Schizophrenia.com

Pursuit of Normality?

I was just thinking about how an acquaintance of mine who also has sz has asked me nearly every time we’ve hung out the question “Do you think I’m normal?” and I’ve always told him “Yes, I think your normal” In fact I think he’s trying to be too normal. I would never assume he had a mental illness if I didn’t already know that about him. He dresses normal, looks normal, speaks normal, everything about him is normal except perhaps what goes on privately in his mind.

I’ve never told him that I think he’s too concerned with being normal. I’ve only told him that I would never have guessed that he had schizophrenia. In fact he’s so normal that I find him to be honestly a little boring. From what he’s told me I’ve gathered that his concept of normality is someone who is in his words a “straight laced, clean cut conservative”. If that’s who ya are than be that, but the guy I’m talking about is an abstract artist who hears voices. I’m not sure he should be trying to be what his concept of normality is…that is if it was his even his own concept to begin with. Not that I’m thinking of telling him this but I don’t know it just got me thinking.

Me? I as it may be apparent have never been overly concerned with being normal. I mean before my onset of serious mental illness I was a little different. My friends have always been a little different themselves. I admired those who were their own unique people. I just hate to see someone striving so hard and being so concerned with whether or not they fall within the confines of normality. It is possible to have a mental illness and be normal but it is also possible to differ in ways from what is normal and not have a mental illness or be some sort of deviant or anything like that.

Sometimes I imagine people reading my posts and thinking wow this guy is nuts when in reality this is the way I’ve always been. This is my normality.

What’s your normality like?

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I asked my sister can you tell im mentally ill do I act odd? it was just that it had never occurred to me that other people could tell just by looking at me shes said no you look very nervous and shy and that’s ok,

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I look very normal from my dressing and speaking. But deep down I know I am less than normal because I can’t stand long conversation with people as I can not catch the flow of a conversation for long due to my short attention span.

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Normal to me is someone who doesn’t hear voices in their head, or have images displayed across their brain like you’re watching a TV. Normal is a 33 year old having a job that can pay her bills, a boyfriend or is possibly married, may or may not have a kid or two, their own home, can drive and has their own car, and being a productive member in her community. So for out of out of that list I’d say I’m failing horribly at my own projected thoughts on normal.

Though I will never forget that I one time I was my best friend, her cousin, and her and her cousin’s kids in the car, her cousin’s daughter goes to me, “you’re the most normal person in here…”. That made my day. I’m not speaking bad of my friend, or her family I love them all like my own, but to hear someone else say they felt I was normal, even if it was a child. Hell especially if it was a child, candid moments like we had in the car they’re speaking what they truly feel.

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There is a big difference between acting normal and conforming. I agree with sohare1981. I strive for normal. That is one of the few gifts offered by schizophrenia. It makes it so you see the beauty of an simple, average day without voices or delusions. My biggest dream right now would be to spend 15 minutes in a crowded mall and not freak out. I used to despise the mall.

What you need to understand is if your friend is asking you am I behaving normally or am I behaving like everyone else. We live in a world where popular culture has tried to coop every niche, original behavior people have ever had and absorb it like some kind of blob monster. We live in the age of the chic outcast. Everyone is trying to be their own individual person who has the same exact individual haircut, individual clothes, individual weird mustache, and individual wool knit cap as everyone else. The problem is they absorb the style of individuality without the actual message. That is conforming, not being normal.

I’ts okay to act like a fool though, everyone does it. I did it for two years in high school. Thank goodness it didn’t last long. At least I don’t think that is long.

I think being pretentious should be a level in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs between Social and Esteem. You have food, water, and a house next wear a fedora and talk about the Black Keys for hours on end. Back when I had a life I knew some fedora wearing hipster people. They were good people. You just had to get past the crusty exterior. It’s is just them trying to define themselves. There is nothing wrong with that even if it is a tad annoying.

I’ve been an outcast my entire life. I don’t try to be an outcast or try not to be an outcast. It is who I am. Do I want to conform and be like everyone else? Hell no. Do I want to be normal? Definitely. Just be yourself. Let your friend be himself and if he asks you if he is normal tell him yes.

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To me, normal is just a setting on the washing machine. I remember a poem called “Richard Cory” where it talks about how elegant Richard Cory is and how everybody envies him, (It’s set in the past.) and one night the guy goes home and shoots himself. The final two lines go something like - “We went without meat and cursed the bread/and one night Richard Cory goes home, and shoots himself in the head”.

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I don’t think normal means doing what everyone else does, dressing according to fashion magazines and striving to be some shining example of every social norm.

It’s more a state of mind - the ability to be rational, to discern fact from fiction, to regulate ones own moods, having self insight and so forth.

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I am loving this distinction between normalcy and conformity. Normal vs. conforming…

I was confusing normal with conform. I can’t conform. I can function, I can hold my job… I know I’d fail in an office environment, I need a physical job out and about… not an office job.

I can go to some classes here and there… I take pictures of the notes on the board and my professors let me tape some of the lectures… so if I zone out in class, I’m not lost.

I can get through my day… I just have to find different ways of doing it.

Some days that is easier said then done… but I’m lucky to have the help of friends and family when I can’t quite manage this on my own.

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