To Be Free

I often times feel trapped in the world of my illness.  My life is a series of medical appointments – psychotherapy, psychiatric, life skills groups, DBT groups, ECT treatments – which are all consuming, centering solely on the treatment of my illness.  Not only am I trapped in the physical world, but I am imprisoned within the confines of my mind.  My mind is my torturer, offering unrelenting disruption and disturbance.  Thoughts drown out the world around me, and in a sense create an impenetrable bubble and barrier between myself and the world.  I am secured – ball and chains – to this world with bonds that cannot be severed.  My illness has kept me from participating in many aspects of life that are essentially commonplace phenomena, such as advancement and completion of school and studies, participation in social circles, and the partaking of events and happenings that is taken for granted by many.  

I pray to God to be free, to know what it is like to be able to just live, to have the opportunity to participate in the fruits of life without having to question my ability, dependent upon my mental state, to engage in events.  I feel as though I have lost so much, with numerous hospitalizations, outpatient programs, years and years of psychotherapy and medication management, and now thirty-four ECT treatments.  My autonomy has been handed over to hospitals and doctors.  I receive glimmers of hope – progress with therapy and medications, improvements during hospitalizations and in ECT treatments – but yet this is not living.  I think we often take for granted our ability to be, to live and participate in a life that has happiness and meaning, to be able graduate from educational institutions or to go throughout our days without having to check our phones to see what scheduled medication we are long overdue to take.  I am seeing marked improvements with my medication therapy and numerous ECT treatments, but I thirst for more.  I hunger for more.  

Nina Simone’s song, “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free,” touches me deeply and expresses so well how I feel in my search for freedom.

 

I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free

 

I wish I knew how

It would feel to be free

I wish I could break

All the chains holding me

I wish I could say

All the things that I should say

Say ’em loud say ’em clear

For the whole round world to hear

I wish I could share

All the love that’s in my heart

Remove all the bars

That keep us apart

I wish you could know

What it means to be me

Then you’d see and agree

That every man should be free

 

I wish I could give

All I’m longing to give

I wish I could live

Like I’m longing to live

I wish I could do

All the things that I can do

And though I’m way overdue

I’d be starting anew

 

I refuse to give up this fight, to acquiesce my power to that of my illness, but oh,  how wonderful freedom would be.  Perhaps my struggle is what makes me unique, what makes me special.  A defining characteristic of who I am.  I must find my own freedom within this seemingly impenetrable world that is my illness and slowly chisel cracks in walls that are already beginning to crumble.  Will freedom ever come in the sense I wish for it to?  Most likely not, as I do not believe that is feasible.  However that does not mean I cannot be free.  I will find freedom in the quality of the life I create for myself, in the life-saving treatments, with the friends I surround myself with.  Freedom is not as elusive as I believe it to be.  It is there, requiring nothing more than an ardent search.

 

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12 comments

      1. Someday, you will be healed in the right order of time. Just hang on and know that the healing presence of God could just be around you…

  1. Hi, this reminds me of the style of a lament. For example Baha’u’llah writes laments to God bemoaning his plight and ends with a statement of gratitiude and understanding for His current situation. I was very happy to read the end of the post which was contained hope, determination and eagerness. So happy to hear of improvements as you mentioned here.
    -Bobbie

  2. I can relate so much to your feelings. I finally have come to the place where I “find freedom in the quality of the life I create for myself”, as you put it. It was not easy, and required changing expectations for what I could accept as my new life.

    1. I appreciate your comment, and I am glad that you are coming to a place of acceptance in your life. It truly is a hard thing to do. Changing expectations is also quite the challenge, and it is quite an accomplishment to do so! I wish you well.

  3. Alex you still amaze me like you always have. You have such a beautiful heart & such talent speaking your heart. I have such a better understanding of what you go through. I love you sweet Alex. We are all with you.

    1. Thank you so much, Nancy. I miss you and love you so dearly. I feel honored to have your support. Please be well, and know I support you and am with you as well. Much, much love.

  4. This is so beautiful!

    I know that you struggle and suffer greatly. I can see it and feel it. And yet, the insights you have, the depth of feeling in your soul – comes through so clearly.

    I was emailing to a friend who struggles with depression yesterday. And she wrote me about how awful she feels at being a failure, because her friend had a birthday party and a dozen people came and went drinking and partying, and she couldn’t get more than two people to come to hers.

    I told her that I find people like that are not so interesting, that the really beautiful souls are those who have struggled, they are the ones who feel with great depth, those are the ones who can share their heart with others in a connection of love and compassion and understanding.

    And she agreed with me, and said that she didn’t really want to be “normal” like her friend after all.

    1. It is so heartbreaking to feel loneliness and a sense of disconnect, but you are right. Those who have struggled and bared their hearts are truly the more interesting ones. Your friend will hopefully find her niche and circle herself in those deserving of her presence.

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