5 Nigerians Tell Us How Working From Home Is Affecting Their Mental Health

April 17, 2020

There are three categories of people. You are either working from home, staying at home, or an essential worker. For people who work from home, it has been 30 long days. Or is it 21days? we no longer remember.

In my stay at home, I have experienced extreme mental states; anxiety, apathy, happiness, lethargy. Curious about how other people are faring, I spoke to a couple of Nigerians.

Here’s what they had to say:

Victor, 21 – Slack notifications make me anxious.

“Every time I hear the message notification from Slack, I start to panic. “Are they finally laying us off?” “Are we going to be placed on compulsory leave?” So many scenarios playing in my head. To be honest, I don’t know if we will get paid this month. As a precaution, I didn’t spend last month’s salary. Still, I ask myself, if I lose my job, how long can my savings sustain me for? Wo, I don’t like the answer so I distract myself with Social media. “

Jessica, 26 – There are no boundaries.

“I feel choked. I feel like I work round the clock these days. My manager actually sends me emails by midnight and says “immediate attention.” It’s the middle of the night for goodness sake. I want to draw a healthy boundary with her but I remember my time unemployed. I can never go back to that time. I will rather be worried that I may sleep off and miss an email than be unemployed. I need to be jobless for 7 days stretch with the assurance of salary come what may.”

Kayode, 25 – I took a loan but we got salary cuts.

“I love my job. I really do. My colleagues are amazing, I live near work. What’s not to love? I have even refused various offers just to stay with the company. My dilemma now is that we are in a financial crisis and there have been salary cuts. Senior staff like me got a salary cut to make sure no one in the organization gets fired. This is nice and noble but I was banking on my full salary to make rent. My rent is due in two months and I have no clue how to get it. I would have left if things were normal but this is a terrible time to be unemployed.

I wake up every day with panic attacks. I can’t work, I can’t look for work. I feel so numb and helpless. The only time I feel alive is when I masturbate and that’s all of four seconds. I can’t possibly masturbate all day because I want to feel alive – it’s not sustainable.”

Tolu, 22 – I feel frustrated.

“I am tired of being tired. Everything just dey frustrate me. At first, work from home was intense but now all our clients are on hold. So, I feel restless and anxious. I can’t sleep in the day because I am worried about work. “How will they determine who they fire?” “Shebi I did well last month?” I can’t sleep at night because vigilante people are busy burning tyres and blowing whistles up and down the street. My recurrent nightmare is that they robbed our house.

Last night, I tried to listen to the sound of rain to fall asleep. At one point, I was scared that since I was using earphones, I wouldn’t hear if someone broke in. So, I removed my earphones and spent the whole night in a ball of anxiety. I kept jumping at every noise.”

Kenny, 24 – I feel fine.

“I feel fine but I don’t think it’s because of something I did. I think I am just one of those people who don’t fret. I take each day as it comes. I control what I can control which is showing up. Any task, I can’t finish in a day, I roll it over to the next day. I think my biggest worry is what I will eat because I am lazy. Apart from that, I am not bothered about most things. As I said, it’s not something that is deliberate, it’s just how I am. Shout out to my mum and dad for the sweet genes.”

Hassan Yahaya

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