A story about freedom, facing your fears, and the reality
- Credit: Anne Bonfert
This is me. And I don’t like it when people make decisions about my life. About what I am supposed to wear, who I am allowed to visit, and where I am going to spend my free time. I don’t like being told what to do. And what not to do.
I get it. This whole virus thing. It’s killing people. So do many other things in life. Weapons, mental illnesses, and hunger are just as deadly. If not even worse. But aren’t treated even nearly as seriously as this virus.
The mental health does count
I do know that I am privileged. Privileged for where I live and how I live.
I live in a first-world country. I did not lose my job within the past six months (maybe because I never had an unrestricted working contract, but that is another topic). I did not lose my house. I did not lose any relatives. I have enough food on the table. Every single day.
Which makes me part of a small percentage in the world who is lucky enough to still live happily. But wait, what does happily mean? Just because I am not as badly hit as the others doesn’t mean that I can’t be unhappy with the situation. It doesn’t mean I can’t be struggling too. It doesn’t mean I am not suffering mentally from all of this.
Because I am.
I felt like I am not allowed to complain. I have too good of a life to complain about the situation. That’s what I thought.
But that’s not true. I have been feeling down for the past few weeks. I couldn’t get motivated to do stuff. I felt like I am just ticking off things on a list. Every day just doing what had to be done.
Obviously, I am not happy. And what got me more upset is that I couldn’t figure out why. I am a happy person. I motivate people in life. I spread happiness. I can’t feel depressed.
So what now?
Face your fears
I asked myself a few questions. Why are you depressed? What is making you unhappy? And what can you do to change those things?
First comes first. My fear. I guess I am scared of being locked in. I am scared of being told what I am not allowed to do. I’ve always been doing things as a child which wasn’t very girl-like to do. I might have pretended like it didn’t bother me. But it stayed with me.
Later I was told I cannot travel through Africa. Not alone as a woman. That is not possible. It’s not safe for me. That’s what they said.
But I just walked over those words. Because that was their fear of talking about the unknown. Not mine. I wasn’t scared about going. I was excited. I was full of adrenaline.
I am an adventure enthusiast.
That is why I went.
My fear is about being stuck in one place. About not being able to travel. Not being able to move on in life. I am scared of getting bored from routine. I need challenges and new experiences.
But the world looks different now. For the past six months, I have been restricted in movement heavily. I still did two flights across three different continents within the past six months. But that was different from my usual travels.
I flew on different dates than planned because of a lack of tourism all of a sudden. I flew with a charted flight due to a lack of scheduled flights across the continents. I flew alone without my partner because of changed immigration rules.
But I was okay with it. I can adapt. I rearrange plans. I move on.
Until it kept going. Invisible. Those adjustments. Changes. Restrictions on my life.
I don’t mind that face mask. I have been wearing face masks in Thailand voluntarily. Because of the bad air pollution. I have been wearing buffs at various sports I am performing for different reasons.
But it’s the restrictions in my every day life that affects not just my lifestyle.
I don’t see my family very often due to my work-related travels across the world. And I value our relationship a lot. Despite being told that elders should be distanced from the outside world I visited them. I decided to spend my travel-related quarantine with my grandma. Because her mental health is more fragile and dangerous than her weakness to the virus.
I accepted the fact that I couldn’t go to Spain this year for a further training course. Due to strict quarantine regulations which would have affected my work. I just scheduled it for next year.
I did plan a holiday for my family in northern Italy in October. A hiking trip. We would be staying in a flat on our own. Hike in nature without any contact with people. Yet the government decided again that this would not be happening.
And once again I rearranged my plans. Looked for alternatives. Last-minute bookings. I called every number I found for a flat in the south of Germany. Somewhere in the mountains. So that my family still could go on a very important hiking holiday.
Important, because and for our mental and physical health.
Another fear of mine
So that I had to overcome another fear. The fear of talking to strangers on the phone. I do know it might sound weird for an adult. But I do hate having phone calls. I much rather write a two-page long e-mail.
As a child, it all started. I don’t know why. But I was really scared of hearing a stranger on the other side of the phone. My mom would force me to call through the dentist for an appointment and I would go and hide in my room.
Not because I was scared of the dentist. I loved going to the dentist as a child. As weird as it sounds. I loved the nurses too. I just wouldn’t wanna make that call. Or so many others.
Well, yesterday I made 27 phone calls trying to find a place to stay in overbooked Germany. Since we aren’t allowed to go anywhere we, Germans, just travel in our own country.
I was successful in the end. But I am telling you. I am not happy. Because it wasn’t my choice to go there. Politicians decided where I can’t spend my free time. And they decide where I do spend my holiday because of their restrictions.
They decide weather I am happy or not. And this makes me angry. Upset. Mad. Sad and depressed.
And don’t tell me this is for the safety of everyone. That’s been said in this country before and it didn’t end up well.
I want my freedom back. I promise I won’t come close to any of you who are scared. I just want to go to places. With little people. I don’t like crowded places anyways. I want to be in nature.
Live my life and be happy.
“Don’t think too much about how others see you. Everyone sees you differently.” — Jerry Corsten