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Hey everyone, this month, the United States of America is celebrating Independence Day on July 4. Three cheers for the red, white, and blue! Wave those flags proudly and find some patriotic songs to sing. As for me, I will not be singing out loud but only singing to myself. 

Fly those balloons and kites, just like Benjamin Franklin did in colonial times. Eating hamburgers and hot dogs, potato salad and coleslaw, and whatever float our boat. Sinking is not allowed or even encouraged by this writer. 

 

Enough digressing. We need to discuss Independence. 

 

Everyone can achieve some measure of Independence, but we have to learn how to get there. We probably know that there are many ways to either define or describe Independence.

Let’s start with just one of them: Independence is freedom from the control, influence, coercion, and oppression of other forces. Independence can be a group effort (like a country doing its own thing) or as an individual being a self-sufficient person. Each of us has to decide what is best for ourselves and try to attain it one thing at a time. Here positive reinforcement and support are critical. 

 

Yes, just like Peer Specialists do! 

 

For Independence is not only a word. It can be a feeling, also. Many experts and family, even friends, sometimes tell people with mental health issues independence is impossible. Freedom is impossible as a result of their “illness.” It took me a long time to get to the place where I felt strong and independent. Once I felt like I had finally found my feeling of Independence, I learned what other people say, think, or think about me didn’t matter. Sometimes, it still counts (and hurts), but for the most part, it doesn’t matter. 

For many years, I have struggled to figure out where my Independence is given my anxieties and obsessive thoughts. However, I’ve learned and practiced coping throughout my journey. 

  

Independence doesn’t mean we have to isolate or feel alone. Asking for help is OK. Know when and where to ask for it. Reach out and talk with someone special or anyone that can assist or ask for accommodations. 

 

Independence doesn’t mean not caring what people are saying to you and about you. It’s letting individuals know enough is enough and telling them when to stop.

Independence doesn’t mean taking on tons of work or responsibilities. Learning to say no. Remember, ‘no’ is a complete sentence. We are only one person, and we can handle so much.  

 

Independence doesn’t mean having lots of friends. It means figuring out what type of person we want to be surrounded by and then doing just that. 

 

Independence doesn’t mean doing whatever we want. It means prioritizing and making important decisions that will affect the rest of our life. No one individual can do whatever that he/she chooses to do.

 

Most importantly, Independence means being proud of what we have accomplished and all we’ve been through in life—not being ashamed of our past mistakes and the struggles of our life. 

 

Of course, I shared Independence and responsibilities for over twelve years with my significant other, Maureen. There were good times and bad times. Significantly, we became more independent because of one another. Also, my deceased parents tried to instill Independence in me. To everyone who attempted to accomplish this, dead or alive, thanks a lot. Of course to all, I miss you, I love you, and I still wish you were here. 

 

For all USA readers, HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA! For everyone, be and have Independence from whomever we choose. See you in the NewsBlogs. 

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