invisible enemy.

Not everybody with a chronic illness looks it; looks can be deceiving.

Being an individual who has a chronic illness, as well as a weaker immune system than most, makes the anxiety of contracting COVID-19 much greater than that of the average, healthy person. I live day to day with lupus, an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack itself in various ways. It is known as the mystery disease because of the uncertain nature of the attacks it can cause.

With COVID-19 taking New Jersey by storm, resulting in more found cases than most states, each day has been anxiety-inducing for me. Staying indoors has not been as big an issue for me as it has been for others as I enjoy staying indoors; however, my family still needs to leave the house to go grocery shopping and do other necessary tasks. Because of this, the risk of contracting COVID-19 is very real. Taking the precautions of sanitizing everything as well as showering and washing clothes has made life a bigger hassle than it was before.

What has been keeping me optimistic is the idea of a clearing in the pandemic. If we are able to keep as many people home as we can, we will move closer to finding some sort of cure for the issue. The mental anguish of all of the current events takes a toll on my body as well, because lupus reacts off of state of mind. Managing the symptoms is tough as it is, so right now has been a lot harder.

I am thankful my family has been a big help. My mom has been doing her best to make life at home lighthearted, as well as keeping herself occupied during all of this. We have taken our dogs for walks to help step away from home, as well as to get a breath of fresh air. My partner has also been there for me, helping me manage my symptoms. Because he lives with me, he was able to take a leave of absence to help moderate my illness and reduce stress during this time.

On top of my health issues, my father has not been able to work as he did before the pandemic began. It has affected his ability to work, as his company had to be temporarily shut down. Before the outbreak, his job required him to travel to and from homes to repair appliances. On the rare occasion, he would even deliver and install them. Now that the pandemic has forced everyone inside their homes, he is unable to proceed as he did.

This has caused stress for him, as financial situations grow tighter. In addition, he feels guilty because he is not able to help people who have broken appliances.

“The stress, you know, it eats at me. Any possible clients are stuck there, in their homes, without any means of getting their stuff fixed. I hate it,” Mike, my father, said about his woes.

As of now, the most any of us can do is be patient and be hopeful that the tides change in our favor. I’m rooting for the rest of those out there, living with autoimmune diseases. Being strong is what will help us get through this.

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