COVID-19 Slowed My Mental Health Recovery…

By Davis Kawalya ‘Shawn’

I could swear that January, which coincides as my birth month, was my worst month in all the years I have seen the sun and the moon. Then came the coronavirus pandemic that has the whole world on tenterhooks!

Could it be that this is not meant to be my year, or is the Lord testing me? You see, in January, I had a mental breakdown that sent me in a frenzy of looking for ways to hurt myself. Thanks to my strong support system, I  survived. Barely. I barely survived because not many months later, a full lockdown was initiated in a bid to curb the spread of the Coronavirus.

On one hand, the COVID-19 lockdown is one of the best things that has ever happened to me and on the other it is the nightmare that keeps me sweating all night. Prior to all this, I was partly unemployed, I still am. All I had for a source of income was a few consultancy gigs that kept me on my feet, a collection of debts that kept me awake with the mosquitoes of the night and a few friends that kept reminding me that all will be well.

On a good note, the lockdown has helped me reflect on all my life choices and has reshaped my mental health to withstand almost anything, but the lockdown. On a bad note, I am still wallowing in debt, with no stable source of income, no promise of another day, but only voices of friends encouraging me that all will be well.

The lockdown has enabled some creatives, and has crippled the rest of us. I am not too good with economics, but one thing is sure, the lockdown has reduced the amount of money floating around. This means many clients are cutting down their budgets on creative work and focusing on survival, and this is not a good thing for most of us. Consultancy gigs have gone down, everyone is almost poor – I think introverts call it ‘being broke’, the employers that want to give you some ‘ka’ money are asking for physical interviews that are almost an impossibility since the relaxation on transport is not what you really think it is.

With sight of online campaigns ahead of the 2021 elections, as a creative, I see a chance to make some money, an opportunity to break even after all this, but again, nothing is really promised.

I really do not know how the government would help in such a situation. I just pray that they manage to keep us safe through all this, after all, life is a figment of imagination, and sometimes a blink of an eye – life is precious. I really think the Government has done all it can to support us through these times, save for the corruption making runs in this country, the government has done a good job. I applaud them.