Here she tells The Local about discovering and coping with one of her biggest challenges during lockdown.
Three weeks ago it all became a bit too much and I spent the best part of two days in tears. I put it down to isolation, fear of an unseen threat and being disconnected from my friends and family back home.
I didn’t share my feelings or discuss my mini-breakdown with anyone until last weekend when I spoke to another American friend who expressed his own frustrations and it was so timely. It was a relief to find someone felt the same way. Then I talked to a few other friends and discovered they too had been having the same experiences.
So here’s a breakdown of what we realised:
1. Our American friends and family back home will demonize us for speaking the truth. They became angry and then simply began to ignore us and our warnings. Instead of welcoming the information and our experience they pushed back; Facts became opinions.
2. We realized that our American friends' and family's refusal to believe us is based on ignorance and a culturally ingrained arrogance which has them believe they are better, more knowledgeable, more capable, more intelligent, et cetera, than everyone else in the world. Including and especially us because we left to go live in a foreign place.
3. We realized how little international news is actually shown in America, and that we are basically providing the majority of it to them. Friends knew little to nothing about the situation in other countries because there was very little in the news other than what Trump is saying. And his lies and misinformation were confusing them; they didn't know who or what to believe.
4. We know that our friends' and family's chances of dying (and some likely will) are much greater because they refuse to self-isolate, do proper social distancing (or even do any social distancing at all) and or aren't taking the virus seriously and or think it's a hoax.
President Trump during a White House briefing. Photo: AFP
5. Our foreign friends and loved ones around us, whose countries are taking the proper measures, won't understand our pain because their friends, families, governments are taking the virus seriously. We express these frustrations to them and they talk about how terrible our president is. (Yes, we already know.)
6. We realized we're safer and have more reliable access to healthcare in our foreign country than back at home.
7. We feel helpless, frustrated, and upset that our friends' and family won't listen. We worry for their health, safety, their lives.
8. We know we can only control what we do, not what others do …. But that doesn't make friends' and family's words and actions dismissing us and all our warnings any easier to digest.
9. We wonder if continuing to try and inform our friends and family will eventually help them realize how serious this all is. Or will it simply be an exercise in futility until they or someone they know ends up in a hospital on a respirator, or worse.
I’m sharing my thoughts about this in the hope that it will make others realise they are not alone with their concerns, and to encourage them to open up and talk to others about their experience.
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