Terence’s Story

Quick Links



Palpitations, dizziness

Variable but persistent hoarse throat and cough

Hot flushes, flu like symptoms

How the symptoms developed

I first contracted covid on Christmas Eve, 2021. The first few days were nothing remarkable, but in the weeks after I experienced heart palpitations. By summer, this had subsided and though not back to full 100% fitness I felt well enough.

In late September of 2022 I caught flu.  There was nothing unusual about it.  However, after a few weeks I still had a cough.  In fact, the cough, together with bouts of fatigue, hot flushes, hoarse throat and heart palpitations would go on for the next 5 months.  Some days, I’d feel like I was improving only for the symptoms to re-emerge.

Before my symptoms emerged in my life, I would do up to 8 heavy sessions of martial arts per week.  I’d practice yoga daily, as well as teach it.  After my flu, I’d force myself to keep going, which I learned later was a mistake. I had to reduce my training.

By February 2023, the mental stress of these symptoms really started to take a toll.  I’d been in hospital several times at this point, to have my heart and lungs checked.  I’d never had heart nor lung issues in my life.  The doctors conclusions were always the same, I was perfectly healthy and they couldn’t explain my symptoms.

At this point I started to wonder whether I had a lifelong condition.  My GP was sympathetic, but couldn’t offer a solution.

What’s helped: A new understanding

At first, because I kept getting symptoms which were similar to having an infection, I assumed that my immune system was somehow compromised.

I have dealt with back pain for many years, and in my yoga practice have looked at the link between back pain and emotional imbalances. I therefore wondered of there could be a link between these sorts of immune symptoms and emotions.  I wrote to a doctor friend and asked her what her thoughts were.

She wrote back that there certainly was a link and told me of the immune system being ‘stuck.’  She also gave other important information; to let the body know that the illness had past and a new period of health was here.

Over the next couple of months, I explored this in my yoga practice and researched online.  It seems that others had also reached similar conclusions, as to the immune system being stuck.  Healthy athletes with no previous record of illness had contracted infections and experienced symptoms long after the virus had supposedly past.

As opposed to the immune system being weakened, it could therefore well be the opposite.  My immune system was actually strong, but hadn’t switched off when it was no longer needed.

So now, instead of working on strengthening my immune system, I worked on relaxing the body to let it do its job.

Very quickly, I noticed an improvement of my symptoms.

However, I was not out of it yet. In March 2023 I had another severe cold.  At this point all martial arts training stopped and I was struggling to teach.

My fear was that this would be the start of another 5 month bout of symptoms.  However, I noticed that my symptoms were that of a conventional cold, and were different from the prolonged symptoms I had been suffering from.

I looked at it as an opportunity for the immune system to reset itself.

What helped: having a reassuring conversation with the body

Using my own experience in yoga and meditation, I worked on releasing stuck emotional patterns and stress reactions, that could be contributing to my immune system being stuck in fight or flight mode.

I reassured my mind that there was no mysterious illness. I’d feel my symptoms not as an illness in the body, but as the immune system trying to work on something that wasn’t actually there. I’d encourage my immune system to back off from the site of symptoms, to ease down.


What’s helped: Working with mental patterns in pacing

By early April, I felt 70% recovered and well enough to start practising martial arts again.  I was close to normal health in these moments, and experiencing my normal vitality.  However, over exertion can still cause a relapse of symptoms and it has been important to set a manageable pace.

This can be very frustrating, as athletes are accustomed to enjoying robust health and pushing themselves to their limits.

So the key discovery for me has been to work on a new way of training, to accommodate for the re-emergence of symptoms and know how to handle the mental patterns (frustration, despair) that goes with symptoms

What’s helped: Gentle exercise.

As mentioned a manageable pace has been very important in recovery.  If we have a knee injury, after an initial period of recovery we can do exercise but with caution. Knowing how and when to exercise is important and I’ve gone through trial and error in using exercise for my recovery.

As mentioned, I have used yoga and meditation to release stress patterns that may have been contributing to my immune system being stuck, and also to release the physical and mental stress caused by the symptoms themselves.

Continuing to do martial arts as and when I can, greatly helped also. It has been far better to get out and do a gentle session, than to stay at home completely missing out on training.  The social aspect of training has also been very helpful.

What’s helped: seeing the opportunities to grow in illness

There has been a lesson in this illness, in not taking good health for granted.  I’ve begun to explore mental patterns, that may have contributed to the immune system being stuck.

For example, I’ve observed that an intense stress reaction may trigger a symptom.  The lesson here has been to learn ways to reduce the body’s reaction to everyday stress.

What’s helped: Expecting and managing set-backs

Recovery has been over a long period of time (1.5 years) and with periods of near to perfect health, followed by the re-emergence of a symptom. Accepting the fact that though I feel better today, I might feel a little worse later has been important. A symptom returning can produce a stress reaction, which can then potentially intensify and prolong the symptom.

However, if I chart my progress over time, it has indeed been a steady move forward.  Its been important to look at the bigger picture in recovery, as opposed to the day to day picture I am used to looking at when recovering from a common illness such as flu.

Whereas I was initially in a state of panic and confusion over symptoms, I can now reassure myself that this will pass and I will feel better


Guide to planning recovery