By Mikayla van Loon
There’s not many experiences in life where you are asked to face your worst fears, trust your instincts, crawl through mud or be submerged in a freezing cold dam while in a car.
But Lilydale’s very own Bonnie Anderson has been doing just that over the last week while on SAS Australia.
Although she didn’t have much time to make the decision to be on the show, Bonnie knew it was something she didn’t want to pass up.
“It came down to me just wanting to challenge myself, I’m always up for challenges in life and especially with opportunities, I’ve always said to myself, if an opportunity arises, I will take it and I will say yes because if I had have said no I would have never had that experience,” she said.
The singer-songwriter had a lot of expectations and assumptions going into the show, having heard stories and seeing parts of the previous season.
“I knew it was going to be hard. I knew it was going to be emotionally tough, mentally tough, obviously physically tough. All of those things, I felt like I was trying to prepare for.”
But nothing could prepare her for the real experience, even things not shown on TV.
“We see all the tasks and things like that but in between everything, it’s never ending as well. While we’re standing there, after just being in the cold water, we’re standing there for two hours freezing in our clothes,” Bonnie said.
“Things like that, it really takes its toll on you and your body and your mind.”
Adjusting to being just a number and being spoken to in a way that was not anything like normal human conversation, Bonnie found really challenging.
“You very much are just a number, you’re here to do the work. We’re preparing for war basically, so there is no cutting corners. It’s something that is so unknown to us and so foreign.
“So it was so hard to adapt to that and understand why you couldn’t just have a laugh with someone or get a smile from the DS, all of those little things that you miss in human connection.”
The SAS challenges are about listening intently to the little things the directing staff (DS) say, which initially cost Bonnie a pass in one of the first tasks.
“When I did the helicopter, I think I had such a fear of failing and too much was happening in my mind that I wasn’t able to hear properly and then I actually did fail the task.
“So I think you can overthink things, you can overcomplicate things, you can make excuses for yourself. It’s very easy to do that in most situations but with each task I did learn to really just focus.”
Learning to accept failure but to keep trying was something Bonnie brought home with her.
The show was filmed four months ago and upon returning home Bonnie was overcome with a lot of emotions, which was something she never expected to happen.
“When I did come home from SAS I wasn’t feeling myself, I felt quite numb. I had to sit with a lot of emotions. I think everything that I’ve suppressed over the years sort of arose,” she said.
“Mentally, I was really challenged on the course and I just thought that I would be fine, to be honest. But it really just got to me, and I couldn’t control how I felt.
“It was obviously meant to happen for me, to discover myself, to feel all those emotions. Maybe it was something I hadn’t dealt with, and that I did need to deal with.
“Now I look back and I go, I feel stronger, I feel more self aware. I know that I can physically and mentally push myself so much further than I give myself credit for and I don’t need to doubt myself as much as I did.”
Bonnie is now at home in Lilydale, keeping up her physical and mental health, getting outside as much as she can in lockdown and working on some new music, as well as keeping in touch with her fellow SAS contestants.