What’s normal?

For a long time I didn’t realize that it wasn’t normal to go for a day or more without pooping.  After all, that’s just not something that people talk about.

It’s like when I started getting my period, and I didn’t realize that it wasn’t normal to be soaking through a heavy pad every hour or two.  I just thought the other girls were somehow better at running to the bathroom in between every single class.

Then there were the years when I didn’t realize it wasn’t normal to be getting diarrhea at least once a week.  Well, I guess I knew it wasn’t normal, but I didn’t know it was a problem.

And of course I knew the pain wasn’t normal, but I believed the doctors when they said it would be normal for me from now on.

I definitely knew the fatigue wasn’t normal, but it became such a part of my life that I forgot how abnormal the minor fatigue was, because it still felt better than the more moderate or severe fatigue.

For far too long I thought it was normal to listen to doctors and blindly take their advice.  I was right: it’s normal.  But it shouldn’t be.

I assumed it was normal to not see faces in dreams.  Or to be unable to picture my best friend’s face.  Or to describe my mother.  Or to not recognize well-known acquaintances a week after last seeing them.

It was too easy to think that my discomfort in standing still for more than a few minutes was normal.

I can’t believe it, but I used to think it was normal, or at least not abnormal, to be literally unable to get out of bed for a long time in the morning, to be falling asleep all afternoon, then to become wide awake every night around bedtime.

Like so many, I thought it was normal to put up with horrible from side effects from drugs, even if we couldn’t be sure the drugs were helping.

I knew it was wrong of people, but I thought it was normal to be disbelieved.  Too bad I was right about that one too.

Ditto for being underestimated.

Being told by doctors that there was nothing to be done and I should just lived with it came to feel normal.

Staying home while my friends went out became normal.

Lying to people and pretending to feel better than I really felt seemed normal.  This should never be normal.

After a while, forgetting events in my life, having trouble keeping a train of thought, and having trouble with things I used to find simple, like basic arithmetic, started to seem normal.

Worrying about money and health insurance and red tape and bureaucracy became absurdly, obscenely normal.

Sadly, seeing my family and friends constantly worry about me, for me, seems almost normal.

I can hardly admit it even to myself, but accepting my illness and giving up on the fight, being willing to watch it all get worse and believing there was nothing to be done, seemed normal.

Whatever else this all is, no matter how you define the word, it is not normal!

There is no normal.  Question everything.

Accept this and you’ll be ahead of the game.

4 Responses to What’s normal?

  1. Lorna Field says:

    What a superb post! That was written straight from the heart. I was so moved by what you have been through so far and then I realised hey you are talking about my life as well.
    I always question everything but normal is a very over rated word. I prefer unique, imcomparable or unparalleled.
    Lorna x

    • chronicrants says:

      I am so glad you could relate to this (but of course, I wish no one had to.) I like your list a lot: unique, incomparable, unparalleled – I’ll have to remember to use those from now on.

  2. GinaRClark says:

    Straight forward, honest, and necessary. Terrific post. Thank you.

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