The Definition of Normal And Why We Don't Want to Be It!
First, I need to state that the title of this blog might be a little bit misleading for the following reason: Is there a definition of normal? Well, I don't think so, but what I do know is that in our society normal means something.
What Does Society Deem as Normal Behavior?
First, think of the word normal--what comes to mind? Maybe it represents a peaceful life, a stable life, a satisfying life? Sounds great to me! Sometimes, we crave to be normal because we feel that it represents stability. I hate to say it, but when you struggle with mental illness, sometimes all you want is to be like everyone else even when we really have no idea what "everyone else" is like. We are all different but we are all human.
In our society, normalcy is connected to how a person should behave, what they should do and should not do, and the importance of adhering to social norms. The word normal, the feelings and actions behind it, is tied to many things in our everyday lives. For example, it is normal to eat three meals a day. It is probably not considered normal to drink a bottle of wine every day (I learned this the hard way). It is, perhaps, not normal to sleep all day. To be depressed. To be mentally ill.
The problem is: Many people with a mental illness believe that they are so different, so abnormal, that they don't have a place in society. Well, I call bollocks on this one and will explain why.
Eight Reasons Why We Don't Want to be Normal
- If we spend our time trying to act as we feel we should, we miss out on embracing who we are, and who we can become.
- Because we are unique and not primarily a product of society!
- We would have to listen to bad top 40's pop music. Because lots of other people do (my sort of sincere apologizes if you really do like Britney Spears).
- It's a waste of time! I know, I know, I could be more specific. Let me try:
- It's a waste of time! Errr, yes, let's stick with that.
- If everyone worked to be like everyone else we would have a decidedly boring society!
- It makes recovering from mental illness more difficult. We need to walk the path to stability with our own goals in mind.
- Oh, and of course, the word normal is just that---a word.
In summary, and sarcasm aside, living with a mental illness does not make us strange or unlike other people, it makes us human. Everyone struggles in life, and even those who portray an outwardly stable life, struggle behind closed doors. If we did not go through pain in life, we would not be able to appreciate the things that make us smile. The things and the people that make life special.
Jeanne, N. (2013, May 9). The Definition of Normal And Why We Don't Want to Be It!, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, April 23 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2013/05/the-definition-of-normal-and-why-we-dont-want-to-be-it
Author: Natalie Jeanne Champagne
I sometimes wish to be "normal", but when I try to define what normal is it turns into an illusory social concept I cannot really relate to. What is normal for one person can be abnormal for another person.
When it comes to music, I would definitely not want to be "normal". It would be too depressing to listen to the top 10 money making soda pop songs of the week.
Your last paragraph is quite eloquent. Even those who seem to live "normal" lives have their own unique struggles in secret.
"Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
~ Albert Camus
Suffering is a painful teacher, but it does teach us to discern between that which harms us and that which can sustain us. I just wish I was able to learn the difference more quickly and with less pain.
Oh, before I forget, top marks for the creative use of the word bollocks in a sentence.
I wrote about another aspect of this in my post, "The Case for Being Ordinary" a couple of weeks ago. Even "normal" people aren't normal. http://stronglybipolar.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-case-for-being-ordinary.html