Written Story by Ammy Omekara

Covid Wahala

Covid19 has been on everyone’s mind since it began. It has halted activities, outings, work, and everyday life. My parents had just come back from Nigeria when it surged. The moment they landed, news headlines were filled with the death tolls, spreading power, those at risk, community changes, lack of supplies, etc. For two years I was invincible, because I never caught the virus. I went from being able to obtain anything I desired, having a surplus of provisions to choose from, to nearly nothing overnight. I worked for a small business staffing agency that was doing well at the peak of the pandemic – candidates were getting job offers, and phone lines were ringing off the hook from clients seeking assistance. At one point, we were moved to remote work until things drastically tanked. It was almost impossible to gain new accounts, everyone was holding on to the little they had to get them through the current state. In the blink of an eye, we were furloughed, not knowing when things would be back to normal – if there would be such a thing as that. Days turned to weeks, months and years, but I still couldn’t get back to work. I burned through my savings account before I could exhale. More money was leaving my account than coming in. I wasn’t able to pay my rent, car note, food and everyday necessities. If not for the help of some concerned family and friends that mentioned unemployment benefits, food stamps and Oregon Health Plan (OHP), I would not be here today. 

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. Oftentimes we neglect the most important organ in our bodies – our brain. If we do not fuel our bodies with the nutrients it needs to survive, it will always be on fight mode – struggling to stay functional. I’ve had the privilege to be blessed with a therapist that aids me in working through my traumas and navigating through life. Gaining the confidence, will or strength to go after everyday life has been nothing short of a struggle. There were nights I toiled with the inability to sleep, losing my appetite, finding it nearly impossible to get out of bed, and my anxiety reaching a level I was unable to control. For many months, nobody knew what was happening, but they noticed differences in my interactions, my physical appearance and overall mental health. There’s this unspoken rule that we all ought to reach a level that demonstrates having it together. But in reality, we’re just trying to get by to better understand ourselves and achieve our individual representations of success.  The road to wealth is subject to change. We may plan to go through one path, but life takes an entirely different direction. No one saw this pandemic coming, but we all went through it together. We discovered our likes and dislikes, acquired new skills, sharpened old ones, gained and lost loved ones, but identified who we are as one. We are better together, than nothing alone.