Are you normal?
What even is ‘normal’?
Recently tagged in a post by Kira Leigh over on LinkedIn about mental health, I told my story in the comments about having a breakdown at 28 and blah blah history. Reading through everyone else’s touching stories, the word normal appeared a few times and it made me think.
Normal isn’t a word I like, in my opinion it’s a catch all term for ‘fear of being yourself’.
I grew up in a mixed environment. A father; a rule adherer, stiff upper lipped, fear of the unknown. A mother; hippy chick, open minded, quirky, let her mind explore hidden depths.
Iz I mad?
The term ‘mental health’ scares the shit out of a lot of people. It did me, and my dad when I was going through my troubles. What I needed was a caring ear, a hug here, some understanding there — what I got was fear, anger and rejection.
What I went through at that time was the biggest, most necessary thing a human being can go through. A complete change of behaviours, thinking, processes, and communication (externally and internally) was needed.
I certainly wasn’t feeling what the term normal meant to me.
I first had to learn about why things from my past were causing me to react and behave in the ways I was. That understanding helped me learn how to adjust my thinking processes and behaviours to create healthier patterns.
I believe I cried my body weight in tears for a good year whilst I sat there in my counselling sessions, the pain was immense. But looking back, it was the best thing I’ve ever done.
It’s a lot like grieving, you learn to let go of lots of it, but it never really leaves you, you learn how to manage it — and counselling helped me manage it in ways that I could never do alone.
12 years later and of course I’m not perfect, I’m still a human bean with emotions that can sometimes be a complete and utter mystery — but I’m not craving whatever ‘normal’ is.
We all have a story to tell, as we grow older things happen to us that eventually shave away what normal is supposed to mean when we’re young and unscathed — mental health issues aren’t a weakness, they’re our brains way of shouting that something is wrong — it’s up to you to work out what and how to make it better for yourself.
I’m proud of where I’ve come — without my mental illness I wouldn’t be who I am today.