Can you be “normal” when you have bipolar?

Normal

I admit I have dreamt about the days when I wished I was just “normal.”  But what that meant to me was living a life without a chronic illness.  It meant not having to deal with extreme challenges and circumstances.  I was wishing for a life of serenity and peacefulness.  I assumed those who didn’t live with bipolar disorder had all those things.  I learned I was wrong.

The other day I was having lunch with my friend, Bill.  He had recently finished my book, “Bipolar Disorder, My Biggest Competitor.”  With a sincere look he said to me, “You have a talent for writing.  You should write a lot more.”  And then he looked at me directly and said, “You know you are really unusual?”  Without hesitation I shook my head and said, “Yes, I do.”  In that moment I was actually quite proud he had come to that conclusion.  He followed his statement with, “And I don’t mean because you are an Olympian.”  I nodded.  I knew he meant I’m just different.

What never entered my mind was the fact I was different because I had a mental illness.  That’s not really even half the story.  I’m different and unusual for many reasons.  I’m a bit of a rebel.  I’ve always stood up for other people who might not have been able to stand up for themselves.  I never really went along with the crowd, because I kind of think it’s much more fun to be original.  I like being different and I wear it on my sleeve.

But when I was deciding about what I would write today on my blog, the whole idea of “normal” kept coming to my mind.

On a day when I woke this morning to learn an evil man had gunned down hundreds of people in Las Vegas, a city I used to live in and a place I have visited often–in fact, I’ve stayed numerous times in Mandalay Bay-where the shooter took his wicked perch.

I sat watching the news for a few minutes before coming to work.  As I sat at my computer I couldn’t help but think about the victims and their family members.  I was sad for them and truly for our society as a whole.  To think that we aren’t really safe anywhere we go, is a creator of underlying anxiety for many people.  I personally don’t think too much about things like that-until something like this happens and I’m forced to entertain the what ifsWhat if my sister and brother-in-law were in Las Vegas this month instead of last.  What if our whole family was there at a concert at Mandalay Bay like we were a year ago in July.

So can I be “normal?”  Yes.  I have emotions and reactions just like other people.  I live, laugh, love and cry just like everyone else.  I struggle on days like today, trying to make sense out of why a person would ever do such a horrific act of violence.

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Can you be “normal” when you have bipolar?

  1. Beautifully said Amy! Is there such a thing as “normal” really? It’s a relative term. What might be “normal” to one person. Might be totally “not normal” to what another might think is. Don’t rent out space in your head to the thoughts for long. As, it may never be figured out what “normal” really is!

    Liked by 1 person

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