Fear of the unknown

I was never one to be scared of my next destination. Many people asked me if I was scared to go to Aberystwyth, and when I answered no, it was met with admiration and surprise. Apparently, it is scary to move from a place that you know to a place that you have never been before. I didn’t feel that way at the time because I felt like I had nothing to lose. Depression can make everything bleak, which also means that certain things stop being scary. If you are unhappy, then it can’t possibly be worse elsewhere, right?

It is currently uncertain where I will be in a few months time. I am certain that I will live in my current house until the end of June, but after this date, everything is open. The difference between moving from the Netherlands to here, and now moving from here to wherever is that I have reached a certain stage of happiness and feeling of security in this place. My mental health has been generally good and has arguably been at its best during my lifetime so far. Therefore, I do feel a little scared of what’s next sometimes. It’s scary because I definitely know that I never want to go back to where I was before I got better. Maybe it’s not preventable, but that doesn’t mean it’s less scary.

I am a little scared because I have come to know things that make me happy and it’s so precious to me that I’m afraid and sceptical of the chances that I would find this again. The best and most current example is the basketball team that I’ve become a part of. Before and throughout my life, I would play a sport because I wanted to play that sport. Sure, the social side would, you know, give me some socialising but it didn’t necessarily make me happy or sad, at least not consistently. Basketball is a sport I never considered doing for the sport and I stuck around because of the social side. I can feel happier playing a sport that isn’t necessarily my favourite because of the team I’m in. This is incredibly strange to me because I have been a part of three football teams, several different tennis groups and some martial art groups and in all these instances, I stuck around because I enjoyed the sport so much – enough even, to continue doing it even if the social side made me feel unhappy. Now suddenly, the roles are reversed in my basketball team and the social side makes me feel so happy, that I now genuinely enjoy the sport as well. Basketball has become like ‘my happy little pill.’ If I’m not feeling alright, I know basketball training is likely to fix it. So what happens when I leave this place? Am I going to be okay without ‘my happy little pill’ now that I’ve grown used to it? I don’t think my chances of finding another team like this are high considering it took me 22 years to find this one. However, this realisation also makes me more appreciative of the time that’s left. Rather than worrying, I’m mostly enjoying.

It seems like I feel mostly scared of moving because I’m afraid to lose the happiness and to a certain extent stability that I found here. However, I have often told myself that it doesn’t matter where you go or run to, it’s impossible to run from yourself. This would suggest that no matter where I go, nothing about me and my mental health changes unless I do. But a place can have a lot of positive influences and help the situation. I have talked about how I needed to leave the Netherlands (yes, the entire country) to get better before. Yet at the same time, there is some truth in how it shouldn’t matter where I go. If you have been keeping up with my blog it is clear that my mental health took a bit of a free fall in these past few months, and so staying in Aberystwyth would not be a guarantee that I will be fine. However, one of the reasons why I can deal with bad periods of time is because of the safety net that I have built up here. I already mentioned how the guaranteed basketball practises help. I also know that I can knock on my flatmate’s door and go to any pub in town to have some comfort food and a conversation. Just being in this town – stepping outside and finding a beautiful spot of nature can put my mind at ease a little bit. Knowing my way around and living on my own (I mean without parents) too, helps.

However, if I would stop exploring the world and chasing my dreams to stay in this town because I think that this place secures my happiness, then I might as well be sabotaging my happiness. There is no need to be afraid because no matter where you go, there will always be new friends to make, new teams to join, new areas to explore etc. Plus, even if you move, it doesn’t mean whatever you had is necessarily lost. The experience stays with you and with the internet, it is easy to keep in touch. Besides, if all new fails, what is to stop me from moving back to the place where it was so good? Never limit yourself out of fear. It’s okay to be a little uncertain and afraid of what the future will bring, but it’s also important to trust that it will be okay. It’s important to take new steps to keep growing and when the time is right, I’m sure I’ll settle down somewhere. For now, I’m still ready to explore and even though I don’t know what life will bring once I finish my degree, I’m also kind of excited to find out. 

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