Feeling Trapped is Doom

Freedom

Freedom (Photo credit: Intrepidteacher)

Did someone put a knife in my neck?

Goodbye sex.  Goodbye flirting.  Goodbye self-esteem.  It was a down-right turnoff for life, let alone sex.  He could not think of one thing worth living for, but killing yourself turned out to be a lot harder than self-loathing.

Sheez, pain was distracting.  Unable to work out in his club with anything that jiggled him waste-line and up, Monty knew he should look for a pool but he could not focus on even that long enough to Google it.  He felt guilty and then angry that he felt guilty about something he was trapped by.

Monty told me about how his life was now closed off from everything he found pleasure in.  He described his circumstance like a walled in monk with a small envelope-sized window through which he received water and bread.  The difference between him and the monk was that he did not choose to be cloistered.  He was a victim of his injury and nothing could help.

Feeling trapped is doom.  I listened to Monty describe his life without freedom to choose. His life was not there for him to participate in.  He was excluded.  Monty was doomed, per Monty.  So what was the point, indeed?  What was the doom-script doing for him?  Was he getting anything besides yuck from it?

Monty, the way you describe yourself does not have any place for you.  Either you really are trapped, or there is a door, or a false wall, or a sun-roof that you do not know about.  Or maybe you have a brick-braking tool available?

People from every point on the spectrum of brain illnesses defend their position of entrapment with more volition than a the red-tailed hawks flying above the groves around my house.  Even family members of persons with brain illnesses have defended the perception that their loved one does not have freedom to choose, as if suggestions of freedoms were the essence of social injustice, ignorance and stigma.

But it is not the pursuit of freedom that traps us. It is our fear.

Feeling trapped serves a purpose however.  It protects us from something that feels shameful.  It protects us from that which invokes fear.  Wanting not to feel shame or fear is not so wrong though, is it?  Wanting not to go toward what might be unbearable seems reasonable to me.  If it were truly unbearable.  If it were friendly to Me.  If it was not the road out of that hell-existence, out of that bricked in crypt, toward a place of greater safety.  If then, it would not be so bad.

Self-care tip:  When feeling trapped, do what does not feel safe and go toward your shame and fear.

Question:  How have you been able to find freedom in places where you feel trapped?  How do you manage to go toward shame when you feel so much fear?  Please tell us your story.

Remember, You Are Free, Even When You Accept Help.

Schep

In becoming a friend to yourself, we all use tools; a hoe, a shovel, a bottle of medications, friends and lots of floss.  Not all in the same moment or we might get hurt.  None of the tools we use are meant to been seen, when looked at, alone as a weapon to box us up.  They are each in turn just a tool to be used to improve our ability to be friendly with ourselves.  Don’t get paranoid.

This is important to remember, the more effective the tool becomes.  We build suspicions when things work that well, like ladders in case we need them.  But if we find ourselves miming walls that no one else can see, it really is just about Me.  The walls, the box, the perception of being defined too easily are coming from Me.

If you’ve ever heard about the biopsychosocial model, you may have experienced this sensation.  Each paradigm introduced looks more and more like brick and mortar, and you find yourself acting out the runaway-bride gig.  You are not that special, nor Me.  We are a construction of unique complexity, each of us individual and undefinable.  However, none of us are so special that we can’t use the tools.  None of us are so special that we can be captured; an exotic bird never before seen.  We are in fact too commonplace in our inability to be boxed, shut up and drawn in.    Let that twist your thoughts.

In the biopsychosocial model we use the paradigms as given to us through biology, psychology and sociology to improve our insight and what ever we hope to accomplish thereafter.  It’s a collection of tools.

When a patient comes to see me, looking for help, sometimes they apperceive the tools.  They become distorted towering constructs.  The biopsychosocial model looks like mechanisms designed to take away freedom rather than improve access to freedom.  It is a lot of unknown to be dosed with and it is a natural response.  But the biopsychosocial model is rather a collection of highly effective, (even suspiciously effective,) ways to improve brain disease.

Self-Care Tip:  Remember, you are free, even when you accept help.

Questions:  When have you perceived that you were being boxed in by the “help” coming your way?  How did you reclaim your sense freedom?  How did you manage to still get help?  Please tell us your story. 

Be as Good To Yourself As You Want Your Loved Ones to Be to Themselves

English: Danboard holding a Christmas gift.

So what brought you here today?  What are you looking for?

Want to parent better?   Kids don’t take care of themselves?  They aren’t responsible?  Accountable for their actions?  They are disobedient?

