The Abnormality of Normalcy.

Who decides what is classified as normality? It’s a self-perceived judgement that we assign to people which has been based on what we pigeon-hole as ‘normal’ versus ‘abnormal’. As a person with bipolar disorder I find is especially difficult to differentiate between the supposed abnormal and normal behaviour that I’m meant to exhibit. Abnormality is defined as a deviation from the accepted thoughts, emotions and behaviour. Normalcy is described as the absence of illness, associated as well-being, the line between the two is difficult to pinpoint with various shades of grey in-between. Normalcy is to abnormality what opportunity is to opposition.

The creation of normalcy can be a strategy of physical as well as mental survival.  Potentially the non- or abnormal (or anomalous), the excluded and marginal, may create their own world of normality.  It can therefore be questioned: how normal are the people who create it? The concept of “normal” has a long history that has been defined and redefined to accommodate that changing perspectives. The Greeks originally linked the concept of “normal” with “natural’, consequently denoting an ideal state in which the regular and average also converges with “healthy” and “good.”

Maybe hypomania and depression is my form of normality, in my mind that is how I perceive myself. That is my normal, anything different is for me abnormal. It is also ‘normal’ for our minds to change what we believe is abnormal, predominately determined by the milieu at the time. Abnormal and normal is completely reliant on context, I think the whole concept of the two is flawed and interchangeable. They are both used to define the other, does that mean that abnormality is a myth merely used to differentiate between people, reliant on perceptions and judgments that aim to reject those who deviate away from common standards? There isn’t a ‘normal’, no one is completely normal, its an invented idea related to conformity, conformity allowing a more functional state within society.

Normal is a measure used to understand realities, society’s problems stemming from the misunderstanding of what we really are versus the social myths that have been adopted to label and separate varying groups of people.

“The real picture consists of nothing but exceptions to the rule.” C.G. Jung

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I have a very child-minded perspective of the world that allows little to no room for the areas of grey. The mood swings that people with Bipolar suffer are perceived by them as normal; they are their initial standard, making it difficult to perceive the different moods as ‘wrong’ or abnormal. The negative stigma or ‘untouchable’ topic of Bipolar has to be changed, everyone is abnormal, and normal is merely an unachievable standard that we base our own actions off. Normality is self-perceived and regulated by each individual, the individuality of normalcy makes everyone abnormal.

Bipolar Isn’t All Black Drapes & Cobwebs, But Winter Is Coming.

The self is a story, a product of our telling and not some essence.

Bipolar Disorder keeps getting pigeon-holed as more depressive, that we are always suicidal or unhappy. I’m in a great mood, except for the insomnia, it’s a bad time. People need to be aware that they need to use ‘people first’ language whenever referring to any disorder or disability, this is a must. It becomes increasingly hard to see the overwhelming darkness and turmoil that had for months each year ruled my life, I’ve happily put it in a box and forgotten what it looks like. It’s a beautiful spring day, summer is coming, its hot, the sun is out, I see no room for negativity.  ‘Winter is coming’ is extremely problematic, people with a bipolar disorder are usually highly susceptible to seasonal change. Psychologists recommended better diet and exercise to avoid winter depression, I did both, I gained weight and lost friends.

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Winter is dark and dreary, needing more sleep, having less energy, low motivation/depressed and little control over our appetites. When the weather starts to get brighter, my symptoms of depression will simply change or disappear completely. All the weight I put on during depression disappears in a matter of months; I exercise excessively, high motivation and extreme goal setting ideations. The weight loss is definitely a confidence boost (I had gained 7kg); I can go up to any guy/girl, I will be socially active nearly every night of the week and have mountains of energy to conquer all the things I let slide whilst depressed. Yet the only time I even thought about seeking the help of a psychologist was for my chronic anxiety. During different mood cycles my level of anxiety would become unmanageable, to the point of avoiding almost all social contact. Making the first step to see my psychologist for my anxiety really just opened the door for all the other stuff to come rushing out, I’m still trying to work out if it’s a good or bad thing. Hopefully my next ‘winter’ won’t be so bad.