I remember the first day I was given privileges on the hospital grounds. My brother dropped off his old bike for me and I was on it right away. I spent months circling the hospital grounds and loved the feeling of freedom. After I was transferred to the Forensic Rehabilitation Unit I was granted day passes into the community. The first thing I did was ride my bike as far away from the hospital as county boundaries would allow. I loved the feeling of freedom.
I am an involuntary patient in a Forensic psychiatric hospital but I now have privileges. Every day the weather is decent, that is above minus two degrees, I ride my brother’s bike to one of the small outlying communities. One of my favourite rides is to Fingal. Part of this journey takes me through the countryside along what is called “Bush Road”. It is surrounded by forest on both sides of the road and I feel I am far away from my world of limits and incarceration. Along the bush is a fence and I see that it has grown into many of the tree trunks. I see this every day and eventually it becomes a thought. I begin to see that although the wire was once a barrier to the tree it has simply enveloped this obstacle. I realize it is nature’s way to overcome obstacles, to envelope them. The wire is still in the tree but it has not stopped the tree from growing as it should. The obstacles in my life can be the same, I can grow around them. They will always be a part of me and in many ways they are what make me human. There are reasons I have endured and my task is to continue to grow. I must turn my suffering into a human achievement. As I pedal along my thoughts are always my own. There are no boundaries or curfews placed on my dreams. I am as free as I can imagine myself to be. Freedom is what freedom does.