Still Ill: Monique Jackson’s ‘Coronadiary’

Last week, I cycled up to Hackney to see my friend Monique Jackson. Monique and I used to live together in a big six-bedroom shared house in Brixton. When I arrive, she’s in the process of moving again – this time back to South London to live with her mum for a while.

In mid-March, Monique started feeling unwell with suspected COVID-19. At first she had headaches and tiredness; then fever and difficulty with her breathing began soon after. She thinks she caught the virus during a train ride shortly before “lockdown” measures kicked in – she was travelling with a friend who also fell ill. Although she got better after being really unwell at the start, she has continued to experience a whole range of ongoing “post-COVID” symptoms ever since.

Monique is an illustrator, so stuck at home she started drawing on an iPad as a way to record her experience of the disease and the ways it continues to impact her life. “Keeping a visual diary is how I process experiences,” she said in an interview with It’s Nice That. In doing so, she has also put together an honest and powerful account of the long-term effects of something we’re only just beginning to understand.

You can find her work – Still Ill – on Instagram. Follow her at @_coronadiary and @momonmojackson.

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