Above & Beyond Speaks Out On Getting Coronavirus: "Terrifying… Excruciating Chest Pains"

Nearly two months ago, Paavo Siljamäki of Above & Beyond revealed he had COVID-19. The news came as a shock to fans, not because they thought “never Paavo,” but for the same reason that anyone announcing they contracted the illness.

Now, mostly recovered, Paavo spoke to Billboard about what it was like having COVID, what it felt like when he learned that shows were getting cancelled, and more.

Speaking on the peak of his illness, he said, “I had really, really severe chest pains … On about day eleven, I woke up at 5 a.m. thinking I was having a heart attack. I had severe, excruciating chest pains. It was just terrifying. I had a lot of physical pain, but when you multiply it with the emotional side of being ill …”

Now, it’s mostly just more frequent trouble breathing, as he says he thinks his lungs have just been damaged by the illness and will take some time to recover.

He maintained his routine of morning meditation during his sickness, “Part of meditation and yoga is body awareness and just realizing that there is a lot of pain. Being OK with it was part of the practice.” But he credits a lot of his neighbors and the kindness of others.

Billboard asked, “As someone who’s had coronavirus pretty seriously, what would do you want people to now about it?” and his answer is something everyone should read.

“I feel like right now in the world, people all want to take a stand and make a decision on something, regarding who’s right or wrong. I certainly spend a lot of time watching the news and trying to understand it. Having gone through it, I would say that maybe it’s time we all realize that we don’t need to know it all. My health thing was uncertain. I didn’t know how it was going to go. I had to be OK with the fact that I really didn’t know what was going to happen.

It just feels like there’s a lot of fear, uncertainty and stress in people. Everyone’s looking for a target for their anger and fear, and politics is going to give you a great place for it. Conspiracy theories are going to give you a great place for it. Fighting with people is going to give you a great place for it.

I wish for people to be aware that that’s what’s happening. If something you’ve read on the news makes you really angry, you need to consider whether it’s that thing, or if it’s your own anger being multiplied by this thing. Ask yourself if you can be happier tomorrow. Maybe it’s watching a bit less news or engaging less in certain things that affect your personal happiness. For me personally, the happier I am the better person I am in society. So I really have to actively pick what I read and do.”

You can read the full interview here.


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