Open the Door



This quote appeared in my Facebook feed yesterday. I won’t name the site, but it is a site that is supposed to support people with mental health issues. Well, it didn’t help or support me, to say the least. In fact, it made me quite angry. It reminded me of the previous post I talked about in  The Choice is Yours. The following are some of the thoughts that I felt necessary to complete the original post. (In addition to speaking about healing ourselves, I would also like to detour momentarily to express that I strongly disagree with caging animals that are meant to live freely. This post is a prime example of why I do not condone animal confinement).

Mohini didn’t pass her life trapped in the same old patterns. PEOPLE did that to her. The complexity of repeating old patterns is immeasurably intricate and cannot be remedied by simply recognizing our limiting beliefs. These are hard-wired limits, cemented into our brains (and the brain of this innocent tiger)… and the mere idea of making a decision to simply learn to recognize our limits is an injustice to those living with mental illness. There is hard wiring that occurs in any brain, traumatized or not, and I believe that some conversation on the topic of neuroplasticity is necessary in this article. There is no hope that this tiger will simply step out of the prison she has spent her life in (hard wired in a state of fear, hopelessness and depression) and walk out into “freedom” with a smile on her face. She cannot recognize and revel in something that is completely and utterly foreign to her. Human beings are the same.

This is a nice-ish start… but perhaps leading people to a solution that includes action may serve a more meaningful purpose. This post, most likely, will leave many sitting in the same corner they have occupied for years, feeling even more defeated and hopeless. Why? Because people experiencing mental health issues cannot just decide one day to acknowledge their limitations… and step into a new world of freedom. It is so much more complex than this post implies.

Perhaps the biggest tragedy is that we will be forever trapped if we continue to just sit with our beliefs, suffering endlessly, while we wait for some unknown to open the door for us. Our limits will continue to exist whether the door is open or not. Once that door is open, one must take action in order to find true freedom, or even the hope for true freedom.

This post misses the most important piece if we are to heal and find freedom from our beliefs and fears, it is missing the ‘how.” How does one go about freeing themselves? For each of us, this ‘how’ is going to look different. We must work with our care providers, therapists, psychiatrists, and support people to build a plan that includes a variety of strategies. It is possible to begin re-wiring our brains so that we may see, feel, and believe in a freedom from the confines of the prison that is mental illness.

And equally important, please do not wait for someone else to come along and open that door. We each hold our own unique key. In order to unlock it, however, we must first believe that there is a freedom waiting for us on the other side and that freedom can only be accessed through action.


20 thoughts on “Open the Door

  1. I absolutely agree with you that the HOW is missing in the original piece and it’s also the hardest piece of the puzzle for those of us with mental illness to figure out and/or overcome. People may judge from the outside why an animal (or person) would stay within limited confines while they have the world available to them but it is much more complicated than those people can understand. I think a lot of well meaning sites are trying to support those with mental illness by posting things like this without fulling understanding the effect it will have. Unfortunately it can end up doing more harm than good.

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    1. I agree. This looked kind of like a ‘starter’ site, with a long way to go. I understand what they were trying to get at, but for those of us who have been in the darkest places with mental illness need so much more than that post suggests. I did reply to the original post, and one of the site admins agreed but did not take it any further than that. At the very least, I hope that my comment on it will help anyone that found themselves even more lost after reading it (I’m a very sensitive person and actually felt frightened for anyone reading that post). ❤

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  2. The last paragraph summed it up perfectly! There is freedom waiting and it can be accessed through action. That may be working on changing attitude, medications, therapy, or other means but freedom is out there! And as someone who has physical challenges your post is also accurate for me! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome! I’m glad you found it helpful. I know for me, at my very worst times with mental illness, I needed help even believing that there was anything else in life. And getting to that point requires a lot of work, including a change in attitude and a new belief! xoxo

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      1. It is good to read different perspectives and I really agreed with your response. No person is an island. I’m a single mum with bipolar and couldn’t do what I do without my own mum’s support and love. I have struggled and struggled but for others to judge where I am now says more about them than me: they simply have no idea what I have been through.

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  3. I think that this post, and many others, over simplifies the matter. People always want to reduce things to a small snippet or sound bite sized bit of information. But humans are complex and there is nothing that we can discuss in the nature of being human that can be reduced to a simple tag line. This reductionism will always be misleading and will always miss the mark. On the other hand, it’s message (while incomplete and uses a poor metaphor) is not inaccurate. Recognition of the possibilities within ourselves in the first step towards freedom. The door is already open. We need only understand the way to walk through. The message here is that we have capacity for self analysis. This is not easy and once the analysis is complete one is now only at the beginning of the journey.

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    1. I agree – it is a bit misleading and over simplifies the healing process. And also agree that it is a starting point. When reading it, I thought back to my darkest moments and had I heard this message back then, would have just fallen deeper into the darkness. I was (and still am) well aware of my limiting beliefs and through years of work, have been able to find the path to freedom and hope. But awareness isn’t enough for those of us that live in the darkest places. I would not be where I am today without direction, and indeed, needed others to help me open the door to even begin to believe that there was possibility. As I stated in the post, we are all different, and for some, the door may be open, but for others, it is not. Some may be able to walk through alone, while others will need someone to show them the way. Thank you for your response, I appreciate different perspectives and positive dialogue. Thank you ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think that we all need help through life. Humans are social creatures and we cannot move through life alone and remain healthy, happy creatures. In our times of darkness, the support of others is the central pillar in achieving wellness. In this life, I hope that no one ever needs walk alone. It saddens me when I see it.

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  4. The post is misleading… I cannot stand when people try to explain something with the help of an example that has nothing to do with the original issue. What you wrote about mental illness is very true in my opinion. We need to be aware of the freedom that is possible for us. I might need therapy in many forms, but the freedom is always there too.

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