Normal… everyone thinks that they have the definition to this word. They have a perceived definition and want to apply it to everyone else that is around them. The truth is what is normal?
Merriam-Webster has some wonderful definitions (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/normal. Here’s just a few portions of the wonderful definitions :
The greatest question is who gets to decide if someone is “normal”.
“But I’m a freak….”
I have dedicated my blog to sharing my experiences, thoughts, feelings from living with Depression and Anxiety. I went to a new therapist about two weeks ago, I was having trouble coping with stress and anxiety. Plus, I’d withheld information from the doctor that prescribes my medications. Which, isn’t helpful to me or him.
The new therapist does not have any of my information and he asked me what was my first memory from dealing with depression and/or anxiety. The first thought or memory comes from when I was 13. The day that in my mind I decided that my mother would be happier if I was not around to make her life so miserable.
I told him how I used to cut myself and a few other things.
He told me that he felt I was misdiagnosed. Misdiagnosed? I’ve been going to what I thought was therapy for years only to find out that it was not what I needed.
He explained the difference between counseling and therapy. I had been to counseling where I learned how to “deal” with my thoughts and feelings. I had been talking about my feelings and finding coping mechanisms or solutions to problems.
Therapy on the other hand is more about exploring the past to find problems and addressing them. It focuses on the person’s thought processes and how they can or have caused problems.
When he told me this, it made me very anxious and I was not sure what was going to happen next. That’s when he told me that he wanted to start seeing me three weeks out of the month. He, also, told me that he believed that I may have Depression and Anxiety, but that I have a personality disorder that needs to be addressed.
He told me that my earliest memory displayed signs of a personality disorder such as borderline personality disorder (BPD). We’d run low on time, but he told me to go home research personality disorders and start writing down my memories.
I thought I’d share a memory that was sparked by my research with my boyfriend and parents one day at lunch. When I was about 16 or 17, I threw scissors at my sister, because she and my mother were making fun of me and I was tired of it. My boyfriend laughed it off and said, “that’s normal”.
My boyfriend constantly tells me that I’m “normal” and that there is nothing wrong with me. I know that he means well, but I cannot accept myself as “normal”.
My friends and I have a unique opinion on normal. We don’t want to be normal, it sounds boring. We want to be different and that’s fine with us.
I remember studying Sociology in college and one of the things I remember is the discussion about “Social Norms”. These “norms” are informal rules that govern our behavior. So, rules that dictate your behavior based on what society thinks.
So, being “normal” is what is defined by these Social Norms. If you step outside of these norms, you become a “social deviant”. In short, society and/or other people define what is considered normal.
If being normal means being free of mental illness, then how many people are truly free to say that they are normal? It’s hard for one to live a life free of distress and bad things happening. Life changes alter things and make a person change. Change is inevitable in one’s life and no one is immune from traumatic events.
In short, I don’t think that there is a normal and if there is I’m not sure I want to be normal. It sounds awful boring.