Mental Health and Longing To Be Free

Mental Health and Longing To Be Free

I appreciate Webdesign309 in Peoria for developing my logo for Captive Set Free Psychiatry. It makes me think of a little bird on the ground ensnared by its’ foot only longing to be free so it can fly! This bird knows it was born to fly! It knows it was meant to “transcend” the earth and fly in the heavens. The picture of this little bird looking up to the sky wondering how to be free mesmerizes me. My logo is a picture of that little bird freed from its captivity.

Longing to be free. Have you ever felt like this little bird ensnared on earth but with an insatiable longing to fly high in the sky? As it looks longingly into the sky, it imagines and sees the other little birds in its flock traveling with one another going places and doing things it cannot do. But more importantly, this little bird is at risk of a predator due to its isolation from others.

I have lived with a longing most of my life to be honest with you. A longing to fly. As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, I have listened to many stories from my clients. The basic message is the same: I am not happy because I cannot fly. The reason you and I long to be free and fly is because that is what you were born to do! Do you believe it?

Pain. We live in a world of pain and its obvious around us. The political unrest, social issues, global pandemics and disasters are real. We feel pain every day. Then life hits in unforeseen circumstances. A loved one passes, divorce occurs, relational stress escalates, and we cannot go on. I have heard, “God will not give you more than you can bear”. First, this is not in the Bible and secondly, does all this pain come from God? What about He has provided a way of escape?

As Americans, we have a myriad of ways to escape pain: entertainment, food, and materialism to name a few. None of these things are wrong in and of themselves but when used to bury our pain, they are wrong. We numb our brains with illegal drugs and alcohol trying desperately to find the courage to live with our messed-up hearts and lives. Along with this, we want fast food fixes and ease of living.

Answers anyone? Look out or in? No one likes feeling pain and what do you do with it when it becomes unbearable? It seems to me the answers I hear in our culture are either outward or inward and rarely upward answers. Some outward examples may be great things, such as therapy and/or medication. When I think of inward examples, I think of meditation and yoga practices.

Rigorous research studies have shown over and over the validation of therapy and medication for mood symptoms. The outward and inward strategy effectively treats mood symptoms. But to me, both the outward and inward therapies treat the symptoms. What about the heart longing and pain?

I am not convinced mental health professionals can educate pain away. Nor by training you to change your thoughts and behaviors. I cannot prescribe you medication to get to the root of your pain. Again, I emphasize the importance of seeking therapy and medication along with ways to relax your mind and body as life hits you in detrimental ways. But I have seen too many clients and myself included not happy.

Look up! Despite how hard you try; you cannot flap your wings hard enough to get off the ground. What is ensnaring you and me? Why is the bird looking up to be free? Is there an innate knowing that freedom lies in looking up?

Models of health based on the biological, psychological, and social wellness forget the spiritual element. The spirit of a human is one’s breath, vigor, and soul. Many times, when treating physical and mental illness, I think we are doing an injustice to the client by not addressing spiritual issues with them.

My strategic focus. Captive Set Free Psychiatry’s strategy is simple: It is a mental health service built on an upward strategy to encourage clients to look up. Spiritual health consists of five components: Transcendence, connection (to God, self, others, and nature), value, meaning, becoming (growing). I want to address each of these components of spiritual health in future blogs.

Until then, I want to leave you with this: YOU are not beyond help or hope. No matter what you believe or who you are. This practice is not meant to train you how to become a better person. Let’s be honest: We have enough people around us trying to be good! This practice and/or blog is meant to cause you to look up. ALL things are possible for YOU. No, it is not too late for you to get help. YOU were born to FLY!!