They don’t realize our loving motives?  If they do, they will be able to find more pleasure in life.  If they …they will have more freedoms, they will have spending power, they will have decision making ability, they will be present in their life, able to connect with others and with their own personal journey, they will.  You name it.  They will find the shortest, most direct route to their brilliance and resources to achieve what they were designed to do – service in any form.  Is this so much to ask?  Wink.

How can we help them see?  By starting with Me.  Do this generosity for ourselves.  How many times do we point outside of Me to find a place of control for Me?  Even to the small about packing lunch – as if forced to pack our children’s lunch, we point out.

Drifting down, how many times does our child complain of what we put in their lunch?  What would happen if they packed it for themselves?  What would happen if they ate what they packed?  Oh, just junk.  …Who purchased the junk food?  Where did it come from?  It swirls on. This reminds me of the musical, “Into the Woods.” “It’s her fault! It’s your fault.!”…

But here’s the anchor.  We are free.  We are free caregivers.

Freedom is like a lovely package wrapped in the most exquisite paper, tied with a bow so lovely that we know it came from God.  It is sitting in front of us.  Like all real gifts, the gift of freedom is free.  It has nothing to do with my bank.  It came because of the Giver, not because of the merit of the recipient – Me.

Me, that is to say any one of us, cannot unearn the gift either.  Freedom is like that gift that keeps reappearing no matter how we try to get away from it.  Does it become a curse?  We are free to make it one because even if we don’t claim it, even if we don’t choose to be accountable to our decisions, it doesn’t change that we are.  And when we are finally able to look in, with insight, and have knowledge – we are accountable to what we see.

Paul said,

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  

Job said,

“therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.  …but now mine eye seeth thee.”

Does the gift, freedom, turn into a curse?

 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

Every person who grows in knowledge and understanding at some point hopefully says that they grow also in understanding how little they know and have yet to learn.  This is what comfort we have in knowing that in the eternity of forever that comes ahead after this life, we won’t run out of things to do.

We all talk as if we know more than we know, with pride and forgotten humility.  I want to turn this over, but repentance in this case cannot be as implied – once and for all.  It is recurrent at best and I surrender the frequency and my degrees of insight to God and you.  Feel free to take Me gently along with you on our travels.  I hope our kids will be that good to Me when given the opportunity.  I have no doubt, they hope the same of us.  But you can see, it starts with Me.

What is a true friend?  It is one who loves.  Starting with Me.  What is parenting better?  It is giving to yourself what you want your kids to have.

The Stoic, Seneca the Elder, wrote,

“What progress, you ask, have I made?  I have begun to be a friend to myself.” That was indeed a great benefit; such a person can never be alone.  You may be sure that such a man is a friend to all mankind.

(And here I thought I was the one who came up with, “Friend to Yourself!!!!”  Oh nasty tumble.)

This is what it is; hard, easy, soft and difficult.  Having each other to help Me be friendlier to myself is a big advantage.  You are so valuable to Me.  Knock Me down and catch Me – whatever pride and forgotten humility leave Me needing.  Thank you.

Question?  How does being a friend to yourself improve your parenting or caregiving of others?  Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip:  Be as good to yourself as you want your loved ones to be to themselves.  Be a friend to yourself.

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Name Your Fear To Know You Are Free

She knew the Horned King‘s secret name.

His name?  … I never realized a name could be so powerful?

Yes….  Once you have courage to look upon evil, seeing it for what it is and naming it by its true name, it is powerless against you, and you can destroy it.

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

Science Fair Wins Ribbons

Image by OakleyOriginals via Flickr

Mistakes and the mist of shame thicken about us and it is hard to hope.  As if each effort of our intended labor produced Seconds and Flops we must stand in our Besties beside what we have done to get a participant appreciation ribbon tagged onto our lapel.

And somehow standing there, the layer of sweat thick under too many clothes, we remember the secret name, it comes and we whisper.  We whisper it; our last courage still enough for that.  There is a moment of surprise, as if we and whatever pressed us down didn’t know we might still live.

We can see now that we are not alone; just there, in fact you are there with your own passed over table.  I remember you working nights on it, your tired eyes, a happiness in your muscles still.  In those days.

We can see that we are special for more than injury; we hear now.  We feel concern for more and taste newness that filled the space.  The secret name.

We won’t tell you or it wouldn’t be secret any more.  But now that we remember we are free.  Now that we have the knowing, we will keep the power, thank you.

There is power in a name.

We won’t forget what came after evil and will speak more readily into dark spaces, will wait less and fear less because we have already been there.  Going toward the pain like that.  What’s the worst that can happen when you name your fear?  It takes no more than a whisper to be strong.

