How do you define freedom?
Is freedom, the liberty to travel freely around your town, your country, your continent, the world?
Is freedom, the liberty to express oneself in song or written word, painted or sculptured art?
Freedom for us all is, if I may be so bold, relative to our state of mind. You see, talking from experience as a person with a “plateful” of mental health problems, there are times when I feel completely isolated and alone. I am trapped within a cell that is dark and grim. At these times, I, like many of you perhaps (?) feel trapped with the heaviest of chains one can imagine, shackled to my ankles.
So, is freedom the liberty to be able to talk freely about politics without fear of retribution?
Is freedom perhaps, the self-confidence of knowing that you are safe within the confines of your environment?
Is freedom, knowing where the boundary of your personal safety is?
If it’s the latter of the former provocations, then for you personally (bearing in mind that this boundary maybe different for many of us) freedom will be defined in a vast array of examples.
Some of the most inspirational people of our time, have been those who have talked about the freedom they have felt whilst in actual physical captivity.
Aung San Suu Kyi once said “The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear”.
Nelson Mandela remarked “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”.
I am not deluded enough to think that my actions can change the human race, but is that a reason why I should do nothing?
No, for me, it most definitely is not. If anything it’s a reason to do more, because the greatest acts of courage and kindness are often those that are anonymous, because they are done with purity in mind and not for recognition.
LESSONS FROM HISTORY?
Vaclev Havel, who served as the 1st President of the Czech Republic from 1993 to 2003 was indefatigable in his writing’s and promotion of freedom for everyone, and wrote:
“Human rights are universal and indivisible. Human freedom is also indivisible: if it is denied to anyone in the world, it is therefore denied, indirectly, to all people. This is why we cannot remain silent in the face of evil or violence; silence merely encourages them”.
For some of us with mental illness, depression can feel like a prison. It can feel like it will never end and there will never be respite, believe me I know, I’ve been there many times and but for the grace of MY GOD, I live to write this blog.
WHAT WAS IT THAT BROUGHT YOU THIS FAR?
So for those who may happen upon this writing, ultimate freedom for you may be freedom from mental health issues.
The fact is, there is “something” somewhere in every single one of us, that has brought us this far. Now that “something” that has enabled you, somehow or another to live this far, could be the same as the “something” that sees you through current or future challenges.
If, like me, you often feel like you can’t go on, are feeling helpless, feeling like you are imprisoned, your freedom denied you by the demons in your soul, think of this small thought:
What was it that has brought you this far?
Your love for your children (?)
Your love of music (?)
A desire to help others (?)
Your Faith (?)
Your love of the arts (?)
Your love for your partner (?)
These may seem like a very infantile questions, but believe me please, if you can TRULY and deeply, identify whatever it was that gave you REASON to live this long, then, IN THE DARKEST OF YOUR HOURS, you may hold the key to the “door” which opens YOUR new sunrise.
A PEN AND PAPER
What were the good things that enabled you to live as long as you have? I say this with absolute and sincere empathy, If you can bear to think on this for a few moments, write down your thoughts.
That maybe all you can do, but if you can go further, try this:
when you are feeling helpless, offer help to someone!
I know that this might sound like I am preaching; indeed maybe I am, though in truth it is not meant in any other way than to remind myself, that right here, right now, someone is in need of human kindness, not money, not material effects, just human kindness.
With love, peace and empathy