How to get rid of the twitching chat

Heart over head

Gesine Schwan lost her first husband early: "You always owe something to a dying man."

Politician, 70, ran for the office of Federal President in 2004 and 2009

“My mother and brother were much more conflict-prone than I was; I suffered from our conflicts. That's why, as a teenager, I tried to bring peace to my family and to settle disputes. The responsibility that I unconsciously burdened myself with later became a problem for me: I also felt responsible for events for which I was not at all to blame. But I found it difficult to see through that, also because I received a lot of approval for my attitude: to be able to do anything. Then came the serious illness and the death of my first husband. Then I felt that I could no longer cope with everything as before. The great guilt I got in connection with his death - one always owes something to a dying person, but I did not understand the exact causes - I could hardly cope with. On the outside I functioned as always, but on the inside I got depressed. Only a longer psychoanalytic treatment helped me to free myself from this false feeling of guilt. This is particularly difficult for politicians because one is constantly criticized and attacked. One should be resistant to these often false accusations and still remain sensitive. Here it is important, but very difficult, to find a good balance. You have to look for it anew every day. "

Most read this week:


Lyric poet, 67, was encouraged by Marcel Reich-Ranicki at an early age, her greatest public success was the autobiographical novel "Das Verborgene Wort"

“How I would have loved to have gone to secondary school after secondary school, to the advanced high school in Leverkusen. But that cost school fees, while as an industrial clerk apprentice - yes, that was really what it was called - I brought home at least 50 marks a month. Almost a year in the office was an endless ordeal with shorthand and typewriter, filing and double-entry bookkeeping. Except for teacher Rosenbaum at a class reunion, thankfully his name is mentioned here, noticed my despair and helped me get back to the school desk. Unforgettable: this trip on my first day of school! The direction of the tram was the same, but where most of them got off as usual, at the factory, I sat happily. Drove past Debit and Credit, "Dear Sirs," and "Yours faithfully." Drove along the Rhine, up the Rhine, free as my beloved river. Free. For new rules and efforts, of course, but this time on my own initiative. Set your own rules and follow them voluntarily (or not): That is freedom! "


Writer, 51, wrote the bestseller "Vacation with Papa"

“I've always tried to please my partners to keep my relationships going. My parents have been married for 55 years and are still in harmony, that was the norm for me. Still, when I turned 40, my marriage fell apart, which made me feel like I had failed. After that, my friends kept asking me whether I had finally met someone. At celebrations, I would sit in the singles corner, preferably next to single men who were specially invited. There's something wrong when you're alone too long. On a birthday I sat next to a couple and saw the man engaged in a good conversation and the woman just sitting next to them. At some point she asked the typical question “Honey, do we want to go?” For his sake, she stayed for another half hour, then for her sake he went home with her, irritable. At that moment I was very happy that I no longer have to make these compromises. Nobody tells me: we want this or that. Then I knew: I had freed myself from necessarily wanting a partner. "

"I am a master of self-tearing"

Freedom through family: Anneke Kim Sarnau.


Actress, 41, with Charly Hübner in the team at »Polizeiruf 110« Rostock

“I have a little son now and finally I have peace of mind. No more time for my own ego, pause. I am freed from constant confrontation with myself. Like having a child grounded me. In the past, I didn't dare dream of having a family. And now the big picture. Because actually I have a talent for taking everything difficult, am a master of self-tearing - like many others, I am sure. Nevertheless. In my youth I was very caught up in my patterns and also quite exposed to my self-doubts. Around me I kept seeing people who continued despite disappointment or loss. And me? At every opportunity - sometimes when someone said the wrong thing or didn't call - I had my negative self-image confirmed. Back then it took a lot of strength not to let that kind of thing drag me down. But today it works. "


Singer, 36, founded the band Wir sind Helden in 2000 at the Hamburg pop course

“When my band took the break in 2010, I had no idea what I was going to do next. And that's exactly what I wanted: the freedom not to know anything, not to have to do anything, to just keep still. And so I hung an imaginary hammock in my imaginary garden and practiced rocking. But alas! The first time I tried, I felt sick. With the following I fell asleep and dreamed wild dog dreams with twitching paws. I startled, fell, got to my feet, got on again. He wants to be practiced, idleness! An untamed hammock can throw you off like a stubborn horse. But because I'm stubborn and ambitious, I soon rocked gently and confidently - when I was dreaming, I kept rocking in the clouds. ›I'm not doing anything today!‹ I thought with satisfaction when I woke up. >Nothing! Nothing! Nothing! ‹Hmm. ›Nothing that uses anything that makes you sweat or sit for a long time.‹ Hmm. >I am nothing! Nothing! Nothing! Use! Use! Use! Nothing that is useful, that supports or that cleans. 'And with that I went with a springy step into the house to get my notebook and my ukulele. "


Ex-biathlete, 26, won gold twelve times at the biathlon world championships

»When I returned to Munich in 2010 after the Olympic Games in Vancouver, I hadn't seen my friend Sepp for four weeks. I was really looking forward to him. But when the door opened and I wanted to run towards him, a horde of photographers rushed towards me. I tried to clear my way. A security officer pulled me away again, shielded me, I couldn't go to Sepp. That was when I first thought of quitting professional sport. I had always enjoyed it in the past, but in the end I just functioned, my everyday life was determined by others, by the media, by training. I wanted to take my life into my own hands again. At first I didn't share this thought with anyone. I was afraid of the reactions from my family, friends, fans. I was only 25, that's young to retire from professional sport. It took me a year to be ready to publicly announce my resignation. The press conference was on December 7, 2011. I've never been as excited as before, and never as free as after. "


Actress, 56, made her comeback in 2003 after a career in the GDR in "Good bye, Lenin!"

