I Started a Support Group for Covid-19 Survivors and Caretakers

I needed a space where I could vent and feel validated by others

Christy DeGallerie
ZORA
Published in
8 min readApr 28, 2020

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A photo of someone holding another’s hands.
Photo: Adolescent Content/Niyani Lingham Green/Getty Images

When my city in New York became a hot spot for the coronavirus, I wasn’t nervous at first. I thought it was a mild viral infection, and that if I ever became infected I could shake it off — no problem. I live in a predominantly Black neighborhood in an apartment building that has many elderly people. Social distancing was slowly becoming the standard. I was doing errands, leaving food and groceries outside doors, while helping folks on my block as much as I could, and at that early stage, we weren’t provided with much information regarding the virus and had little information on how to protect ourselves.

I’ve been battling with Covid-19 for five weeks now.

My initial symptoms started on March 20 with what I thought was heartburn in the middle of my chest. It was actually the beginning of a nightmare. I told my friends and family I might have been exposed and that I was experiencing similar symptoms to what Covid-19 patients have. They all responded with support and told me to keep them updated.

On March 23 I did a 10-minute painful walk to the nearest emergency testing site. My partner, who is a teacher, had to work. It was the first week of her new normal, online teaching, and she could barely focus, worried about my health which to her was visibly getting worse. I FaceTimed my best friend Lauren, a Black artist based in Cleveland, Ohio, who took a virtual walk with me just in case I couldn’t make it there in one piece. Despite the severe intense ongoing leg pain, tightness in my chest, mild trouble with my breathing, and my head feeling as though someone kept dunking it in a bucket of fire, I put on my mask and stepped outside. I walked because I was in fear of transmitting the virus to a driver. When I got to the site I felt relieved. I moved two spaces in what felt like the Game of Life, a game I was terrified of losing. Yet on the other end of that relief was an immediate anxious flutter that came over me.

I feared that my symptoms wouldn’t be taken seriously. I suppressed my cough so they didn’t think I was milking it to get a test, tried to sit up straight, and then I felt an immediate nervousness, that…

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Christy DeGallerie
ZORA
Writer for

Writer, Producer, Researcher & Essayist reallybadtaste.substack.com @christydegallerie@gmail.com