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23 Oct

Hi CS, Hope you are well in this world we live in today with all its upheavals. I am suffering from extreme anxiety and it's related to South Africa. Whenever I hear of friends, family or colleagues that are emigrating I get a knot in my stomach and feel anxious and depressed for a long time. There seems to be more and more people leaving. My son and his family are starting to look into emigrating and for now my daughter and her family are staying. I am mid 50s and still working but find myself feeling very lost not knowing where my future lies. I keep looking for hope that SA will get better but the more I read on social media the more it looks hopeless. I cannot remember when I last felt settled or even happy. Just this total sense of emptiness and uncertainty for the future.
Answer 183 views

28 Oct

Hello,  I'm sure most of us can understand your uncomfortable feelings.  The situation in South Africa provides ample reasons for disquiet, including  a host of serious problems, and a lack of reasons to have strong confidence that the politicians and others in authority have the ability or will to sort these out.  But I think that one of the most important things you can do for yourself would be to see a really good counsellor, to explore the bases of the interlocking concerns that trouble you.  Especially using modern methods like CBT, you should be able to understand your worries better, get them into proportion and most important, develop your skills in dealing with the specific challenges you face, and gaining self-confidence  in your abilities to cope and thrive : wherever you are.
You remind me of a situation that arose many years back, when I was a Professor at a great university in Canada. One of the best and brightest of my graduate students, who I had worked with over years, as he got married to a terrific woman, and had a lively child, became similarly concerned about the state of world affairs, and the best interests of his small family.  I suggested to him that his concerns were sensible to a degree, but maybe a bit exaggerated : Canada is an unusually nice, decent and safe country.  And when he worried about unrest in the USA spilling across the border, or Russian missiles aimed at Washington falling short and landing in his back yard, I suggested these alarms might be a little exaggerated. 
He smiled, but persisted in researching the world for really safe places to emigrate to with his wife and child.  Then he cheerfully announced that they had decided, and he resigned and we held a nice farewell party for them, where he told us his decision.  He had chose a place where nothing had ever happened, with wholesome sheep and pleasant people, and had arranged to emigrate there and set up a practice.  And so it was, they left Canada, and headed for the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, just months before the Argentinians invaded and the Falklands War began. 
As far as we could find out, the family survived and eventually found peace,  but I'm sure there's a message in their story

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