What is “Normal” Anyway?

by Stephanie on March 28, 2014 · 0 comments

in Heavy Stuff

People throw around the word normal quite a bit.  In reality, there isn’t really a “normal”.  Everyone’s normal is different.  Everyone’s normal changes throughout their lives.

As I’ve talked about before, my depression is what you might call situational meaning it was brought on by an event and isn’t something I’ve been dealing with my whole life like clinical or chronic depression usually is.  This means that when I was thrown into this depression, my normal went out the window.

During a recent conversation with a friend I realized it’s possible there are things I attribute to depression that are really something else.  At my worst, I was truly unable to get out of bed sometimes for days at a time.  Now I often have trouble getting out of bed to go to work.  I still go though, sometimes a little later than ideal.  It never occurred to me that this wasn’t just a lesser degree of my depression symptom but my friend pointed out that lots of people  struggle waking up and getting going in the morning.

Another example: As my depression has gotten better I’ve been able to do more.  I went from staying in bed all day to being able to make it to work but that was it.  Now I can do a lot more than that but some days I come home from work and I literally cannot do anything else.  Work has taken it all out of me and I want to crawl in to bed at 4 PM.  I assumed this was one of the levels of depression.

Is it possible this is just the regular tiredness or lack of motivation that many people experience??

That possibility kind of took me by surprise!

I’m guessing I do experience these things to a greater degree than the average person because of the depression I’ve experienced over the last two years.  Plus, I am still taking an antidepressant.  How can I be sure though?  The truth is we all have ups and downs and varying degrees of happiness, sadness, tiredness, and so on.  I’m not sure I really remember how often I felt these things prior to the depression so I’m not sure I will be able to tell when I’m back to “normal”.

I think the important thing to do is to let go of what my past normal was and focus on now.  Most of the time I am functioning well.  I go to work, I exercise and blog regularly, and I cook often.  I struggle getting up and going most mornings but I eventually make it.  On days when I don’t have plans, I tend to just watch TV and do a lot of nothing after work (though I still often cook dinner for myself at home).  I have times, not every week, where I get anxious or scared or fall in to a heavy depression.  During those times I turn to my family or a couple of close friends.  I usually come out in a day or two (sooner with anxiety).

That is my normal right now.  That is OKAY.  Whatever your normal is right now is okay too.

Maybe it doesn’t matter if what I experience is “normal” or symptoms of depression.  Maybe all that matters, for any of us, is that we continue to work on improving ourselves and our lives.

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What do you think of “normal”?

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