Is Recovery Being “Normal”?

Does being “normal” give you a better chance at a productive, happy life? 

From the outside, it seems like existence in the “normal” on the vast majority of cognitive and behavioural human traits would be a wondrous gift:

  • To participate without thinking. 
  • To believe in things. 
  • To not spend a large proportion of time in an imaginary world, and the remainder exhausted at having to interact with what I’m assured is rhe “real world”. 
  • To not accidentally tear open the doors of someone else’s perception, with what you thought was perfectly appropriate social chit chat.  

I am speaking statistically, not philosophically. Statistically speaking, there IS a “normal”. And suffice it to say most people fall somewhere on the spectrum of “normality” known as the “normal distribution” or more poetically “the bell curve”. This means that they think and feel similarly about lots of things. 

There is nothing wrong with that. It’s an unchangeable, undebatable, undeniable statistical fact. The curve exists because we do, it moves and changes with us. There will always be a “normal” statistically speaking. Well, to be precise there are lots and lots and lots of “normals”, hence variety. But it would take a better statistician than me to explain this properly. 

And it’s nothing to be ashamed of. To be “normal” No more that it’s shameful to be an “outlier” (not under the curve at all). 

I feel compelled here to state that I am not seeking philosophical debate on the concept of “normal” or to be reassured it’s ok to be different. I know.

[Sorry, I went all statsy there… I hope you’re still with me… I will try and add links soon, or feel free to comment or message me with questions about the stats – in my other life I teach it. But at risk of sounding like a broken record, no philosophical debates on the nature of the human condition or reassurances that not being normal can be awesome – I KNOW. And that’s just not what this is about].

What I really wanted to express is what it FEELS like to live OUTSIDE the bell curve, statistically speaking, to be an “outlier”. 

On a day to day basis, I notice that a lot of what I want to say doesn’t make sense to most people. And when I talk about my mental health this is even truer (I often don’t even understand myself). 

And sometimes my words and thoughts can cause the listener such pain and concern and a desire to help, and guilt when they can do no more than they already are, which is simply to exist in my proximity without running away. So I am careful with my words. Because I care about you. All of you.
So sometimes I can’t speak out loud. And I think that’s why I draw and write.
And sometimes I wait til you’re all asleep and then I whisper my words to the world. And in that way I heal. 

And so I hope you can see why this lyric resonates with me. 

Art Journal Sketch Series. Image and Text Arrangement Copyright Katy Matilda Neo 18 April 2017. Lyric Copyright Pink Floyd, The Wall.