What is Normal? No really, I Have No Idea.

Normal can be defined as conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural (dictionary.com).  In psychology terms, normal is approximately average in any psychological trait, as intelligence, personality, or emotional adjustment; free from any mental disorder (dictionary.com).  If that is the case, than I am not normal.  However, my therapist tells me it is possible to “feel” normal again.  The problem is, I do not remember what “feeling” normal is like.

I have not felt my own kind of normal in quite some time.  My depression started about four years ago, and I do not remember what I was like before then.  I guess that means, in a way, I do not remember who I used to be.  When my therapist tells me it is possible to feel normal again, I have to question this.  Normal has become this depressive state, mixed full of emotional highs and lows in a constant roller coaster-like motion.  How am I going to know when I feel “normal?”

I am on slightly higher dosage of Prozac, and then will start Ambilify at my next appointment.  The doctor who prescribed it said that I will most likely tell her next time that nothing has changed, but that is supposed to be a good thing.  She said that my friends and family will most likely notice a change in me before I do, and that not noticing anything means the drug is working.  If I do not notice or feel anything different, then have I achieved normalcy?  After all, my norm now is quite different from my norm from my past.

It’s a bit scary not knowing what I am supposed to feel, or who I am supposed to be.  Depression changes people, and not just in the typical sadness, depressive way.  Sure, I am a different person when I am in a depressive episode, but I am talking about as a whole in general. I am not as confident as I used to be, in my intellect or beauty.  I am anxious about everything, and tend to keep to myself because of it.  I do not know what makes me happy, what things I enjoy doing.  The happiness feeling that I used to have has been so infrequent, and such a rarity, that I do not know if I remember how to feel it.  I guess that leads to a different question: what is happiness?

That might be too deep a question for me to answer at this point.  I need to remember what makes me happy, or find new things.  I am older, and possibly wiser, so maybe what makes me normal and happy are different.  Perhaps, this time in my life can be viewed as a fresh start.  That sounds familiar, I believe I have talked about this before.  I started therapy to create a new ending for myself, so my life would end in a slightly more harmonious, less depressive way.  Finding things that make me feel happy, and finding a new normal for myself is a new beginning.  Hopefully this new norm isn’t too far off of who I used to be.  I would hate to turn off my friends and family, but I figure they have stuck by me through my recent norm that this new norm can only be better.

How do you define normal, or happiness for that matter?  Is “normal” something society has placed on all of us, and impossible to achieve?  Let me know what you think!

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11 thoughts on “What is Normal? No really, I Have No Idea.

  1. This is a tough question to answer. My normal has changed over the years. I guess normal to me is abiding by the laws of society. We are all special in our own way and this will change our perspective of normality.

    I’m not normal by the standards of most people, in my opinion. My daughter-in-law has a degree in psychology and I would ask her if she thought I was normal but then it would involve me revealing things I do not want her to know.

    Probably the biggest move in my life that has recently occurred to bring me into a more normal state is when I asked my wife and youngest child to forgive me for being angry. Anxiety and anger had been haunting me and after asking them for forgiveness it suddenly became much easier to live a more anxiety and anger free life.

  2. I’d have to say my true happiness began when I began to like myself. That didn’t happen until I actually forgave myself. I think forgiveness is a huge key. Whether it’s others or ourselves, we must forgive. In my case, I didn’t forgive others, because I couldn’t forgive myself. It was some sort of evil/twistest revolving door of self-loathing that I couldn’t escape.
    It took a complete stranger, a priest, to point out that I wasn’t that bad a person and why can’t I forgive myself. Being a spiritual person, I realized If I can’t forgive myself, yet God forgives us for everything, I was a giant hypocrite. Regardless of whether you’re spiritual or not, let go of whatever anger and bitterness you might be hauling around. Just my two cents worth.

    • Wow. You hit a nerve with me. You are right about forgiving yourself. My depression is not something I could control in the sense that I couldnt really prevent. The last 4 years have been hard, and I have felt guilty about it. I need to let go of that.

  3. Happiness is fleeting. Even the ‘normal’ as you put it is a roller coaster ride. Yours has had its down side. The ups will follow. Right now I guess the healing process does bring a little happiness, doesn’t it?
    For me personally, like I said, its fleeting. It is one thing today, another thing tomorrow. And I have made my peace with it.

  4. I look around at what is considered “normal” and I have no desire to be that. I don’t want to be sad, but I’m not sure I want to feel normal, whatever that may be. I guess I can’t really not want to be it since I don’t even know what it’d be, but I just have a feeling that if I felt I was feeling normal I would go insane, which for me is a normal reaction towards the feeling of normalcy.

  5. I think “normal” is a construct that doesn’t exist. Happiness, on the other hand, is very real. I don’t think anyone ever really feels “normal.” Forget about it! Trying to be “normal” only causes stress and anxiety. Strive, instead, for happiness 🙂

    • You know, I think you might be right. Normal is what is typical behavior for oneself, but since I do not know what that is anymore, it’s probably best for me to just strive to be happy. I think I can do that. 🙂

  6. Normal is definitely relative, but I know when I feel my normal and when I don’t. I suspect you’ll recognize it when you feel it.

    On a completely unrelated note, every time I come here I sing Michael Jackson’s “You Are Not Alone” for hours. Thanks for that. *sarcasm* 🙂

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