Freedom or loneliness?

I heard a quote recently that read ”When no one wakes you up in the morning and no one waits for you at night and you can do whatever you want, what do you call that, Freedom or loneliness?” 

Immediately I thought of freedom; Having the ability to live your life however you wish with no one around to dictate or offer their opinion on situations that only affect you. To me, that describes being free. I then realised I only answered freedom because of the mindset I’m in at present. If someone had asked me this 5 months ago, without hesitation, I would have screamed loneliness. 

It got me thinking that the way we view our current life events often depends a lot on the state of mind we find ourselves in at the time, and that’s something that is forever changing. We look back on certain memories  and say ”it’s funny now, but it wasn’t at the time’. In those moments, our minds were in panic mode. We were present in the sadness, distress, or whatever you wish to call it. Our minds and bodies responded naturally in the moment. .  

Sometimes the same situation can generate different emotional responses in us depending on our mood. We can be revelling in our freedom one week and feel devastatingly alone in the next when nothing has fundamentally changed. We can feel like we have everything under control and we’re letting difficult things roll off our back, handling life with grace, then suddenly one minor bump in the road can break us. 

Pressure to take a positive outlook on everything as if that’s the only normal, acceptable or healthy view to have oversimplifies and reduces the human experience to something largely unattainable for most people.  

It’s unrealistic to expect ourselves to always be able to choose a positive perspective or attitude, even when we know one would benefit us. Depression is not a personal failing, as much as we feel like we should be able to shake ourselves out of it at the time. 

It’s okay to change, to be stuck, to be happy and sad and indifferent all at the same time or switch between all three. It’s okay to need to be around people and also have time by yourself. It’s fine to have different emotions, thoughts, and feelings regardless of your life situation at the time. You can be sure that the only consistency you can expect is consistent fluctuations.  

I felt depressed, lonely, and suicidal for three years but in the last 5 months I’ve felt alive and experienced joy and happiness. I love the headspace I am in now but I know that the version of myself before may come back. Rather than fear her, I am trying to welcome her with open arms, I’m choosing to embrace both the me that sees loneliness, and the me that sees freedom, for neither is looking at reality wrong.