Self-care Tip – Speak into your dark spaces the name of your fear.  Be a friend to yourself

Question – What reminds you that you are free despite the fears that tell you otherwise?  How is freedom your truth in life even when your senses tell you otherwise?  Please tell us your story.

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Tell the Truth About Yourself To Feel Freedom

Self-Care Tip – Tell your true story to feel freedom.

Nobody ever asked me how I feel about what I do.  And it wasn’t until I told the truth that I started to feel freedom.

drawneartogod.com

My husband surprised me with a spontaneous date today after work.  (I almost wrote after school.)  We didn’t know what to do with ourselves.  What do Middles like us do with ourselves on a date?

Middles is a name I just thought of for those of us in our middle of life time with; middle-level debt, middle place in careers, middle waistlines growing and all that we find in our middle years.  Middles.

Anyhow, we found ourselves at the theater because I guess that’s about as creative as we could manage.  There was only one movie showing at 3:30 pm on a Tuesday; The Help.

Score!  Wow!  Blowing my nose and sharing germs, we had no idea it would be this great.  We’ve seen a lot of bang ’em up movies lately for some reason and we were more ready than we knew just to hear someone’s story.  The Help, told a good tale anyone could relate to.  Of all the ah-ha moments however, watching Aibileen Clark walk away from getting fired was my favorite.

Nobody ever asked me how I feel about what I do.  And it wasn’t until I told the truth that I started to feel freedom.

I remembered us of course.  What we have and are fighting for:  Being our own friend.  The freedom to feel.  Courage to love ourselves enough to love ourselves in our communities.  Accountability for ourselves even when victimized.

So I ask us all again, “How do you feel?  Please tell us your story.  When, in your narrative, did you start feeling freedom?

You Are Free To Feel. Emotional Freedom.

I should feel happy.

Norma Talmadge

Image via Wikipedia

In Mona’s efforts to process what it meant for her to claim her emotional freedom, she tripped over this,

I should feel happy.

I almost tripped too, with, “No you shouldn’t!” But wouldn’t that have been weird?

Freedom to feel how we feel is not the same as picking and choosing our feelings from the great many genetic options we have all been given.

“No. I’m going to a meeting today. I’m going to feel powerful, confident, secure and somber. I’ll save ‘happy,’ for later when I come home.”

Ahem. That sounds like another indenture; some other short sugared path to being controlled.

The first part of emotional freedom is simply unwrapping the gift.

“I have this collection of shiny and not so shiny gifts that are accumulating in the attic. Nope. Never opened them.”

Open the gift of emotional freedom or not, it’s still ours. It’s ownership isn’t about what we’ve done to get it or keep it. That’s what a gift is. Free. There’s no negotiation; no exchange. It’s a one way path to our home, attic or living space as it may be.

I hoped for Mona that she would grow in her awareness of her freedom. No other goals at the moment; no happiness quest. No scavenger hunt for emotions she wanted and house-cleaning for those she didn’t want; just an awareness that what she felt was hers. She was free.

Questions: Have you felt free to feel? Or do you believe that you feel the way you do because of what others do to you? Is this a useful thought-paradigm to you? Please tell me your story.

Self-Care Tip – Open up your gift and check out your emotional freedom. Be a friend to yourself.

Become a Better Friend To Yourself In and With Your Culture

"Energy Crisis!" ...

Image by Toban Black via Flickr

A barrier to getting friendly with ourselves might be our culture.  The inverse of course could also be true.  ‘Takes culture to design the flavor of our homes and habits, our communities and the energy between us and them.  Think, TV in the bedroom, alcohol tasters offered to children, books or the absence of books on the floor and shelves.  Think religion and diet, family meals or take-out.  The way we deal with shame.  Culture is a gate-keeper for many of us.

We could call our culture, the way we live together at home, the balance between each family member and the flavor of emotions there.  Culture might be layered, wrapping us from one balance of energy into another into another creating our own galaxy between each point of light.  In any room, if we look we can find culture.  In any space outside, there is a flavor telling us how to maintain the balance between me and thee.

I don’t know if sociologists look at culture this way yet, but I hope they will.  With all that observing, data gathered and surmising, I hope they study how the individual can be a better friend to herself in “this” culture.  And then I hope they tell us.

Becoming an active designer of your culture is not always easy.  But it is friendly.

Questions:  How has your culture introduced you to your friend, “Me?”  How have you been able to develop a more friendly culture for Me to live in and grow in?  What’s still keeping you?  Please tell me your story.