I haven’t felt ‘normal’ for quite some time. My mood has been on the high side since about April, from slightly hypo manic to full blown mania. That’s not unusual for me though. I don’t get depressed very often, but when I do it’s usually catastrophic. But feeling normal? That really only happens once in a blue moon.
Then again, what is Normal?
Think about all your friends and relatives. The ‘normal’ ones who think you’re crazy. Just how normal are they really? I’m sure everybody has a friend who overreacts to everything, turning what should be a non-event into a drama filled disaster. Or know someone who is the habitual liar, often over the dumbest things (I used to own a BMW, but got rid of it because it became such a status symbol. Certainly not because I couldn’t afford It.) Then there’s the person that is always sick. Every sniffle is pneumonia… a bruise is because they have leukemia…stomach aches are ulcers, and headaches are brain tumors. There are the parents who disown their own children because they are gay and Siblings who don’t speak to each other for years because of some imagined slight or insult. And the Cousins who are always competing with each other to have the best job, or the best children, or the most money. How many people do you know that are always in financial trouble because they can’t responsibly manage their money? And when a family member dies, there is the mad scramble to make sure that they get what’s coming to them, and then some. Blood may be thicker than water, but money (and houses, and silly knickknacks) overrides everything. Because that’s normal!
Then you get into the really extreme types of people. The wife who won’t take her sunglasses off because she’s hiding the bruises she received from her abusive husband. Or the uncle who seems to enjoy having the young nieces or nephews sitting in his lap just a little too much. Then there’s the brother in law that is always drunk at family gatherings. And don’t forget the bored housewife who takes her ‘happy pills’ because she has a bad case of ‘nerves’. And all the divorces that happen because the husband (or wife) can’t control the need to cheat.
These are all considered to be normal behaviors. As a society, there are certain things that are accepted as just a regular part of life. But if a person with bipolar disorder, or any other mental illness were to act like this it would be considered crazy. They would be given labels of codependent, or obsessive compulsive; substance abusers and addictive personalities; pedophiles and sex addicts; anti-social and psychotic. But normal is just the statistical average. If these types of behaviors are common to us all, they become acceptable, or even expected. If there were a majority of us with bipolar, we would be considered the normal ones! Sure, there are extremes that separate what is considered normal from crazy. But which is crazier? Someone who has what is really a personality disorder that everyone explains away as bad parenting or poor choices? Or someone who is considered to be crazy because they have a physical illness that manifests itself through behaviors and actions? I can control my symptoms through proper medication and therapeutic treatment. Just like the diabetic on insulin or the woman who is on hormone replacement therapy because she is going through ‘the change’. The physical differences in my brain are real. Cancer, hormone imbalances or autoimmune disease; they’re all the same. They all just have different symptoms.
In my opinion, there are really only two types of people in the world… Diagnosed and undiagnosed. We all have issues to some extreme. It’s the diagnosed ones that are lucky. We can accept our condition and do something about it. Personally I’d much rather be crazy and treated than ‘normal’ and miserable. Don’t pity me because I’m sick. Pity all those sad, normal people who have no hope of improving their unhappy little lives.
Then again, I’m crazy. Just like everybody else.