In a starkly detailed Instagram post, the Girls creator revealed that she was diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-March. She said the initial symptoms – achy joints – didn't make her "freak out" because they were similar to the effects of Ehlers–Danlos syndrome (EDS), a rare genetic tissue disorder she has previously revealed that she lives with.
However, Dunham said that soon afterwards her pain was "joined by an impossible, crushing fatigue" and described how her "body... simply revolted".
“The nerves in my feet burned and muscles wouldn’t seem to do their job. My hands were numb. I couldn’t tolerate loud noises," Dunham wrote. "I couldn’t sleep but I couldn’t wake up. I lost my sense of taste and smell."
She then listed further symptoms: "A hacking cough, like a metronome keeping time. Inability to breathe after simple tasks like getting a glass of water. Random red rashes.”
Dunham also said she felt a “pounding headache” between her eyes and revealed that these debilitating symptoms "went on for 21 days".
After acknowledging her privilege in having regular access to medical care during his incredibly harrowing period, Dunham said that many of her symptoms continued even after a test confirmed that the virus was no longer present in her body.
“I had swollen hands and feet, an unceasing migraine and fatigue that limited my every move,” she wrote. "Even as a chronically ill person, I had never felt this way."
“To be clear,” she continued, “I did NOT have these particular issues before I got sick with this virus and doctors don’t yet know enough about COVID-19 to be able to tell me why exactly my body responded this way or what my recovery will look like.”
She concluded her post by re-iterating the importance of adhering to social distancing guidelines. "When you take the appropriate measures to protect yourself and your neighbors, you save them a world of pain," Dunham said. "You save them a journey that nobody deserves to take with a million outcomes we don’t yet understand."
You can read her full post below.