Eliza was talking to me recently and she started to list some of the rules that she deemed necessary to 'contain' her and make her feel safely 'held in place'. I very much liked the way she put it and so I asked her to write another article to explain it all a little more. Here it is.
I Built My Own Prison And Now I Pay Rent
One of the key contributors to anxiety and depression are the self imposed limits we create for ourselves. These could come in just about any form, there is a whole variety of possibilities - if you can dream it, you can have it. These limitations are what we hide behind, they are the basis of every “I can't”, whether it's conscious or not.
For some, this could be a fear of letting go of their routine, leading to inflexibility. For others the limitations could include fearing responsibility or commitment. Whatever the reason may be, these limits give us a sense of control. Anxiety and Depression feel intensely
chaotic, especially when day to day life is bearing down on you too, and these limits allow us to feel as if we are on top of every situation. First things first, this sense of control is a lie. It is a false sense of security, like being partially wrapped in bubble wrap. The limits allow you to feel as though you've gotten your life and mental wellbeing under control, because you're the one calling the shots. The reality is, these limits are only holding us hostage. By restricting certain aspects of your life, you're only boxing yourself in. You are building a prison cell within which you’ll live as long as you uphold those limits, and even worse, the longer you stay there, the more you have to pay to live there. The charging rate is counted in lost opportunities, relationships and experiences which could create lifelong memories.
We normalise these limits so much that we barely notice how they’re impacting our lives, they're just part of the natural order. We sit inside our tiny jail cell and we rarely consider what life is like on the outside, and when we do, we justify every reason to stay put. For every “I can't”, there is a reason behind it, be it “that's too much responsibility” or “that doesn't fit my routine”. We justify every one of those missed opportunities with the limitations we set on ourselves, you say “I'm just not good with responsibility” and you truly believe it. But to take a step back, take a look at the bigger picture, there is no such thing as “not being good with responsibility”, only fearing responsibility.
Our misguided fears lead to locking ourselves in, imprisoned in a cell we have to pay for with our livelihood. Imagine for just one day, you chose to question just how realistic those limitations are, and started to push back against those walls. Imagine how much more freedom you could have by simply deciding that today, you no longer accept those barriers to happiness as a necessity.