Why We Cannot Prepare to Leave Something Behind — or for Negative Feelings in General.

On the moving-to-other-places-scale I must be a little above average. I never had to change schools, though we had moved 6 times, before I left my parents’ house. Some years of moving between different cities, in the conurbation of west Germany, and travels across South America later, I began my studies in Freiburg in 2016. For the first time, I lived in another state of Germany, and it was different in fact. More sun, more nature, less culture and no beer after 10pm. Not that I always needed a beer after 10, but growing up with a Kiosk at every other corner, I felt deprived of my rights.

4 years later I find myself very happy in this city, not only because they got rid of that unrighteous law of alcohol-drinking, but because I really have grown roots here. Roots stronger then in most of the places I lived before, including my hometown. That might be the reason why I am much sadder to leave this time. But being conscious about it, should give me the power to make it less painful, or not?

Walking it out and other strategies

As a way of coping, I began to stroll through the city by time of the golden hour. No rocket science here, as walking is a popular way for taking the edge off. But where others might dwell into nature, I enjoy to watch people. People who eat, drink and chat, dance, flirt and discuss. People who watch other people. Tourists who yet have the city to discover, which, if I am lucky enough, will ask me for advice. Not knowing that they are doing me much more of a favour, than I am doing them.

So there comes this day where i an finishing my daily walk at one of my favorite spots in the city, and take out my journaling book, which isn’t part of the trip on most days. But somehow I already had this feeling, walking would not be enough that day. I am in the middle of listening to a Ted Talk by Lucy Hone, whose talking about grief and resilience.

She is at that point of the talk, where she asks her audience to stand up if they had experienced a range of things, that may lead to grief. As I am internally checking, at which point I would have gotten up, the word echos in a less present part of my brain: Grief. Am I grieving right now? Isn’t leaving a city much closer to grief than to any other negative feeling?

Lucy Hone names three strategies resilient people use:

1. Focussing on the things they can change, and let go of those they cannot.

2. Reminding themselves as often as necessary of the things they do have.

3. When making a decision they ask themselves: would it help me or harm me?

To my sheer surprise, I had already cooperated those strategies into my life — not only in moments which required resilience, but in my everyday life. So if so, why could I not use this tools right now? This was my exact problem, for every way that I came up with, to ease my mind, I was not sure: would it help me?

Preparing to leave — Why it does not work

When it became definite that I would leave this summer, I began to plan my leaving: having my friends and parents come visit me again, a new job, and telling to myself over and over again, how nice it will be to live through Freiburg summer again. With all its smaller and bigger festival like CSD or ‘Weinfeste’. Everything. One more time. Well, as we all know, 2020 isn’t exactly the year where your plans are probable to happen. And as much as I tried to prepare myself to leave, it did not work out.

While I was trying to anticipate my experience, I was not in the experience.

Even if I would like to blame it all on the current crisis, I realized in this very moment, that I cannot prepare myself completely for the depression that is implied by moving cities. While I was trying to anticipate my experience, I was not in the experience. I was not living through it, and those strategies mentioned above, are only really applicable when I am experiencing grief. When I am in the experience. Only then my emotions could work the way they were designed, as an interface between me and the world around me, allowing my mind and my body to make sense of what was going on.

So I put on some of the saddest songs I could find and cried for some solid 30 minutes — for those who wonder, first song was Bon Ivers version of Skinny love. Besides feeling some relieve, and a little more sad at the same time, I was suddenly able to answer the questions I had been jumping around for weeks. Help or harm. It does not matter whether I am throwing a far-well party or not, focussing or let’s called it out, panicking about stuff like this was just a way I tried to stay in control. To keep my mind busy, thus neglecting the real work. To get back into control about something I could not control. My grief about leaving Freiburg.

Not be mentioned, but Party is on for sure.

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💻 Studying Computer-linguistics🎓B.A. Ibero-Romance Culture + Cognitive Sciences 👩🏼‍🦱 Technological Utopian 🦾 Art fueled 🎨 Plant based 🌱 Music Enthusiast

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Daliah Marie 🇩🇪🇬🇧🇪🇸

Daliah Marie 🇩🇪🇬🇧🇪🇸

💻 Studying Computer-linguistics🎓B.A. Ibero-Romance Culture + Cognitive Sciences 👩🏼‍🦱 Technological Utopian 🦾 Art fueled 🎨 Plant based 🌱 Music Enthusiast

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