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Heidi Ferrer's Instagram Charted Her COVID Battle Before Her Death

Newsweek logo Newsweek 6/18/2021 Ryan Smith
Heidi Ferrer smiling for the camera: Writer Heidi Ferrer arrives at the premiere for "The Hottie & The Nottie" held at the Egyptian Theatre on February 4, 2008 in Hollywood, California. The screenwriter's husband has revealed that she died by suicide last month after a battle with long COVID. © Jeff Vespa/WireImage Writer Heidi Ferrer arrives at the premiere for "The Hottie & The Nottie" held at the Egyptian Theatre on February 4, 2008 in Hollywood, California. The screenwriter's husband has revealed that she died by suicide last month after a battle with long COVID.

Screenwriter Heidi Ferrer, whose credits include episodes of Dawson's Creek and the Paris Hilton comedy The Hottie & The Nottie, has died at the age of 50.

Her husband Nick Guthe announced that Ferrer had died by suicide on May 26, 13 months after she first contracted COVID-19.

Posting on his wife's Girl to Mom blog on June 1, Guthe wrote: "The excruciating physical pain and inability to sleep from the pain led Heidi to the decision she would rather leave this world on her own terms before her condition worsened more."

He added: "She never would have made this decision if not for her intense suffering from Long Haul Covid. Over 13 months it took every part of her life away: her mobility, her enjoyment of food as she had to eat a very restrictive diet, and, in the end, her ability to sleep and even to read books and enjoy them."

Ferrer had documented her struggles with the novel coronavirus, which she contracted in April 2020, on her blog and Instagram account.

In a blog post dated September 8, 2020, she described symptoms including blurred vision, intense pain in her feet and fatigue. At the height of her illness, Ferrer added, it felt as though her body was "attacking itself."

She wrote: "I gained the perspective that while I was not the most unlucky who died from this disease, I was not the luckiest who perhaps never catch it or have a completely asymptomatic case. I was in the middle group, in a kind of purgatory that often dipped into hell."

In the same post, Ferrer said of her family: "My husband and sweet 13-year-old son Bexon wanted me here and alive even if all I could do was exist. I know I was (and am) so very lucky. It made us closer as a family.

"I couldn't write, create or think of the future. The future was a blank. One of the cruelest things Covid did to me was to take away my ability to have dreams. I don't mean dreams in my sleep, I mean I completely stopped dreaming about my future because I couldn't picture it. It was a wall.

"Yes, everyone had lost our trips, our events, our free lives during the shutdown, but I had lost all of that and also became suddenly crippled with scary neurological programs."

On September 9, 2020, she posted a cheerful selfie on Instagram, juxtaposing her health problems with a celebration of her sobriety.

"I've been down a terrifying medical rabbit hole with #LongHaulCovid for the last 5 months!" Ferrer wrote. "I'm coming up on 1,000 days #sober - luckily this virus didn't make me want to drink alcohol at all."

She added: "I was crippled, my brain broke, my eyesight became blurry, I still have scary neurological problems. My recovery experience and spiritual work helped pull me through."

In a blog entry dated January 25, 2021, Ferrer said she was "cautiously optimistic" about her recovery, after battling "over 40 scary and even crippling Long Covid symptoms in July." Her final blog post, uploaded on April 30, was about eco-friendly products for the home.

Ferrer's last Instagram post was dated December 31, 2020. Sharing a snapshot of herself flashing the peace sign, the Kansas native focused once again on her sobriety.

"I'm 3 years sober today!" Ferrer wrote. "I don't miss it, I don't care if other people drink, I'm neutral. It's just not for me. This was impossible at many points, more moments than I can count, this was move a mountain hard, it took more than 10 years, but now it's just the way I live.

"Everything is impossible and everything is possible at the exact same time, within the same moment. I'm grateful to everyone who's helped me, including... this warm hug of a brilliant community. To new hope in the (yes please) Happy New Year! I love you."

If you have thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available for free at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. The line is available 24 hours every day.

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