How COVID 19 has changed my life in 4 weeks

How COVID 19 has changed my life in 4 weeks

Date: April 13, 2020
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It is puzzling how only a few weeks ago (March 2020), life was normal. Now everything has flipped over because of the corona virus disease (COVID-19). When the year 2020 started, I had dreams and hopes. But all these have vanished into thin air and have been replaced with anxiety and hopelessness. You see, I worry first about keeping safe and healthy during this time as well as keeping body and soul together.

It boggles the mind how a virus can spread so rapidly, bringing everything to a standstill and disrupting millions of lives. I never imagined my life would just change for the worst in a matter of days. When COVID-19 cases started increasing in South Africa in March, I never anticipated a lockdown. Whilst I knew the disease was serious, I secretly hoped it would be contained without causing major disruptions. But boy, was I wrong!

Many young people in South Africa work in restaurants, sports bars, taverns and clubs and I am one of such. With the closure of these businesses many people lost their jobs. I was also a victim of the closure of a tavern I was working at. No work no pay, is now the painful buzz word. I have not been working for a month and due to the nature of the industry I’m not entitled to a salary, understandably so because the business is not generating any income. Whilst other sectors can work from home, those of us in entertainment have to watch and wait wondering what will kill us first-hunger or COVID 19.

This has really affected me emotionally as I feel totally emasculated. When as a man, you go for an indefinite period of time with no sense of when you will get your next income, it is hugely upsetting. Our society has raised us to be breadwinners and not charity cases. This pandemic has really put a lot of us men under pressure.

Just the other day I watched helplessly as I witnessed a verbal feud between a man and his pregnant wife. Whilst I never got a sense of what the fight was all about, the level of anger on the man’s part made me think he was dealing with bottled up frustration. He completely humiliated his wife in a public place. The wife tried to reason with him but he just continued with a slew of insults.  It made me wonder, how many women are experiencing domestic violence during this time.

Whilst I sit and mourn about my sorrows, I know a lot of women on my street who used to sell vegetables and sweets who are now stranded. Even though there have been permits issued to some, not everyone has had the privilege of getting one. This therefore is a hold off to their lives. Some go through more domestic tension in the home. This situation is just tough on everyone. You do not even know who to borrow money from. How do you even borrow when you do not know when your next incoming is coming? I have no sense of what lies ahead after the lockdown. Living from ‘hand to mouth’ has become a daily reality.

But I am also fighting another tension in my head-how many people will survive COVID-19? It is very scary. I am sure a lot of us have ‘experienced’ the symptoms in our heads. I certainly have woken up thinking I am running a fever only to realise I am just imagining it. Just having any slight cough is enough to make me panic. Not to mention the stares this attracts. We will all need therapy after this.

I think of my family members every day and hope no one falls sick because I would not be able to handle it. I have enough to deal with already. I have two close family members working in the health care sector. While they are my heroines, I pray to God every day to keep them safe. They are mothers, daughters, sisters and wives, yet they have to make the painful sacrifice on the frontline. To make it worse, there is no social life to take one’s mind off things. My favourite soccer teams are not playing either.

When you switch on the TV, it’s all COVID-19 and it is emotionally taxing. The statistics surrounding the virus have become the major topics everywhere. Whilst information is power, some days I feel like shutting out all the noise completely. Never in my life have I seen human beings die at such a scale.

COVID-19 has caused uncertainty, enormous anxiety and pressure on all of us. I know I will struggle to rebound after this. Lot of verbiage of, “we all going to get through this”. Really? Yes the virus will eventually pass, many will indeed get through this but life will never be the same. We have lost time, our plans and goals have been halted, not to mention the psychological damage.

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