»I've always felt free - even in the GDR. I could do anything, had friends, my career was going well. I've never questioned the system. Only when I had a look at my Stasi files after the fall of the Berlin Wall did I realize how massive the system's influence was on my life: My best friend had spied on me for years. And I had told her everything: about problems with partners, stress at work, arguments in the family. On the many evenings we shared, I gave the entire Stasi apparatus an insight into my emotional world. My files also showed that the Stasi had denied me many jobs - from the East and West. Who knows what roles I have missed. I have not received any invitations from abroad. To find out about lack of freedom in retrospect is terrible. After the fall of the Wall, I stood there with a biography that I had not chosen myself, but that had been provided for me. In the summer after the fall of the Berlin Wall, my then husband Siegfried Kühn and I rented a mobile home first. Every summer we watched the West Germans drive through the east in their mobile homes. That was freedom for us. We just drove off. First stop: Romy Schneider's grave near Paris. In the evening we landed in a small town on the Atlantic coast and parked our mobile home in a parking lot right on the beach. "

"I want to determine my thoughts"

No more smoke-free: Helene Hegemann.


Writer, 21, received high praise for her debut novel "Axolotl Roadkill"

“Three years ago I visited a friend in the hospital. She was 53 years old and had just died of lung cancer. She had never drew on a cigarette in her entire life and had otherwise lived above average health. She looked like she was already dead, she knew that and smiled. I was overwhelmed, but she kept smiling. At the time, I had seen many French 1970s films in which the protagonists were cynical and remained cool even in the greatest misery. Unlike them, I panicked seriously. After half an hour of brutal hysterics trying not to cry, she told me to never stop smoking. The liberation was the realization that we need shackles. Not silly rules, but natural limitations that keep us from getting bored. The biggest limitation is that we all die anyway, luckily. So you shouldn't impose yourself any more. Since that day in the hospital, puffing on a cigarette and demonstrating that something is more important to me than living long has seemed more worth living in than having to assume that I was responsible for the time of my death myself. "


Actress, 26, plays a prostitute in Caroline Link's new film "Exit Marrakech"

“I grew up in a suburb of Paris where it wasn't easy to be a woman and have a female body. The men sat outside and stared at the girls. In order not to attract any glances at me, I always wore baggy clothes. The women who were sexy were labeled as sluts right away. I was always thin, almost thin. That was protection. I may not have been aware of it either, but I wasn't ready to become a woman and stand by myself. For my first major role as an actress in the movie Couscous with Fish, I had to gain 15 kilos. I was panic. The role called for me to do belly dance, be loud, sexy and use my femininity to attract looks. Exactly what I had always avoided. I had to change my body shape within a short time, become visible and develop a good body feeling despite wider hips and a little belly. After all, I was a confident, young woman in the film. At some point the shooting came to an end, but this good feeling has remained - and has given me the strength to change other things as well. I moved from my suburb in the north of Marseille to Paris, all by myself. I've been here for eight years now and I feel good. Sometimes I think that I could lose another kilo - like many other women too. But that is no longer the most important thing. I'm writing scripts myself, and I want to be directing soon. The looks of the others no longer decide how I live.


Sociologist and author, 56. She received the Geschwister-Scholl-Prize for her book "The Foreign Bride"

“When I turned 18, the first thing I ate was a pork sausage. For me that was: freedom. From that day on I was allowed to make my own decisions and was able to lead a different life than my family had intended for me: not getting married, but studying; move away. In a Muslim family, men decide over the lives of women, they control and monitor them in public. Their job is to ensure that women are as unfree as possible. Their power over women seems to me to be their greatest legitimation of all. At school I saw classmates telling boys' stories during break and going out to party in the evenings. I had to go home straight away after school. In the 10th grade everyone thought about what they wanted to do later. I admired you: you could decide for yourself! In my apprenticeship as a technical draftsman, I was elected as a youth representative, which was my first step towards independence. Nobody except my mother knew about my union work. She was my ally. When I was 17 my father left us. From then on everything was easier. It has been a long way to break free from patronizing others. I am not alone with this problem. In the Muslim world there is a dispute about tradition and modernity. We would be further if it were possible to write critical books about it without being threatened with a fatwa. "


Actress, 44, known from "Der Tunnel", determined from Sunday in "Polizeiruf 110" from Magdeburg

“I don't want my thoughts to rule me. I want to control my thoughts. I take five minutes every day to do this. No phone, no job, no family. Time in which I divert my thoughts away from everyday life in order to put myself in a different inner state: sometimes not meeting expectations, not adhering to a schedule, not withstanding pressure, not sending e-mails, not thinking about the past and future. I try to do it like brushing my teeth, and that sounds easier than it is. Some people call this meditation, I don't. I'm just trying to clear my mind of all the thoughts that drive you crazy. And if I don't succeed because I'm angry or very sad about something, the thought gets another minute, but then I say goodbye. Often boredom comes first, and you can even get upset about it. It's like a purge. This creates a different perception, including fantasy. "

Photos: Andreas Lux c / o Brigitta Horvat; Production: Sarah Beckhoff; Hair and make-up: Lisa Zeitler; Protocols: Marie Gamillscheg, Laetitita Grevers)

Photos: Andreas Lux