The Mighty Logo

When My Health Keeps Me 'Close Enough to Normal'

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

The house is a mess. Nearly every surface has something on it that needs to be put away. Six months ago we moved in, and left my knick-knacks in boxes on the floor until I could sort through them.

They’re still there.

Dishes stand piled on the counter.

A single piece of trash lies near my feet. I long to pick it up and get rid of it, but the garbage can is 12 whole steps away.

Then tomorrow comes.

I have energy!

I have motivation!

I walk to the neighbor’s house and play tag with my niece for nearly 15 minutes. Of course, then I have to rely on help to make her understand that I’m done. Really, I can’t do that anymore.

But hey, I got out of bed and moved for a half-hour. I must be “normal,” right?


I can make supper. I just, you know, can’t make side dishes.

I can go for a run. I just, you know, only make it halfway to the road.

I can dance the night away, as long as my partner doesn’t mind catching me if I fall from exhaustion.


I can look normal to my students for the few hours I work per week. Usually.

I can look normal at the mall as long as there are benches nearby.

I can look normal at the party if I wear makeup to cover my pale face.

Sometimes I even believe I am normal. That’s dangerous territory.

I watch as the little old lady stacks chairs at church. I believe I’m normal, but I don’t help her. I must be lazy, right?

I believe I’m normal, but the dishes lie unwashed in the sink. I must be a terrible housewife, right?

I believe I’m normal, but the house is a mess and I’m still on the couch. I must not care enough, right?


I’m just close enough to normal to feel guilty when I can’t work.

I’m just close enough to normal to feel frustrated when I realize my body will not take another step.

I’m just close enough to normal to fool the people around me. Usually.

So I look around at my messy house, my dirty dishes, my cancelled appointments, and remind myself that I am not lazy, not a failure, not incompetent. I remind myself that I can’t, and that’s OK.

I’m just trapped in my not quite normal body.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock Image By: OlgaLebedeva

Originally published: April 30, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home