A 17-year-old with several health issues developed a fear of leaving her home and interacting with others after months in isolation due to the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly affected millions of lives, not just physically but mentally as well. People across generations endured putting their lives on pause and isolating to stop the spread of the virus.
As a result, some developed trauma, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. A 17-year-old girl, Vanessa Ezeh, is among them.
Vanessa and her sister both have sickle cell anemia, placing them under the high-risk category. However, Vanessa has it worse. In February 2021, she needed a bone marrow transplant, with her younger brother as the donor.
During her recovery, Vanessa suffered strokes and struggled to survive at the intensive care unit. She also has Moyamoya disease and has had seven strokes since the young age of four.
The teen’s conditions left her behind others her age due to learning disabilities. As required, she and her family had to take extra precautions as soon as COVID-19 spread.
Their family went on lockdown even before the first official lockdown in England happened. As a result, Vanessa stopped attending her special school while her siblings withdrew from their regular schools. Her mother, Bukie, shared:
“We knew if Covid came into our house, she could die. Everyone was panicking. I think I panicked the most. Vanessa was really scared because of all of the news and children talking at school.”
At one point, Vanessa turned to her mom and said, “Mommy, I don’t want to die.” Things went downhill for Vanessa’s mental health.
The family also had to change their dynamics to protect the teen. Bukie’s husband quit his job while she changed to a remote work setup to keep Vanessa company.
Although Bukie has also developed anxiety, she believes that things will get better in time.
When the Covid-19 situation became better, Vanessa got worse. The once happy, outgoing, and friendly girl became angry, isolated, and withdrawn.
According to Bukie, her daughter no longer talks to people outside the family, sometimes not even her own siblings. Instead, Vanessa would stay in her room and play with dolls.
She also refuses to walk in their back garden as fear of contracting the virus remains. Currently, the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity is helping the family and Vanessa go through a difficult time.
The charity’s director, Anne Harris, claimed that the consequence of isolation and lack of social contact for sick children “left them feeling fearful for their health and their future, with increased levels of anxiety.”
Such cases need emotional support from the child’s family. Although Bukie has also developed anxiety, she believes that things will get better in time.
While Bukie’s family is dealing with the indirect effects of COVID-19, other families are directly suffering from the virus’ consequences. Among them is a Michigan family grieving the loss of the matriarch and patriarch, who died a minute apart while holding hands.