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Voices

EskomSePushes us over the edge

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Do you lie awake at night waiting for the power to return? Do you feel anxious when the electricity remains on when according the schedule, it’s meant to be off? Do you find yourself checking to see if that one appliance light is on because that’s your loadshedding indicator?

Do you find yourself checking EskomSePush repeatedly in case of a sudden change and confirming your suburb zone? Do you feel it necessary to confirm with someone that their lights are out when you go dark? And then notifying a minimum of three people that your power is back?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then, like me, you’re probably suffering from Loadshedding Anxiety Disorder. Otherwise known as LAD.

It’s not a thing. But it should be. And I’m a sufferer.

LAD doesn’t yet appear as a recognised psychiatric disorder. The psychologist’s reference book Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition,” the DSM-5 to its friends, in fact remains stubbornly silent in this regard. It gives no credit to this fast growing epidemic and offers no advice about how it should be managed.

My own experience is such that when stage 6 loadshedding was announced, I had full-blown symptoms. When the power was turned off at 18:00, I remained vigilant until 22:15 when it returned. The fact that I wanted to sleep was irrelevant as I knew there was little chance of that happening until I was assured that electricity had returned. This was exacerbated by the fact that we were scheduled to go off at midnight (I confirmed that on EskomSePush), which meant that I needed to remain awake until midnight to make sure that the schedule would be adhered to. It goes without saying that would also mean remaining alert until it returned at 02:30.

Only, it didn’t go off at midnight. Which is very anxiety provoking. After confirming the schedule, doing a quick zone search, and holding my breath for 12 minutes, I finally started to unwind and accept that the power was to remain on for this period.

Which is surprisingly and horrifyingly unnerving.

Eskom, together with the African National Congress, it would seem, isn’t good for our mental health. At least, not mine. And those who suffer from LAD.

I don’t have a generator. But from those who do have back up in this form, I’m told it isn’t necessarily a silver bullet. Fellow sufferers speak of the incredible anxiety between the power going off and the generator turning on. Will it or wont it? Has it taken too long? Is there enough fuel? All are constant worries from the generated. Inverter owners have their own unique worries. Did the battery have enough time to charge? How long will it last, and is there something else we should be removing from the circuit?

Loadshedding Anxiety Disorder isn’t a thing. Not officially anyway. But it’s an accurate description of what we, as a country, are enduring. It’s not pleasant. It’s not fun. But the one thing that we know is that we’re all in this together.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Monique Levine

    Jun 30, 2022 at 12:11 pm

    Hi Howard. Think of us in Sandton. Load-shedding Stage 6 kicked in. Bad enough. And then it ended and the lights came on – but they didn’t. Because thieves had taken the opportunity to steal the copper cables. It took the whole day to restore the power. And the lights came on at precisely 17.57. Only to go off again at 18.00. You’ve guessed it. Load-shedding again. This time, a different (armed) gang took the opportunity to invade a house. This took things to a whole different level. This is life in South Africa. It is no joke.

  2. yitzchak

    Jun 30, 2022 at 12:12 pm

    how many southefricans does it take to screw in a longlife lightbulb?

  3. Gail

    Jun 30, 2022 at 8:32 pm

    Seems I suffer from LAD! Not to mention the crick in my neck as I keep turning my head to check the inverter level. And that sense of panic when 4 bars on the inverter become 3, then 2 …

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