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Why I Struggle to Feel 'Normal' as Someone With Mental Illness

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When saying, “Why can’t I just be normal?” there are sure to be some people who will no doubt be respond:

“There is no such thing as normal!”

“What is normal anyway?”

Which is fine. OK, I get that, but there will also be people who understand exactly what I am talking about and maybe even say it to themselves.

Why can’t I just be normal?

Normal is a strange word and it brings about different things for different people but normal is what I aspire to be a lot of the time.

To me, being “normal” would be living without any mental health issues at all. Living a life without the constant battles that unfortunately my mental health problems bring.

Not having to feel the extreme and spontaneous moods swings brought about by my borderline personality disorder (BPD). Not hating myself and my appearance so much that my life is ruled by food. Not having to fight that demon depression almost every day to be able to carry out the simplest of tasks. Just to be able to talk to people, friends, family without stressing about it for hours before and analyzing it for days afterwards!

I just want to be normal!

I don’t want to struggle and feel completely exhausted from doing the simplest things!

It’s embarrassing. It’s upsetting. At times, it’s soul-destroying.

I suppose normal to me is my husband. I envy him and definitely aspire to be like him sometimes. He is quite possibly one of the most laid back people on the planet!

He doesn’t care what others think of him and not in an obnoxious way. He is very kind, caring and will do anything for anyone, but if he doesn’t want to then he will say no. Just like that. He will not spend hours and days worrying about it, he will simply say that’s his decision, he has his reasons and moves on. He is not preoccupied by what others are doing or saying, he doesn’t overthink things and stress about insignificant details he simply lives his life.

Why can’t I be like that?

Oh I can pretend to be like that — I have done that for many years (and sometimes still do). But I want to feel it for real. I want to feel carefree, light and unburdened by invasive horrible thoughts.

Why can’t I just be normal?

I aspire to be normal a lot of the time because I want to be able to relax and switch off sometimes. I do practice mindfulness and yoga/meditation at times, but even this is very difficult for me. It’s a struggle to convince myself that I am allowed to take time out for myself — I mean how can I be so selfish when there is housework to be done and work to finish? When I do practice these things, I do feel the difference and I suppose that’s what I need to understand — that is my normal.

I am who I am.

I can improve on areas of myself that might cause me hurt, upset or even damage, but ultimately I am who I am and it would be stupid and a waste of me to try to be anyone else.

I know I am going to struggle at times, that is just the nature of my illnesses, but I do not give up easily. I am, as my husband tells me, very strong willed. If I want something, I get it, no matter how difficult. Not a trait many people have, so I am seeing that as a positive and I am grateful for it.

Remember to always be kind, you never know what battles people might be facing.

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Thinkstock photo via Natalia-flurno

Originally published: November 10, 2017
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