The lockdown is a nightmare

I’m going to be really honest. this week is the first hard one. Sure, I have faced the fear of contracting the virus, been stunned by the sobering sight of death, and grieved the separation from my friends. But this week is hard for a different reason

It is the first week where I really felt the acute sting of loneliness, helplessness. After weeks of lock-down without going to town for the hustle, without friends, the toll of isolation finally caught up to me.

As I fell asleep last night with silent tears stinging my cheek, I finally let down the brave facade I had been sustaining with every last ounce of myself. I finally let myself truly feel. It is so sad that companies are not renewing contracts for some of the employees, things are getting worse day by day

And the feeling I was confronted with: was loneliness. During the first weeks, the Zoom parties made it feel exciting and the connections with the people felt electric. Like we were all in a space ship

As the calendar days roll on, that excitement has been extinguished by new challenges, difficult realities, and the truth that isolation is a nightmare for the soul particularly hustlers like myself and others

To paint a picture, I stay in the heart of Kampala. It’s a small area but cozy. But even with all the creature comforts and crooning melodies played through my phone, there is an emptiness of heart, being alone

Ironically, I’m not alone in this feeling. I posted a text on my what’s app status with a suicidal video provoking other people and responses I received, some of them are missing loved ones and feeling lonely, some lost Jobs and they are suffering silently

There’s a collective heaviness of heart that is running rampant through our current quarantined, lock-down existence

It is been keenly revealing, the lock-down exposed people’s true colours which have been surprising both good and bad? I have been surprised by some people’s creativity; others, their humour; some, their cooking skills like my friends Mirondo Joshua, a real husband of Kisaasi and Geno Eric have been on the internet praising themselves how they are good chefs and ready to care of someone’s daughter, interesting times!

Also surprising, is seeing who has reached out, and where there has been radio silence. A truth that’s loud and clear in the silence of these four quarantined walls and that has been the most challenging aspect of all of this. Adding insult to the injury of loneliness.

I think I need to remember that we are all coping with this upended reality in the best way that we each know and how much everyone grieves differently, so too are we each surviving this difficult season of isolation and that looks different for everyone

Waking up this morning, with the daylight and the bright, shining sun, came a new perspective on this whole situation. Yes, quarantine has illuminated a lot of difficult truths that I can choose to dwell on and fixate upon their disappointment or I can choose to focus on another truth that has come to surface in all of this

Don’t forget to check on your friends, you might see them smiling on social media but in reality, they need someone to talk too and that is you and me, let us encourage each other, we are in this fight together and we are winning the battle.

Wash your hands. stay home. Avoid gatherings and stay connected with family/friends

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Frank Byaruhanga is a human rights activist with years of experience in community dialogues, digital communication, advocacy and digital campaigns. He specializes in Media Relation Work, Management and Training with sufficient knowledge in Governance, Accountability, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, Youth-led research, Content developer, Creative Activism, Social Media Management and documentary photography.

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