How to free yourself from your cages?

Updated: May 9

If "freedom is a state of mind", how do we get there?

* This article is published in Change Your Mind, Change Your Life at Medium on May 8,2021


When you move to a new country, what do you miss the most?


Your friends?

Family?

Work colleagues?

Food?


all of the above perhaps...


Arriving to a new country is a big change and new immigrants go through all sorts of changes.

When you move to another country, first you go through this euphoria phase, where everything is new and novel. You are all excited and pumped up with adrenaline. You power through a lot of things, renting your home, finding a job and settling to your new place.


Slowly, that excitement wears out and leaves its place to a strange feeling.


An icky one. Sadness mixed with confusion. What is it? *


It carries a tiny piece of Disappointment with a capital D, meaning that not everything is what you imagined. Not as good as it looked from outside.


That phase is when you miss your "home".


At this phase when you might think like,

"Why did I come here?"

"I miss...It was so good."

"I wish I was.... and that I could do...."

"... was so good/different back home, Why did we come here again?"

"We used to do this ... way, here it is so different..."


These kinds of comparisons go on for a while, until you find your inner peace and accept your new home, as it is.


It takes time to find your people, your place and your rhythm. At some point, you do.

You feel like you are at home.

Eventually.


When we moved to Canada, from US, I thought I would be fine.


I mean, first, it was the same continent (at least). Our first move was across the ocean... That was a BIG change, I thought.


"The continent is same, it is right across the border - NY vs Toronto I mean. So, the culture and way of living is similar, I suppose?" I thought.

Well... I was partially right, partially wrong.


and secondly, I thought "I am not from the US originally, I stayed there *only* 5 years here, and I was technically a visitor, this was not my home, how hard this move could be?"


Well, I was quite wrong about that.


We moved to Canada in the middle of the pandemic and when we arrived, Ontario was suddenly put under lockdown (still under it one way or another... after 7 months...) So I felt like that excitement and novelty phase was kind of "stolen" from us, as we were not able to see anywhere or meet with anyone.


So, I may have gone straight to that second "disappointment + slight depression" phase.


The world of comparisons and missing "home".


The Why, why, why phase.


The US might not be my country of birth, but it was my home for the past 5 years.


I lived there, I worked there. I had my daughter there. All my life was there. Including my therapist.


Of course, it was not all roses and butterflies.


Actually I was quite unhappy about a lot of things,

The endless immigration issues, that made us finally give up, and decide to come to Canada.

The hustle and bustle culture...that never let you take a real break.

The "busyness" epidemic, again working until complete burnout.

The cost of healthcare, I mean paying almost 500$ per month?!is quite crazy...

The family-hostile culture, going back to work after 6-8 weeks and putting your LO to daycare, when she/he is that small....

The glass ceiling for immigrants and for mothers, in academia and all other workplaces... don't even get me started on that!


I remember all of them vividly.


yet, leaving everything behind has been tough. I miss everything.


Including and mostly my therapist.


I mentioned I have been to therapy here and there in my several posts, and but haven't talked about it directly. Tossing and turning around it, but not getting to the heart of the matter. Typical me.



Frankly, I have two drafts sitting in my drafts section, for a while.


One is about my mental health advocacy journey and the second one is titled: "What is therapy?" Somehow these posts didn't come alive. They are unfinished for a long time...