How many times can you say it? I’m doing great… really. It’s like being Normal. Isn’t it?
Normal. There it is again.
I’ve asked this question before; just what is normal? Normal is being just like everyone else, right? It means you’re healthy. Your behavior is acceptable to society. So in this regard, I guess that’s my life.
But is it really normal? Or is it just controlling the abnormal behaviors?
Honestly, I think it’s the latter. My behavior is perfectly appropriate. I get angry when it’s acceptable to be angry, but not so much over the top that I’m out of control. I’m sad when sad things happen. And I’m happy; really happy most of the time. I have a good job, nice place to live, and am in a good relationship. How normal is that?
But that’s not how my brain really works.
I DO get excessively angry, and in situations that don’t warranty that kind of reaction. Depression is sometimes just barely under the surface. My OCD can drive me insane if I let it.
That’s the key though: if I let it.
That’s my path to normalcy. All the underlying features and symptoms are still there. My reactions haven’t really changed. The disturbed thoughts and the way I perceive things are still…well… disturbed. I’ve just learned through all the years of therapy and introspective how to keep all that in check. I can recognize when it’s getting out of control, and can do something about it before I start to run amok.
I’m still crazy. I just don’t let the crazy out.
I accept the fact that I’ll never be truly ‘normal’. I have a disease that can be horribly destructive to myself and others. To be fair, I don’t think about it most of the time (Another sign of mental health) but sometimes things happen that remind me just who I really am, and what I’ve lived with for so long.
Like this weekend.
I lost a very dear friend this weekend. She was only 50 years old, and at least as far as I know had no really major health issues. She was a beautiful girl, and so full of life. And by far one of the sweetest, most unselfish people I’ve ever known. But her life was far from perfect. We jokingly called her Catastrophe Cathy. She was Murphy’s Law personified. If something could go wrong, it would go horribly wrong. She had a dance injury so severe it required several surgeries to fix. (She fell while shagging and broke her humerus so badly it required a rod to be inserted between the two bones to hold it together while she healed) Who has social dance injuries like that? Well, she did. She bought a brand new car, and hit when someone ran a stop sign; totaling her car she’d only had for less than an hour.
Less than an hour? Are you kidding me? She had a friend store her things while she was between houses, and sold everything and took off, never to be seen again. She had even more failed relationships than I have. And they failed due to poor choices, not that she did anything to directly cause it.
And now she’s gone.
It happens, I know. People die all the time: it’s just part of life. People even die too young for no apparent reasons.
But maybe there was a reason, just not so apparent.
I know she suffered from Depression. I couldn’t really blame her the way she always seemed to be the target of the worst Karma. She gave so freely of herself, and was taken advantage of so much of the time and usually at a great cost to herself. She was hurt over and over by people she had chosen to love. All she wanted was to love and be loved. And she never really found it.
I’m really thinking it was suicide.
Okay, I don’t know that. I may be reading way too much into this than there really is. Here’s my perspective though. She put a simple post on her Facebook page; “Please pray for me”. There were tons of responses from all her friends who care so much for her as I would have expected, including my own. But her last post was:
“I love you all”.
But here’s the thing. As soon as I saw her first post I had a strong feeling of unease that something was bad wrong. She’s posted things like that before, but this time it just felt different. I sent her a private note asking if she was okay, and was there anything I could do for her… no response. This Saturday I was working in the yard and had the strongest premonition that gone, and that it was by her own hand. I immediately ran to check, and sure enough there it was.
She was gone.
Now I don’t know at all that she killed herself. There was nothing in her obituary to indicate that there were any mental health issues. It didn’t give any reason (Like after a long illness) but I wouldn’t expect it to, especially if it were self inflicted. I’m basing this on a feeling, not anything factual.
And in truth, it doesn’t matter.
She was so sweet, and always treated me so wonderfully and caring. My worried about her every time she had one of her all too frequent accidents. My heart broke just a little bit for each heart break she suffered. No, we never dated or had anything other than a true platonic relationship. I never even harbored any secrete fantasies about her. She was just a great lady that I had the privilege to know. I’ll miss her terribly.
But suicide, real or not is terrifying.
There’s a good chance I’m projecting. I do have such a fear of killing myself even though I never even think about it anymore. I don’t have a reason to anymore. And truly, it doesn’t change anything; a good women is gone, and way before her time.
But the old specter raises his head. The memories return. I think about all the times I felt like dying, and even more so the times I almost did. There were several attempts that were so very close to being successful. That is not normal. Not by a long shot.
And yet, I survived.
I struggle with the memories of my madness at its worst. My awareness is raised again of just how sick I have been; that I am. But more importantly, I celebrate just how far I’ve come. Just the fact that I can care without reservation and have a friendship that is solid is amazing. Having any kind of relationship that I haven’t hurt by my irrational and disturbed behavior has been rare. Real or imagined she brought up unhealthy thoughts that threaten my recovery. But in spite of going on about how it affected ME, I know it’s really about her. She was a wonderful friend, and for whatever reason she is lost to so many who cared about her. Her presence, her mere existence was a joy and brought so much goodness to this world. She shall be missed and never forgotten. I mourn the loss of a friend and grieve the tragedy of a life taken way too soon. I treasure her memory and am so thankful I had the privilege of her friendship.
And if that’s not normal, I don’t know what is.
Rest in peace my friend.