Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
SALT LAKE CITY — When COVID-19 hit Amy Cuddeback, it hit hard. It has been almost a year since she contracted the virus and still her symptoms linger. Her once active lifestyle looks a lot different these days.
"Pre-COVID I did a lot of yoga, running, art, traveling, just being with my family," she said. "But now when I am in a crash, it feels like someone took a bat to my body and I can't get up because it hurts so bad."
She has suffered from constant fatigue, numbness on her left side, allergic reactions to some foods and also tics.
"They were screaming tics, and so I would scream suicidal violent thoughts that I was not thinking. I had never experienced that in my life," Cuddeback said.
When she sought treatment from doctors she felt like she hit a dead end.
"They would kind of put it on me like it's anxiety and so that was really difficult mentally," she said.
In March, she finally found doctors who helped diagnose her.
"I got diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis, a severe case of (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) and mast cell activation, as well as fibromyalgia," she said.
The treatment has been taxing on her, with numerous doctor appointments and hospital visits. At one point, Cuddeback felt she couldn't take it and made a plan to take her own life.
If that's my purpose right now, is to just help people that are in a really dark place, that's a big enough purpose to still be here.
"The pain got to be too much and I just wanted to have my old body back," she said. "I just felt trapped in a broken body that could no longer function."
She checked into a psych unit, got treatment and decided to share her story on the Utah COVID-19 Long-Haulers Facebook page.
"The pain got to be too much and I just wanted to have my old body back."— Ashley Moser (@AshleyMoser) October 1, 2021
Amy Cuddeback says the lasting symptoms of COVID not only impacted her physical but also mental health.
At 10:00, how she turned to social media for salvation @KSL5TVpic.twitter.com/EII5D6ep7O
"I had six people reach out to me that were also experiencing suicidal ideations that wanted to seek help but were scared," Cuddeback explained.
She has since been in contact with those people and connected them to lifesaving mental health resources. Cuddeback was glad her experience was able to touch lives.
"If that's my purpose right now, is to just help people that are in a really dark place, that's a big enough purpose to still be here," she said.
Suicide Prevention Resources
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.
- Salt Lake County/UNI Crisis Line: 801-587-3000
- National Suicide Prevention Crisis Text Line: Text "HOME" to 741-741
- Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386
- University Of Utah Crisis Interventional Crisis Line: 801-587-3000