COVID-19 survivors are finding newfound comfort by sharing their personal stories on social media platforms and are hopeful their experiences can educate and comfort others.
“I want my story to be able to help people know they’re not alone -- and what they’re going through, they can make it through,” said Taylor Brune of Carlsbad.
Brune, 29, has documented her journey on several platforms, including YouTube, Instagram, and a compelling website called Covid19SurvivorDiaries.com.
“I know that what happened, happened for a reason, and that I can share my story and be able to bring awareness so that people can really understand better and have more empathy and compassion for the people that have contracted COVID,” Brune said.
Brune is currently taking online pre-med courses with aspirations of becoming a doctor. She has spent the last nine years of her life dealing with health ailments, which started when she was 21-years old and was bitten by a tick and contracted Lyme disease.
Even though the Lyme disease had gone into remission, Brune was considered at-risk for the coronavirus. In late March, she began displaying symptoms and tested positive on April 1.
“I want to be able to provide encouragement for people -- that they don’t feel alone through their struggles and especially their health battles," Brune said.
Video posted on YouTube captures Brune during some of her darkest moments of recovery.
“It's brutal not being able to breathe and feeling like you’re suffocating 24/7," Brune said. "It's a very scary feeling, and you’re so isolated because no one can come around you, so you feel so alone."
Her Instagram page also documents her difficult journey, but is also filled with inspiring messages of hope. She is also featured on the survivor diaries web page.
“This is the third time I’ve looked death in the eyes in my life and said, 'Not today,' ” reads a passage written by Brune.
Covid19SurvivorDiaries.com is the brainchild of New York couple Jacobus Bester and Morgana Wingard, who were in Liberia during an Ebola outbreak and worked on a similar project.
“It’s really an important moment in history that we’ve never experienced before," Wingard said. "We’re going to want to go back and look at and figure out what happened, and what were people’s individual stories.”
Wingard compares the project to diaries written during World War II. She said that survivor stories also have a meaningful impact on local communities.
“People need to know it’s real," Wingard said. "People need to know it impacts everyday people and their lives. It’s really important for awareness. A lot of these people just want to help, they want to do something to make a difference, and sharing their stories can do that."
Brune said sharing her experiences also gives her a new appreciation for life and the drive to offer support to others.
“I want to provide people with the encouragement and the hope that they aren’t alone in their battles in this life,” Brune said.