The isolation and mental health impact on fighting COVID-19 alone

By Ashley Sampson
5:41 PM, Jan 15, 2021

At Leann Miller’s home, the cats outnumber the people.

“My house is a giant cat toy,” said Miller. “There are cat toys everywhere.”

She has provided a home for a one-eyed rescue cat and another who isn’t quite as friendly when strangers are around.

However, for Miller, the last few months have gone to dogs.

“I got tested and lo and behold, two days later, I had a positive test and I was shocked,” Miller said as she shook her head.

Miller said that shock gave way to an avalanche of miserable COVID-19 symptoms.

“It was the body aches and the headache that wouldn’t stop,” she explained.

Even now, more than two months later, the effects still linger.

“I’m so sorry,” she said, as she tried to make her way up to the second floor of her home. “I’m am just totally out of breath.”

Even simple tasks leave her gasping for air.

“I was never like this before,” she said.

COVID-19 has been tough physically, but she says the emotional toll is far greater.

“It’s the isolation,” she said. “That was absolutely the worst for me. We’re a social society and to be cut off from everybody I know made me feel like a leper.”

She said her heart goes out to anyone fighting the illness alone.

“Yeah, it’s awful,” she said with tears in her eyes. “I really wouldn’t wish this on anybody.”

Miller spent weeks in bed with just a bedroom window to the outside world.

“That’s the window,” she said, pointing to the small window near her bed. “I would wave to people out of it and that was my only human interaction.”

She said without her furry friends, she fears she wouldn’t have been able to cope.

“I don’t know what I would’ve done without my animals,” Miller said. “They were a living and breathing thing in my house.”

Now, as life slowly returns to normal, she has some advice to those fighting the virus without help.

“You need to reach out to people if you get COVID and are alone,” she said. “You need to reach out to people and ask for help.”