I Found Purpose. I Found Me.

I am a Nigerian, living in one of the county's busiest cities ever, Lagos. You see, when we first read news about how Corona Virus was affecting the west, we came up with far too many theories, anything to convince ourselves that such an evil virus could not possibly touch God's own beloved continent. It was at this point that most people resolved that being in a country as Nigeria and a continent as hot as Africa was a bliss. You see, we only had access to a fair amount of truth concerning the virus and thus, we went on living our lives as though everything was normal. Unfortunately, we had no idea of how the whole of 2020 was about to change our definitions of normalcy. It was at the time that the first case of the virus was reported, that we understood how foolish we had been in ignoring the warnings and safety measures as seen in other countries and faintly broadcast by our media. It started with one case, and right under our noses, we had a total of 1000 infected people across the country and counting by the minute. A few months passed, and we went into a lock-down such like we had never had. Of course it started with curfews, which frankly, wasn't too strange for us, due to our military background. But to have the whole country shut down, from airports to borders, markets and churches, schools and offices was an event we were not prepared for. As the event unfolded, many began to lose their jobs and businesses. Offices which managed to retain their staff, could not pay salaries as usual, hereby creating a grave financial and social anxiety, thus plunging the nation into a state of panic and uncertainty. To make matters worse, surviving a pandemic became a battle; A battle that we for long fought, a battle that knows it's victor even before it begins. It is the battle of greed over compassion, intoxication of power, the wealthy versus the wretched. Across supermarkets and pharmacies, panic buying was the order of the day. Medical supplies such as nose mask, gloves, toilet papers, hand sanitizers and even Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which are only needed around here by medical staff when dealing with the infected were scarce to get a hold of. You would think that in such a time where it seemed as though the world would come to end, people would care little for money and show more compassion to one another, but sadly, that was not the case as the prices of these medical supplies which were paramount to the fight against the virus were hijacked by the wealthy, greedy and powerful in the society. The price to pay to acquire just one pack of nose mask was equivalent to a days meal for an average family of three. During the lock-down, I worked from home. This new development did not start immediately, and surely took some time getting used to. However, I thought I had it all figured out - Wake up in the morning, have breakfast, turn my computer on and work sitting in one position, till nightfall; This new normal was fast becoming! As the weeks went by, I grew tired of my new routine. With more restrictions from the government than ever, and little money to last the months to come, the hope and longing for my old life and routine were slowly turning into a far fetched fantasy. It was at this point that depression set in. As the legendary Greek philosopher, Aristotle said, β€œMan is by nature a social animal"; thus, being locked indoors with no form of social activity whatsoever was beginning to affect the state of my mental health. The social media tended to be the only peep hole into the outside world, hence, several hours spent. Unfortunately, social media could not replace my normal physical social life. I remember days where I sat by the window, starring at nothing, trying hard to occupy my mind with positive thoughts, only that these thoughts were being blocked by tall fences and the sound of emptiness. I was drowning, and fast too. I cried more times than I can remember, I thought of my dreams and goals that I had set for the year and feared that they would never be made manifest. Then somehow, in the very midst of my scattered thoughts and fears, it hit me. I am not alone in this crisis, I realized that there must be someone out there going through the same manner of confusion, fear and uncertainty as myself or even worse. Suddenly my thought pattern shifted. I went from being afraid of not knowing how I would survive the next day to thinking about how to help someone survive the present day. I wanted to bring some calm to anyone who was just like me. I wanted to give people hope, hope for today and the future. I wanted to assure people that everything would be alright, one way or another. I began what I called 'The Lock-down Series'. A platform where I shared motivational videos on social media, that would inspire those dealing with depression and other forms of anxiety due to the pandemic. In doing this, I found purpose. I found me.

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Krister Axel

Music Blogger and Memoirist at CHILLFILTR.com

Ogdensburg, United States