Lena Dunham is the latest celebrity to open up about her experience with COVID-19 and to hear her tell it, people should really be taking this virus far more seriously than we have been.
Along with a selfie (above) of her rocking a lace-patterned face mask, the Girls star explained via Instagram on Friday that she privately battled the novel coronavirus over a 21-day period — though thankfully she has since recovered.
Dunham shared the details of her terrifying experience in a series of written photo messages captioned, “My Covid Story.”
“I’ve been reluctant to share this, having written and rewritten it anxiously. I don’t want to unnecessarily add my voice to a noise landscape on such a challenging topic, as an unfathomable number of people have lost their lives to COVID-19 – a phrase we didn’t even know in January. But seeing the carelessness with which so many in the United States are treating social distancing, people jogging without masks and parties on Instagram, I feel compelled to be honest about the impact this illness has had on me, in the hopes that personal stories allow us to see the humanity in what can feel like abstract situations.”
The HBO star, who is already immunocompromised with endometriosis and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, said that people need to wake up and understand that the “coronavirus kills people.” She expressed that if she were not already hyper-aware of her own health struggles, she would not have been able to see the warning signs that something was off and physically handle the severity of her pain.
Describing the symptoms she began experiencing in mid-March, Lena said it all started with “achy joints” which were quickly followed by “an impossible, crushing fatigue” and a fever of 102 degrees before things really went downhill:
“Suddenly my body simply … revolted. The nerves in my feet burned and muscles wouldn’t seem to do their job. My hands were numb. I couldn’t tolerate loud noises. I couldn’t sleep but I couldn’t wake up. I lost my sense of taste and smell. A hacking cough, like a metronome keeping time. Inability to breathe after simple tasks like getting a glass of water. Random red rashes. A pounding headache right between my eyes. It felt like I was a complex machine that had been unplugged and then had my wires rerouted into the wrong inputs.”
Wow. That sounds incredibly awful. Despite suffering through this in isolation for nearly three weeks, the 34-year-old was eventually able to be treated by a doctor without being hospitalized.
She said she tested negative for the virus “after a month,” but similar to actress Anna Camp who also recently contracted COVID-19, her symptoms persisted. In addition to swollen hands and feet, and unwavering fatigue, Lena was confronted with several challenging new ailments:
“The doctor determined I was suffering from clinical adrenal insufficiency – my pituitary gland had almost entirely ceased function – as well as ‘status migrainosis’ (in human terms, a migraine that just won’t stop.)”
The Emmy nominee said she didn’t have any of those issues before her battle with the virus and wasn’t given any concrete idea of what to expect moving forward. While acknowledging that doctors are still learning new information about its long-term health consequences on people, she blasted the privileged mindset of those who aren’t taking the public health crisis seriously.
After hearing about this particular bout, it seems irresponsible to continue taking gambles with your health, right?
She concluded by asking us all to selflessly do our part in containing the spread, writing:
“This is the biggest deal in our country, and in the world right now. When you take the appropriate measures to protect yourself and your neighbors, you save them a world of pain. You save them a journey that nobody deserves to take, with a million outcomes we don’t yet understand, and a million people with varying resources and varying levels of support who are not ready for this tidal wave to take them. It is critical we are all sensible and compassionate at this time… because, there is truly no other choice.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. This virus does not discriminate and everyone is at risk of going through this, or worse. Learn from her! Wishing her a speedy full recovery and lots of comfort at home during this time.
[Image via Lena Dunham/Instagram]